4 Winning Tactics for Upgrading Your Startup’s Website March 13, 2015 RICCentre The total number of active websites online mushroomed from 346 million in 2011 to more than 697 million in 2012, according to Internet Live Stats. Today there are more than one billion active websites in cyberspace. A website must be properly updated to market and boost business, especially for startups breaking into an industry. Poorly-built, out-of-date websites turn off potential customers who will just click on the next link in search of a better experience. Can your business afford to lose leads because of your ineffective Web presence? Address the following four tactics to ensure your website is 2015-compatible. Go Mobile A May 2014 comScore report found that U.S. Internet users spent 60 percent of their digital media time on mobile devices. Potential customers access the Internet on smaller screens using mobile Web browsers. Mobile compatibility is a necessity for emerging, competitive companies. Most WordPress themes are mobile-compatible by default. Install a simple plugin for themes not automatically displaying correctly. If your website was built before 2007, your site’s probably in need of a complete redesign and overhaul. Keep in mind, new startups can prosper and have better longevity by going mobile second after finding a suitable platform, recommends Venture Beat. First, “choose one platform to reach product/market fit.” Adopt a website building platform designed to automatically detect mobile devices and display your website accordingly. Get Social A September 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 71 percent of American adults with Internet access have a Facebook profile. Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram all saw their number of users increase by at least 6 percent from 2013 to 2014. If you want to draw awareness to your business and make a digital (and influential) first impression, you need a strong social media presence. Lacking the resources to provide fresh and new content? Make your site look fresh and active by embedding your Twitter feed into a sidebar, for example. Business News Daily spotlights CEOs Carrie Kerpen and Caroline Ghosn who advise entrepreneurs to: Tailor content strategies to the social platform. Ask customers for feedback via social media. Test the effectiveness of content based on consumer interests. Maintain a uniform brand voice. Fix Dead Links Broken links are bad news and for two major reasons — Web crawlers don’t like them and neither do potential customers. A bad user experience is the fastest way to lose leads and send them to your competitors. Take the time to check and clean up your links; landing on Error 404 “Page not found” can kill your credibility as a trustworthy business. Check out the following resources: Google Webmaster Tools’ Crawl Errors page can help you find 404 errors and broken links. W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Link Checker thoroughly checks for broken links with a link checker and lists broken links. Xenu’s Link Sleuth scans your website using a script available for Windows and provides a report. Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool crawls your website for broken links, errors, meta data and more. Start Monetizing Your website isn’t just your virtual storefront, it has to potential to bring in extra profit. Start advertising. Open a Google AdSense account and place ads on your site. Adopt content locking, which provides premium digital content to a consumer if they participate in an advertiser-sponsored offer, according to TheNextWeb.com. Along with advertising, startups, especially Web-based, can digitally monetize in the following ways: PayPal has both “donate” and “checkout” buttons you can install. Accept Bitcoin for donations and payments. The price of the cryptocurrency has plummeted, but there are still 100,000 merchants worldwide that accept it. Rent digital space on your website to strategic partners who can create non-competing content. Use technology to interact with prospects, build customer relationships and create strategic partnerships. Require site visitors to complete a survey or answer a feedback question before they can access premium content.