Websites for Smart Energy Entrepreneurs

Neil Williams

28 Apr 2018

This post shares common sense advice from the blogosphere and some nuggets of digital engineering nous from Tilix.

Domain Parked by Go Daddy

It is really easy to create a website for a new smart energy or cleantech business with platforms such as SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly, Jimdo and Wordpress.com. There is great advice to be found about going down this route at Website Builder Expert, Web Create et al.

However, if you are not sure about pre-built website templates then you should turn to a web professional for advice.

Creating a website for your small business can be easier than you think. You can do it yourself if you are so inclined or need to keep costs down, you can get a friend to help, or you can hire a Web developer to do it for you at a modest cost. Michel Theriault

Common Sense

The following posts rank highly in the search engines and include some great advice:

  1. Designing a Website for Startups
  2. Key Steps To Building Your First Small Business Website

Both articles plug Wordpress, the leading web platform for small businesses. A fact that is readily verified by data from BuiltWith. As well as Wordpress, Tilix are proud to build digital properties with Jekyll and Drupal.

The first article was published by Cate Costa on 7 April 2017. The author values “eye-catching, engaging and useful websites”. That’s no surprise given she works for a digital agency. Her day job is to build websites that are strong in terms of brand and message. On the other hand, the second article’s focus is time and cost rather than quality. This was written by Michel Theriault and published by Forbes on 10 December 2013.

Said articles provide common sense advice. However, Tilix is differentiated in two areas which are cornerstones of our value proposition to smart energy entrepreneurs.

Energy Sector Expertise

Tilix is passionate about how digital engineering can transform customer experiences, back office processes and business models in the energy sector. The sorts of digital properties Tilix excels at developing includes:

  • New energy supply businesses
  • Cleantech startups
  • Community energy projects
  • Advisory portals on topics such as energy efficiency, regulation, funding.

Architectural Focus

Tilix creates digital properties that balance interdependencies of context (time, budget, business plan), content (graphics, words, sound) and users (domestic, business, etc).

Eliciting the Purpose & Goals

Clients value our technical expertise and the content we publish on procedural web development. We are therefore more able to quickly cut to the chase and focus our early conversations with smart energy entrepreneurs on business objectives.

Investing time and effort in understanding the strategy and scope for the website pays huge dividends. In particular, Tilix finds the inputs discussed below are worth their weight in gold.

  • Business Model Canvas
  • Value Proposition Canvas
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Digital Marketing Plan
  • Website Plan

When required, Tilix works with our clients to eliciting website purpose and goals using a consultative approach that is lightweight, fun and can be accomplished in a few hours.

Digital Roadmap

For a new business, a typical digital roadmap will cover a journey from a web host 404 page to the creation of a digital growth stack.

  1. Logo, Business Card & Letterhead: Business communications are predominantly digital, so it is important design for both print and the screen.
  2. Holding Page: A simple, single page website is far more credible and valuable than a web host 404 page like the one shown above. Doing more than a cliched “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon” page is not difficult. Choose an evocative photograph, include a compelling call to action, invite contact from your website visitors and offer a mailing list. Don’t forget to embed analytics and to support mobile devices from day one.
  3. Detailed Information: Build out from the single page into a more detailed stack of digital content. This will describe the mission, vision and value proposition in a variety of ways, suiting different user personas and supporting Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
  4. Growth Stack: Include e-commerce and CRM features as required. Ensure each increment is supported by a business case and not a flight of fancy. Tilix are big advocates of Hubspot and also have solid experience with PipeDrive and Salesforce.com

This product development plan is practical and hits the sweet spot for smart energy entrepreneurs by serving several purposes at once.

First, it advances the conversation beyond business modelling into tangible products. Second, it supports iterative and incremental development, which (if done right) promotes speed, focus and intensity within the new business. Rapid feedback cycles makes learning fast, fun and more efficient. What smart energy entrepreneur is not going to like that?

Last, and not least, each product release shows forward momentum to external stakeholders and provides feedback about product-market fit. As they say, a little rudder early is better than a lot of rudder late.

Hubspot Growth Stack

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