As a startup, you only have one chance to make an impression. In the beginning, you’ll likely get a lot of press and coverage about your company. If people start flocking to your website and find it lackluster, it will seem like a contradiction to all the great things that they’ve been hearing about. In addition to creating an impression, you need to create a connection with your brand so that your company is remembered. So how do you go about crafting the right web design?

The first part of designing a great website starts with the actual look. The design needs to be concise and clear as to what it is about and what it is offering. The communication needs to be benefit driven and directly lead users towards taking the next action. The copy will need to be brief and impactful but in some cases, startups have used short videos rather than copy to explain what they’re offering. It’s all about having a focused and clear presentation.

The second part is to create a strong brand identity. Startup branding is a big part of making the website memorable. The visuals and overall presentation needs to have a strong personality that is clearly distinguishable from similar products or services in the marketplace. The brand also needs to communicate the right message to the target audience and connect with them at an authentic level. Integrating all of these startup branding qualities into the web design is very challenging but integral to the success of the startup.

The third part is to design a great user interface (UI). Startups do not need a complicated UI but it does need to be intuitive, concise, clean and organized. The aim here should be simplicity as you want to really get across your message as a startup. You want users to interact with your site as effortlessly as possible and not get your website muddled with too many options as corporate sites often do.

The fourth part is creating a great user experience (UX). It’s not enough to provide an intuitive UI and aesthetic presentation to the user. You need to think about what they’re going to take away from using your website. Unfortunately, creating the optimal UX is a long process of research, analysis and testing. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore UX in the beginning. Investing in research and putting a lot of effort into creating a relevant and purpose driven design can set up a strong foundation.

The fifth part of creating an outstanding design for your startup is to use social proof. As a startup, you have very little brand equity and you’re trying to win over new customers. If you’ve worked with well known brands or prominent figures in your industry, make sure you reference that on your website. All you need to do is mention a short text saying “as seen on x,” “works with y,” or “partners with z.” Displaying brand logos that you’re associated with will lend you an immense amount of credibility and trust.

To sum up, startups have to prove themselves with their web design. As a startup, you only have once chance to really make a lasting impression. Your website will be a big reflection of what you are about, so you need to cover all areas of design to make it count. Following the tips outlined in this post will give you a good idea of what aspects of design are important and how to go about making these elements work.