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If you plan on being the successful standout in a sea of startups, you need a great website. Agile web development, WordPress, SEO, and smart digital marketing are your friends. Still, a startup website only has a couple seconds to make the right impression.

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The ingredients for a great startup website are well known, yet many businesses don’t make the effort to put them all into action. Here are five must-haves for your startup’s web presence and five startup businesses we think are doing effective web design and digital marketing.

1. Marketing Tagline

It’s a short catchphrase that summarizes your brand mission or product/service offerings. The best taglines are catchy, witty, controversial, or otherwise memorable.


Otto, a self-driving trucking system developer, is the brainchild of former employees from Google, Apple, and Tesla. The company is developing sensors and software that will turn retrofitted trucks into part of an autonomous fleet for about $30,000 each.

Otto may have one of the best taglines of recent startups in the news. “Interstate autopilot” is specific, explanatory, and interesting. Unlike many other marketing taglines, it’s specific and quirky in a way “trucking automation” or other such tags just wouldn’t be. Not to mention, the brand name “Otto” sounds like “auto” as in car and “auto” as in automatic. Very smart.

2. Strong Offering/Pitch

Answer the crucial questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. A visitor should get a quick sense of what you do, the benefits, and how visitors can buy/join/participate.


ZenProspect is a lead generation and sales communication platform meant to help business clients ramp up sales. According to AngelList, the company is profitable, growing, and backed by investors such as Y Combinator, SV Angel, and Social Capital.

ZenProspect’s visual above-the-fold graphics give visitors that quick sense of what the company does for clients. The website answers all those necessary questions: who: ZenProspect, what: outbound sales, when: “in minutes”, where: online, why: simplifies the leadgen process, and how: tech and automation.

3. UX Design

UX is great web design that’s user-friendly and intuitive. Snappy load times, logical navigation, a helpful sitemap, eye-catching CTAs, and an overall intuitive layout are a must.

Deliver My Ride

We wouldn’t be very effective digital marketers if we didn’t include a site that we built in this list. Deliver My Ride aims to disrupt the car buying process by letting customers shop anywhere – and have their car delivered straight to their door. No more salespeople, no more mulling around in a showroom all day on a Saturday.

Deliver My Ride hits all these major startup UX web design points. Text that is easy on the eyes, a clear tagline —Your New Car, A Click Away. Easy. Online. Delivered. — and pink CTA buttons, a change from the norm that still reinforces where a visitor should click. From there, the site offers options to call or schedule a meeting with an expert, customer testimonials, and a confirmation of the company’s message -“No Salesmen. No Sales Calls. No Hassles.” The site’s footer offers a great deal more informational pages and links in a well-organized format.

4. Product Tour/Demo

A brief intro tour or demo of your product lets visitors know what your product (or service) does and how it does it. A sharp video demo or effective visual diagram will work.


StyleSeat is aiming to modernize the $400 billion beauty and wellness industry. According to AngelList, the service hopes to connect industry professionals with clients the way Uber did for transportation and OpenTable did for restaurant reservations.

StyleSeat has made several great professional demo videos. One posted to AngelList targets beauty stylists, their clientele, and investors with clips of the app in action and testimonials from users.  The site focuses on beauty stylists adopting the system to attract new clients, simplify bookings, and even managing digital payments.

5. Social Proof

Today’s consumers are more influenced that you would expect by testimonials from clients and customers like themselves or authorities and media gatekeepers in your field.


Datadog is a startup that provides enterprise business IT and developer teams the ability to monitor their apps and data across their cloud services at once. “The company has signed some of the biggest up-and-coming companies such as Airbnb, Zendesk as well as established enterprises like HP,” VC investor Chetan Puttagunta told Business Insider.

As you can see, the startup’s custom WordPress design puts social proof — its roster of major enterprise clients — right up front. The brands listed are diverse, from rail to gaming, IT, sales, networking, and customer service. For fans of these brands in these industries, the social proof helps build rapport with a new unfamiliar brand and service.

As you’ll notice, these agile web designs hit all the major requirements without getting bogged down in details. A startup can’t afford to spend years building the perfect website; they just need one that works now. This is possible when you get the basic elements of a great website together and then get back to focusing on your business.

Is your startup in need of a website that makes the right first impression? Take a look at our portfolio, call us at 313-338-9515 or email to learn how our full-service digital agency can help.