Newly funded startups may already have some kind of web presence, especially if the product is Internet-related. If so, this is the time to reconsider the purpose and goals of the website and update it accordingly. And if not, this is the time to build one!

Your Website is One of Your Most Important Tools

When evaluating (or reevaluating) your startup’s website, consider these priorities:

1. Your Website is your Business Card

First and foremost, the website is your business card. It’s what people will find when they search for you. Make sure it answers basic questions like: What does the company do? Who is running the company? How do I contact them?

2. Your Website Attracts Prospects

Second, your website needs to communicate your company’s value proposition clearly to someone who finds your site with organic search. This is someone who doesn’t know about your company but finds it because they searched for a solution to a problem they have. This content should answer all their questions and also be the seed for search engines to associate your site with keywords around the solution you’re providing.

3. Your Website Generates Leads

Third, you want to start collecting emails for prospect outreach. As a baseline, allow visitors to sign up for news and updates about the company and/or its products. You may also consider offering an ebook or other resource of value in exchange for some basic contact information.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when embarking on this process:

Don’t Build the Space Shuttle.

If you’re redesigning or building a new site, start with a template to save time and money. This is not the time to undergo a 6 month design strategy session. Get something useful out fast to iterate and improve upon rather than losing valuable time trying to build the space shuttle.

Make Sure you can Manage It.

One of your engineers or an IT friend might be able to whip up a static HTML site for you over the weekend, but it will do little for you as a marketer. You need to be able to add content regularly and easily, and you need to be able to optimize content based on analytics and current trends. WordPress will let you do these things and shouldn’t cost much more than static HTML.

Keep Marketing Separate from Product Development.

Finally, if your product is web-based, be sure to build a separate website for marketing to prospects than the one used by paying customers. Web startups often try to piggyback a marketing home page and sign up process into their core product, and this is a mistake. As your company grows, the people managing your marketing website will not be the engineers building your product. Likewise, the people coming to your site as paying customers are a completely different audience from those you want to sign up, and mixing that traffic up on a single site considerably complicates marketing analytics. Keep these sites separate from the outset, and preferably on different domains, so that everyone can do their job in peace.

Wakefly has built websites for lots of startups. Drop us a note if you’d like more tips on building yours.