Startups, your landing page sucks

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Startups, your landing page sucks

Why do start-ups get competitions so wrong? I’m in shock after preliminary evaluating the LeWeb start-up competition. For starters, three companies out of the sixteen had their landing pages in their local language, French, Italian and Spanish. The Italian and the French were, at least, also available in English, not so the Spanish one (shocker!). If you are selected for an international conference stage, the least you can do is translate your damn website. The fact that’s called “International“, should give you the cue.

Landing page problems and solutions

Now, apart from the language issues (kudos to the other French start-ups for finally realizing that the world doesn’t speak French), half of the websites where rather uninformative. Two of the start-ups had only a Rocket Start landing page with no information whatsoever on what they’re doing. Just for the record, a cryptic quote like: “We are marrying fashion with technology” is as useless as saying you are the next generation social application.

Landing pages are about giving information to your users about what problem do you solve and how do you do it. This was the issue with the other half of the start-ups. Most of them had a vague description of what they did, but not what the solution was about, which is as useful as a having a bag of salt in the middle of the ocean. Zero. Nada.

I really really want to write about your company, but you’re making my job look more like a Connan Doyle novel than tech reporting. Our friends at The Next Web just posted a very timely article on what are start-ups getting out of conference competitions. It’s funny to see how every single one highlight the importance of them getting exposure to a big crowd. Why is it that you don’t want that?

Finally, some conferences are starting to run pre-conference bootcamps for start-ups, which is a huge improvement from what was going on last year, but still, many entrepreneurs fail to do their homework. I said it last year, and I’ll say it again, for god’s sake, have your contact details on your website, not an ugly, stupid and useless form that no one uses.

All in all, I’m giving the LeWeb start-ups a D in communication and message crafting. I’m tempted to build a small service that, in exchange of a small fee ($10-$20), I’ll personally review your website before any conference and make sure it makes any sense. Do you guys think it will work? :P

UPDATE: I started getting people interested on this so I created this form so you can send your site.

Come on people!! We can do this much better!!

  • Maarten Schenk

    And a startup naming startup would be great too. Slapping random syllables together does not make for a great name. Tell us what you do in your name…

    • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

      LOL!! That’s a good one! I should add that one too haha. I’ve added a form, cause I’m actually getting people requesting it :D

    • http://www.tomhalligan.co.uk/ Tom Halligan

      Let’s call it ‘na.me.ly’, that should get the point across!

  • Maarten Schenk

    And a startup naming startup would be great too. Slapping random syllables together does not make for a great name. Tell us what you do in your name…

    • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

      LOL!! That’s a good one! I should add that one too haha. I’ve added a form, cause I’m actually getting people requesting it :D

    • http://www.tomhalligan.co.uk/ Tom Halligan

      Let’s call it ‘na.me.ly’, that should get the point across!

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  • http://twitter.com/ryano_atl Ryan O’Neill

    For someone complaining about lack of polish on a startup’s website you sure did make a lot of typos.

    Other than that, I mostly agree with you…except for the translation part. These companies have limited resources and probably only recently found out that they were going to be featured in an “international” conference. Adding to that, they are almost certainly targeting customers in their native language on launch and for the first 6+ months or more. So why go through the trouble of translating your landing page just so some American shmuck who will probably never use your product(because it’s in French) can go “ooh ahh” at a conference.

    • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

      Ryan, could you point out the typos? Will fix asap. Thanks for pointing it out.

      About the translation, I would disagree. If you come to LeWeb is because you relate to an international crowd. I do buy the argument if the company only operates in their local country, but not if they intend to expand. The thing is, translating 300 words isn’t hard or time consuming. I’ve extensibly written about this here: http://www.kernelmag.com/scene/2581/linguistic-myopia/

  • http://twitter.com/ryano_atl Ryan O’Neill

    For someone complaining about lack of polish on a startup’s website you sure did make a lot of typos.

