I’ve encountered several companies throughout my career that choose to cut corners in the beginning, specifically with their digital presence. The most important issue is their lack of a solid logo and identity, which is a subject I’ve covered in previous posts. Typically, a company realizes they need better branding, and corrects the issue within its first year. Unfortunately, the website gets left behind all too often. And that is a mistake.
A Starter Website is the perfect fit for any new company for two reasons: a) it’s priced to fit a budget b) it validates a new company, but customers find its small size admissible since the company is so new (new is <1 year). It’s a nice little loophole in consumer thought. A Starter Website is defined here as a single page site that has basic information like location, hours, about, and contact. No bells and whistles.
Let’s Talk Numbers
The most important thing to bear in mind is that 84% of adults are now online and using the internet to inform their business choices, according to Pew Research. In fact, 81% of shoppers validate a company by looking at its website before making a purchase. That includes brick and mortar stores.
If you think this doesn’t include B2B companies, you’re wrong. A full 94% of B2B purchasers conduct online research before buying. This means that if you are selling anything, and you don’t have a website, you lose the chance to show your value proposition and position yourself as the best, fastest, or cheapest option. Translated: without a website, you don’t exist. Even in referral transactions, the website is viewed to validate what one was told about you.
The SEO Side of Things
To further my case for Starter Websites, let’s talk about the almighty Google and SEO (search engine optimization). I’m sure that most of my clients have heard me say at some point, “A good website is like a good bottle of wine. The longer it is online, the better its rank.” Historically, Google trusts websites that have been online and actively updated for long periods of time. Google figures that a website that has existed for many years is attached to a company that has existed for many years. Longevity speaks to viability, authority, and quality – we see this mentality leveraged all the time in ads that celebrate being in business for 25, 50, or even 100 years.
Actively updated being the operative phrase – you can’t just put up a website and leave it to die, or it will die. Google, like any other company, wishes to conserve resources. When a website is posting content / changing often, Google’s bots recognize this and come back often. But if a site stops changing, the bots start coming less often, eventually not coming back at all. If Google thinks your site is dead, it won’t favor it in search results, and your site really will be dead.
Freshness of content is also important to the authority of the content. New content means relevant content, and Google values the end-user above all else. That’s why even old websites will ‘die’ (be pushed back in search results) if they aren’t updated regularly. We recommend a blog for this purpose, but new products, announcements, or general information updates also work.
So Start Your Company Completely
The point of all of this is to encourage you to get something up online as soon as you launch your company publicly. It will make a significant difference in the trust others have in you, and lay the groundwork for growth in the future.