Branded Website and E-Mail that Attract Venture Capital
If you do nothing else to build a public persona for attracting venture capital interest, get a webpage. Buying a web address and having a page hosted doesn’t cost very much — less than $100 per year — but be sure to avoid cheap looking templates that may do more harm than good.
For $2,000, you can have a webpage designed for you. You can also use website design services that make putting together a webpage very easy (you don’t even need any programming skills). Many easy-to-use and free or inexpensive website building tools are available.
In today’s online world, having the right domain name secured can add significant value to your company. If you have a unique name, failing to register it in a timely way demonstrates a casual and risky behavior because you are allowing others to potentially encroach on your brand or to hijack your name and hold it ransom for thousands of dollars.
It’s far better to spend fifteen minutes and $15 or so per domain and register everything surrounding your name that you can think of.
When you create your website, do the following:
Pick a name for your site that makes sense, is related to your business, and isn’t ridiculous or offensive when read phonetically (www. silkshoes .com, for example). Choosing the web address can be a challenge if your company name is a common word or common name.
Above all, make sure that your website name is easy to remember and doesn’t have ambiguous or complex spelling that will drive browsers to someone else’s site. Follow these guidelines:
Pick a name that people can remember and spell. If you use a creative spelling for your company, expect that people will first type in the common spelling when searching for you.
If your site name spelling is ambiguous, be sure to register every possible variation on the name that you can think of and redirect all of those names to your main website.
Make your web address as short as possible. You have seen addresses that are up to 15 characters, which pretty much assures problems with getting people to remember and access your site. A good rule is to keep it under 10 characters.
Be sure that your company name is on the website and that your products or potential products are visible.
Provide a contact phone number or e-mail address so that people can get in touch with you. Whether you publicize where your office is located is up to you. Investors will check your website first for contact info when they lose your card.
Most websites come with at least a few free e-mail addresses. You have to set up the e-mail name(s) yourself after you set up the website. When doing so, make sure the e-mail address uses your company name.
If your website is www.silkshoes.com, for example, your e-mail address would be firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also create a generic e-mail address like email@example.com that can be used publicly without filling your CEO’s inbox. After you create the e-mail address, use it in all of your correspondence, advertising, and print materials.
A generic address, like John@yahoo.com, just won’t cut it anymore. Investors cannot take you 100 percent seriously as a founder who is raising money until you use an e-mail address that includes your company business name. If you contact potential investors with a Gmail or Yahoo address, they may have trouble remembering which company you own. Worse, they’ll wonder why you aren’t totally committed to this business.