    Other than that, I mostly agree with you…except for the translation part. These companies have limited resources and probably only recently found out that they were going to be featured in an “international” competition(that happens to be in Paris and have “le” in the name). Adding to that, they are almost certainly targeting customers in their native language on launch and for the first 6+ months or more. So why go through the trouble of translating your landing page just so some American shmuck who will probably never use your product(because it’s in French) can go “ooh ahh” for a few moments before moving on to the next one.

    • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

      Ryan, could you point out the typos? Will fix asap. Thanks for pointing it out.

      About the translation, I would disagree. If you come to LeWeb is because you relate to an international crowd. I do buy the argument if the company only operates in their local country, but not if they intend to expand. The thing is, translating 300 words isn’t hard or time consuming. I’ve extensibly written about this here: http://www.kernelmag.com/scene/2581/linguistic-myopia/

  • mydigitalself

    Not trying to Troll you here… but I’ll give you an F in journalism for your use of “an D” and “you” instead of “your website”.

    Just saying.

    • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

      Fixed. Well, English is indeed not my first language, so thanks for pointing it out :) Any other typo?

      • Abcdefg

        come one people -> come on people

        • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

          Fixed. Thanks!! :)

      • Anonymous

        Yes.
        “kudos to the other French start-ups for finally realizing that the world doesn’t speaks French”

        speak* French

        • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

          God, I was on a typo roll when I wrote this haha thanks again!

  • mydigitalself

    Not trying to Troll you here… but I’ll give you an F in journalism for your use of “an D” and “you” instead of “your website”.

    Just saying.

    • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

      Fixed. Well, English is indeed not my first language, so thanks for pointing it out :) Any other typo?

      • Abcdefg

        come one people -> come on people

        • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

          Fixed. Thanks!! :)

      • Anonymous

        Yes.
        “kudos to the other French start-ups for finally realizing that the world doesn’t speaks French”

        speak* French

        • http://twitter.com/abarrera Alex Barrera

          God, I was on a typo roll when I wrote this haha thanks again!

  • http://www.kickofflabs.com/ Josh Ledgard

    Nothing I hate more than using only a vague tagline to try and sell me on a new product. There are some good examples here of people doing it better: http://www.kickofflabs.com/showcase

  • http://www.kickofflabs.com/ Josh Ledgard

    Nothing I hate more than using only a vague tagline to try and sell me on a new product. There are some good examples here of people doing it better: http://www.kickofflabs.com/showcase

  • Luis Pando

    As an entrepreneur that is creating his landing page right now, I would like to say a couple of things:

    -There are different abilities needed for creating a web page and for creating a web application. You need a good developer for create a good application, meanwhile you need a good designer to create a good landing page. If you don`t have a designer in your start up, you can end up with the landing pages you talked about

    -The landing page maybe is not the first of your priorities. If your are focusing in create a minimum viable product probably you just create a quick and dirty page for your local market because the company are not “thinking globally” at this stage.

    My opinion here is that the marketing guy applies to LeWeb, they where selected but they were not ready at all for the situation.

  • Luis Pando

    As an entrepreneur that is creating his landing page right now, I would like to say a couple of things:

    -There are different abilities needed for creating a web page and for creating a web application. You need a good developer for create a good application, meanwhile you need a good designer to create a good landing page. If you don`t have a designer in your start up, you can end up with the landing pages you talked about

    -The landing page maybe is not the first of your priorities. If your are focusing in create a minimum viable product probably you just create a quick and dirty page for your local market because the company are not “thinking globally” at this stage.

    My opinion here is that the marketing guy applies to LeWeb, they where selected but they were not ready at all for the situation.

  • rkdowner

    Hate to be critical, but you have a pretty ugly web site yourself.

    As for your content, you’re spot on.

  • rkdowner

    Hate to be critical, but you have a pretty ugly web site yourself.

    As for your content, you’re spot on.

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