#1. Look Like a Pro
Unless you have a degree from a credible graphic design school hanging on your wall, find a pro to create all those things that create a first visual impression with the public. We’re talking about logo, business cards, flyers, website graphics. Nothing kills startup credibility faster than coming out of the gate looking like an amateur. As a consumer, you know what professional level design looks like. If not, look at what your competitors are doing.
#2. Without Good Backups, What’s the Point?
There are lots of areas where you can save money while getting your business website up and going but a reliable backup system is not one of them. Most web hosts offer some sort of free automatic backup process, but they’re often beset with limitations that might include limits on file size and frequency of backups. For around ten bucks a month you can get into a serious backup service.
#3. But My Nephew is a Web Development Wiz
With the state of DIY website builders and a rich selection of templates to be found on CMS (content management systems) services like WordPress, it’s a gigantic temptation to build your own website, and that might be fine. But if you have a need for more in-depth website or software development to get your startup going, don’t cheap out and hire your sister’s 14-year old kid. You’re not playing games here. This is a business. Treat the process with respect.
#4. .Com is Still the Go To TLD
There are zillions (slight exaggeration) of top level domains to be found these days and some of them are ridiculously cheap. Don’t let anyone fool you, though – a .com (maybe .net and .org also) domain is still the most effective to be found when it comes to Google juice. A full 46% of registered websites have chosen the .com designation, with another 9% split between .net and .org. Other TLDs offer incredible discounts but they just won’t get you the same ranking.
Most popular top-level domains worldwide as of May 2018
#5. Your Web Host Matters
As with domain names, you can find web hosting that gets as low as, well, free. Probably not a good strategy to go that route. Free web hosts tend to pile a bunch of websites on shared servers without enough computing resources to go around. That means slow page download speeds or outright outages and probably nonstop upsell attempts to get money out of you. There are plenty of standup web hosting services in the $5-10 a month range.
#6. No Question – Mobile is the Future
When you hear someone talk about a website’s responsiveness, they’re referring to whether it looks good and functions right on devices like smartphones, tablets, and whatever else the evil tech geniuses come up with. With mobile online traffic on a nosebleed trajectory up, plan to pay whatever additional costs in web design and development might arise. With 51.89% of global traffic of the mobile variety, we’re past the tipping point already. Most startups will be dead in the water if they aren’t responsive. Our guide on AMP will help you make your mobile pages attractive.
Percentage of all global web pages served to mobile phones from 2009 to 2018
#7. ABC (Always Be Creating) Content – Or Hire it Done
A few years back, Google made a purposeful shift away from the keyword stuffing games online entrepreneurs were playing and started saying, “Content is king.” Okay, maybe Bill Gates said it first. The point remains that well-written, fresh content with proper keyword ratios would be rewarded. Years ago, many marketers used a rule of thumb that target keyword density should be about 5%, but you should assume it’s less than that now. Google doesn’t offer hard and fast numbers for a reason. They just want it to be pleasantly readable by humans. If you don’t feel equipped to generate this content yourself, look into hiring a freelancer. The quality and newness of your content are directly related to search engine ranking success.
#8. Maybe/Maybe Not an SEO Agency
If you don’t have the skill or time to undertake your startup website’s search engine optimization strategy, look into hiring an SEO consultant for the initial and ongoing keyword research, social media account management, and maybe PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. The bottom line is that the process of creating and managing an entire marketing campaign is not inconsequential. Many an online entrepreneur has been consumed by this beast. Don’t let it be you.
#9. The Cost that Isn’t Actually One
Is it better to sit down and write out a business plan or just wing it and hope the galactic gods tip the game in your favor? We sincerely hope you chose the second option. While it seems like an onerous task, you can’t really farm this one out and certainly shouldn’t skip it. While it will cost you time, keep in mind that a five or ten page end result might be fine, depending on the complexity of your business. We would be remiss not to point out that the SBA says your plan should fall in the 25-100 page range to be taken seriously. The bottom line is you need to do this to keep yourself on track once things get crazy. They will get crazy.
#10. Tax and Legal Advice
No one wants to pay accountants and lawyers but you don’t want to get sideways with the IRS or any of the state and local agencies who will complain (and worse) if you don’t abide by all the rules they have conjured either. A one-time consulting payment for a few hours of an attorney’s time as you’re setting the business up is probably sufficient. As far as taxes, unless you like burying your nose in a spreadsheet for hours at a time, online bookkeeping services have become quite affordable.
Too many entrepreneurs allow the idea to settle in their head that starting an online business means zero website costs. You can approach it that way but shouldn’t. While it’s true that the online route avoids much of the traditional brick-and-mortar expenses, don’t expect it – if you do it right – to be a free ride. You want to make money at this, right? Don’t be too cheap to spend it on the things that give you a better chance of blasting past Jeff Bezos on the next billionaires’ list.
September 28, 2020
September 18, 2020
July 29, 2020