Optimizing Your Growing Startup Website
Having successfully navigated the very early stages of your business, you are beginning to transition to your next phase. Perhaps you’ve some initial traction, or are considering a fundraise? As always your website will be instrumental in supporting these aims. So what are some of the things you need to think about to manage this next phase of your journey?
Co-Founder / CEO
November 21, 2023
Tech or B2B SaaS websites need constant attention. They are an integral part of your success as they represent the shop front of your entire world. They are designed to create a good impression, educate the market, generate leads, and help persuade investors.
They also need to evolve as your business grows.
At the beginning, a basic brochureware startup website may have been sufficient for a few months, however, the next phase of growth needs the website to evolve with your progress.
This comes in many guises including:
The need for an improved visual identity
The addition of lead magnets e.g. whitepaper downloads
New pages that go into greater detail
Real-life product shots to help showcase the UI
The addition of social proof from early clients e.g. case studies and logos
While everyone's journey is different you may be looking to achieve some or all of these:
Secure an investment round
Grow out the team
Generate more leads
Reduce the cost of acquisition (inbound marketing)
Improve conversion rates (better site performance)
Having an “enterprise grade” website will help you deliver on all of these goals.
How this plays out with a website investment will be a function of the capital available to invest. Adding new blogs is relatively inexpensive, whereas updating the brand identity will need external specialist input and thus budget.
One thing is clear, however, the basic startup website you had in your first year won’t be sufficient to take you to the next level.
Growing SaaS Website Checklist
So what are some of the things you need to be thinking of at this stage?
Before we jump in I need to caveat the below with the point that companies reach this stage at different timelines, and the experience will vary across sectors.
It will also be a function of initial funds raised, team size, marketing budget, and whether or not you’ve achieved product-market fit to name some of the additional factors that will influence timelines.
Again this list is not exhaustive and will vary across websites.
1- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you’ve not been actively thinking about SEO up to now, it will be important to start putting more of a focus on it. Tools like Google Search Console, and SEMRush or aHrefs should be in place at this stage so the team is ensuring content efforts are being as effective as they possibly can.
2- Additional Pages
The top-level navigation should be beginning to fill out, and comparison pages (or alternatives to pages) may be pages you can add (depending on the maturity of the SaaS app and the feature gap with the market leaders).
Other pages you’d typically expect to see on a slightly more mature site can also be improved and updated (Pricing through to About us through to Case Studies).
3- Product Shots
If you are a SaaS company you’ll want to showcase your solution with real up-close images of the UI showing the app with data (rather than in an empty state). Hopefully, you’ve had UI/UX input at the design stage so the app “looks intuitive”.
4- Visual Enhancement
A startup website tends to rely on stock imagery and low-quality illustrations. As the SaaS app matures adding better quality imagery as well as “How it Works” videos helps signal the growing maturity of the company (which serves to help derisk purchase decisions by prospects).
5- Lead Magnets
Adding some thought leadership content in the guise of White papers can help with list building. Gated content is an additional way to build a database. These leads (often called Marketing Qualified Leads - MQLs) have weak commercial intent at this stage but can be ‘nurtured’ via follow-up email sequences.
6- Form Management/ CRM Integration
As you start professionalizing your site, the tech stack starts to become a little more sophisticated. In the early days, leads may have been routed to Slack or an email account via Zapier, but as lead volumes grow you’ll want to add a CRM if you have not already done so.
7- Chat Widget
Again assuming “decent” traffic growth, you’ll want to add a Chat widget at some point. Use GA 4 or a commercial analytics solution to help assess site traffic volumes before proceeding. There is very little point in adding one if the traffic is still relatively modest (as will often be the case with B2B SaaS companies in their early years). In many instances, a chat widget (and all that it entails) is better off being deferred until traffic volumes are significant.
You may be starting to hit the limits of your starter CMS. Issues with WordPress typically become more pronounced as you scale. In some ways making an early call on your CMS is an important decision. Headless CMS like Contento offer attractive alternatives, however, as the investment in a WordPress site grows the switching costs magnify and migrating off WordPress becomes more challenging (internal resistance is also likely to increase). Making an earlier move to a Headless CMS is a good call provided you have access to a Front End dev (ideally in-house) to help manage it. The word access is important here. Many SaaS companies have developers who could be used to help with the website but may be stopped by a Product or Tech lead who does not want them distracted (and wants them to be exclusively focused on “the product”.
In the early days, it can be difficult to align on the exact messaging. Most content is cobbled together quickly and concepts like the tone and “voice of the customer” are absent. Again budgetary constraints, timelines, and lack of actual customers all impact your ability to create compelling messaging. As you mature, have some decent traffic, and are closing leads it is time to revisit the messaging (ideally using a specialist B2B SaaS copywriter).
Owning your own list should be an important consideration for this next phase of growth. If you are producing high-quality content you'll want to amplify it to an audience you own rather than paying for access to an audience via Google.
11- Dedicated Landing Pages
If you have sufficient budget and are confident you’ve achieved Product-Market fit you may want to commence some paid acquisition. If you do you’ll need to ensure you have several landing pages to send traffic to. These will be keyword optimized and designed with one goal in mind - generating a conversion from the site visitor. If you are feeling sufficiently bullish about your progress to date, these could also include “Alternative to” or “Comparison pages” where you target competitors branded search with Ads that look to intercept this traffic and divert it to your own.
12- Social Proof
Finally at this stage, you may have some client wins that you can use for testimonials, case studies, and logos. It is important to share success stories (before and after) and to highlight ones that represent your Ideal Customer Profile rather than some friendlies you’ve managed to drag across the line. Logos on their own won’t suffice. Similarly, if you’ve had some initial G2 and Capterra reviews these can be added to the site also. As these numbers grow adding 5***** under primary CTA’s can aid conversions.
As your SaaS company grows and you are successfully converting leads, who are then sticking around (low churn) you’ve sufficient evidence of traction to start dialing up your marketing efforts. These all start with your website. Where once it was a low cost operation with a basic set of (often poorly designed) pages it now needs to be used to deliver on your corporate goals. As this article has highlighted you’ll need to invest more in your website. It is no longer a “build once and forget” website. If it is to support your growth ambitions it needs investment, a CMS that will scale and a marketing function that can use it effectively.
This article provides an overview of the design elements needed to create high-performing B2B SaaS pages. The article discusses the key elements of a page, such as images, copy, social proof, calls to action (CTA), & positioning. The author also highlights the pages to focus on, including the home page, pricing page, blog page, and dedicated landing page for paid acquisition.
2 May 2023