Startups often make disastrous mistakes when launching a brand and website, here are 5 examples and how to avoid them

Bhupendra Sharma

Your website is an important part of your branding. When launching a new startup, keep in mind that your customers’ impression of your brand can make or break your business

The first ever website, info.cern.ch, was created by Tim Berners-Lee of CERN on August 6, 1991, two years before CERN decided to make World Wide Web available for everyone. The online community has come a long way since then with over 1.18 billion websites online right now. This number is growing at a swift pace and will soon take over the total population of the world.

In today’s tech-led era, it’s almost impossible for businesses to survive without having a web presence. For this, companies, both large and small, try their best to create web properties that can showcase their products and services to hundreds of millions of people who use the internet on a daily basis.

Even after knowing how important a website can be, many startup founders fail to stick to the basics and commit some disastrous mistakes knowingly or unknowingly, which take a toll on their brand image at a later stage.

If you are looking forward to starting your entrepreneurial journey in the near future, then make sure you avoid these mistakes at any cost:

Trying to hit the floor without preparing any business plan

Do you know what happens when a soccer player hits the ground without practicing for the match? You are right — he is likely to perform very bad. Business is no different from a soccer game. Many people believe that as soon as they buy a domain and create a website (no matter how bad), they’ll start getting lots of traffic. Unfortunately, it’s not how things work in the online world.

Today, if you don’t work according to a business plan, you cannot get desired results. And by a business plan, I don’t mean you should have a lengthy official document with tough business jargons and terms that are beyond everyone’s understanding.

Also read: Branding basics: What game designers can teach startups about building a brand

Instead, you can stick with a business plan that can address these points:

  • What are your primary products or services?
  • Who are your target customers?
  • Which common problems faced by people in your target market are you willing to solve, and how you will do it?
  • Who are your competitors, and what are their offerings, strengths, and weaknesses?
  • How do you plan to establish and expand your online presence?

There can be ten thousand other points which you may include in this list, but the ones mentioned here are good enough to start off the proceedings.

Not trying to think beyond the horizon

Many startups headed by newcomers create brand websites and then expect the readers to visit them, buy products, pay the price and help them earn millions. Sadly, the online market never worked like this in the past, and will never do so in the future.

There are many other initiatives that need to be taken along with website creation to start selling online. Some of them are advertising (Adwords and paid promotion on various social media platforms), networking with social media influencers and requesting them to spread the word about your brand, social media outreach, etc.

Remember, the process involved in building a successful online venture is tough and full of hurdles. Don’t expect overnight results if you want to create a sustainable business that lasts an entire lifetime. Maintain a steady pace, take into account the important activities mentioned in the previous paragraph and keep trying.

Not using your branded domain

One doesn’t need to spend even a single dollar to get his website online. Companies like Google (Blogspot), Tumbler, WordPress, etc., offer a free platform where users can create sites and start writing content. They don’t charge any money from the users. However, they keep the entire ownership of the platform and have the authority to delete any blog/site without any prior notice if it violates their terms of usage.

Also read: Branding basics: Why I spent US$1.5 million on our domain

Many youngsters opt for these platforms and create websites without giving a serious thought to the idea of branding. I’m not saying there is anything wrong in going down this lane if you’ve just started your journey in the online world and have no ambitions to monetise the website. But just in case you have got a bigger picture in mind and want to see your brand turning into a million dollar venture a few years from now, then don’t use free platforms. Rather than opting for brand.blogspot.com or brand.wordpress.com kind of domain names, make sure you go with brand.com (or .net, .org, .info, .co, .biz, etc. for that matter) which looks attractive and gives you the complete ownership of the site.

Choosing the wrong web host

What if a retail store located in the middle of the market shuts its doors without any notification? If something like that happens, then all of its customers will move to other shops. If it remains shut for a few days, then most customers who used to visit it daily would stop doing so and rather look for alternatives. It will lead to loss of revenue, customers and most importantly brand image.

web hosting

That’s what happens when a website remains offline or unavailable even for a few hours. It loses its traffic, and probably the users who wouldn’t mind paying money to buy its products and services. One of the major reasons that cause websites to go offline is poor web hosting services. If you choose a wrong web host that doesn’t have enough resources to serve you well, then your website might go offline several times a day, thereby costing you potential traffic and revenue loss.

If you don’t want it to happen, then choose a good web host that carries an excellent track record and is known for its amazing services.

Many first-time startup owners commit this mistake and choose a wrong host due to lack of awareness or eagerness to save a few bucks, and pay a huge price for the same at a later stage. Make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake. Collect ample information about top web hosts in your region, and then choose the one that fits the bill perfectly.

Not paying attention to web design

Even after preparing a business plan, taking a branded domain, creating social media profiles and choosing a perfect web host, your website may fail to attract as many customers as you think it should. One major reason for this can be poor web designing. In today’s time when hundreds of websites come online every minute, you cannot afford to sideline the design part at any cost.

Also read: Branding basics: What game designers can teach startups about building a brand

Many young entrepreneurs avoid the design part on their websites just to save some money without even realizing how much is it going to cost them in the future. Don’t commit the same mistake. No matter if you plan to build an amazing e-commerce website or a personal blog, you need to spend reasonable time and efforts on finalizing the designing part. For this, you can take the help of a professional web designer if need be, but don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Is there is any other mistake not mentioned in this post that you think many startups or young entrepreneurs make while creating their first brand website? If yes, please comment below and share it with the community.

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