20 Hard-Hitting Startup Websites That Get Visitors To Take Action

by 19 04/19/2012

The viral nature of the web makes it an excellent breeding ground for interesting startups.

If you have a cool idea, the web can help you spread it.  That is, if you can communicate that cool idea.

A startup website has fewer seconds to make an impression than the site of an established brand.  It’s critical to make those precious seconds count.

When your visitor arrives they will be asking “What’s in it for me?”  With no time to waste, a hard-hitting home page will contain some, if not all of the following elements:

1.  A tagline: A prominent tagline that fits within the overall brand messaging and communicates the benefit of the startup immediately.

2. Clear offering: Clearly express what you are doing, what your visitor can gain from it and how they can easily get it.

3. User-friendly interface: Consider load times, navigation, sitemap, prominent calls-to-action, and and intuitive layout.

4.  A Quick Tour/Demo: Let visitors know what your product does easily and quickly through a simple video demo or diagram of your product/idea.

5.  Social Proof:   This isn’t your first rodeo.  Prove it by displaying logos of businesses you have worked with, testimonials or evidence of press coverage for your startup.

Let’s look at 20 successful startup websites and why they work:


Votifi is a mobile polling and analytics company that facilitates political exploration and network building through their platform and related technology. As you can see, it contains all the components one comes to expect from a viable startup website – a tagline, easy navigation, social network links, and a clean, intuitive layout.


Dojo lets Fan Page admins create coupons, sweepstakes and more easily via Facebook Fan apps. Dojo launched with 6 apps and has 15 more in the roadmap. The branding of this startup is cohesive throughout the site, and fits with the Japanese theme of the company. Simple calls-to-action explain what you can expect from the service, and are placed above the fold.



Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts from inside your email inbox. A large screenshot placed on the left hand side of the home page allows you to easily see the product in action. A bright call-to-action inspires the visitor to take action and download the application.


DropBox presents an easy-to-follow video presentation about the company and how you can benefit from their app.


The Evernote family of products help you remember and act upon ideas, projects and experiences across all the computers, phones and tablets you use. Visitors are able to scan and easily digest what the application is about through images and subheadings



Squareup accepts credit card payments from anywhere with your iPhone, Android or iPad. Full-scale photography illustrates how easy the service is to use while a simple registration allows you to sign up on the spot.


This popular personal finance management software is an easy way to manage your money. A solid visual design aids in the appeal of the website and the content is easy to read.



A short YouTube video introduces visitors to the AirBnb concept, a global network of accommodations offered by locals. Infographics, a popular trend in showcasing data, allows you to see the global growth of AirBnb.


ZooZ is a complete and secure solution that makes it easier to start accepting payments in mobile applications, to build freemium apps for example. The homepage presents everything the visitor would be interested in knowing before signing up for this particular service, including checkpoints of key attributes.

Empire Avenue

Empire Avenue provides an easy way to expand, engage and evaluate your social network. The website does a great job at drawing the visitor in and getting them interested in the service. Simple, clear headlines allow you to easily understand the product and benefit you’ll receive.

Beta Punch

BetaPunch allows startups to reach out to beta testers in order to collect feedback to help improve and reward influential early adopters. Again we see the use of a slogan, as well as calls-to-action placed near product highlights, encouraging more signups.



Unplugg is a web and mobile platform that allows you to manage and analyze your energy consumption online, allowing you to improve your energy efficiency easily. An illustration highlights the theme of the service and adds visual interest, while the rest of the text is broken down into digestible chunks.


A nature-inspired backdrop paints the picture for this waste management service for your business.



GiftRocket combines the thoughtfulness of a gift certificate with the flexibility of cash. Send an online gift to anyone, instantly. This is another example of solid branding carried throughout the website in illustration, diagrams, etc.  Sponsor testimonials add social proof that the concept works.

Contact Me

A nice visual design presents Contact Me in a professional, modern way. The slogan as a headline, attributes as bullet points, and screenshots of the product in action work in harmony to sell the product, in addition to the promotional video.



Tyreright makes it easy to browse their website by breaking up the content in headings and subheadings as well as images. Featuring a search bar on your site is a great way to help serve up relevant content to your users. If someone visits your site and is looking for something specific, all they have to do is a quick search and they are served up the content that matches their query.


The website for Clock allows you to instantly see the advantage of using this service through a large, centered headline and sub-heading.


The Echoer app allows you to read minds and explore the world of thoughts around you. Built on a fun and engaging visual platform, Echoer lets you shape and explore a world of thoughts, ideas and discoveries anywhere, anytime. Colorful illustrations draw the visitor in while a demo allows the to easily understand what the product is about.


Sonar is a mobile application that leverages social network data to reveal hidden connections and interests you share with the people nearby. By providing the context for people to get to know the folks around them better – whether they’re friends, friends of friends or strangers – Sonar aims to make the world a cozier place.

Stitch Labs

The website for Stitch Labs is warm and inviting which helps in selling a complex product that much easier. A slideshow of diagrams help support this while visible call to action allows the visitor to take action.

The website for a startup is often the first and only opportunity to gain a new user.

As a startup you must make your website work extra hard to convert visitors.

What are some features that keep you interested in a startup? Let us know!


Stephanie Hamilton is a Brand Stylist & Web Designer whose passion is helping creative entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start-ups develop memorable and meaningful brand & digital experiences. Visit By Stephanie and let's collaborate to tell your brand's story. Visit the blog for more helpful design resources.

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Blog Tyrant

Awesome case study Steph!

I love seeing these fast rises to fame. Often they look so effortless but most of the time they are like a duck in a lake – still on the top but paddling madly underwater!

Thanks again.


April 19, 2012 Reply


Where are the companies that sell physical goods online? A call to action to download an app or enter an email address is a lot different from one that asks you to spend $500. I want to see who’s doing that well.

April 19, 2012 Reply

Lonric Studios

I agree. One thing I try to get across is that a really great animated explanatory commercial does miracles for startups. Not having a great video is like a restaurant having no kitchen.And not a power point boring video, but something cute, entertaining, profession and straight to the point. We just did the one for ZooZ and it’d doing great. We have had so many success stories coming from startups who hired us to create their commercials. These videos improves every corner of a business. Check out our website at http://www.lonricstudios.com
Not sure if I was allowed to leave a link, if not then please remove. Anyways…FANTASTIC article. Thanks=)

~London Lyric
Lonric Studios

April 23, 2012 Reply

Rafael Jegundo

Thanks for the mention of @unpluggapp!

We actually have updated slightly the content to a clearer USP after that screenshot. We are constantly thinking on how to prove our value to the user and tweaking the landing page. Good to hear from you that we seem on the right track.

Crazyegg seems an interesting tool to help with that. We have meaning to try it but time is always short. Looking forward though!

April 25, 2012 Reply

Theresa Pham from one31

Great article. I agree with Kyle and looking forward to seeing a “physical goods” list. Most of these sites are from companies that are “tech” heavy. Do you think this gives them an advantage over other start-ups? They already exist in the digital space in terms of skillset and resources simply by the nature of their products. Building an App already requires special knowledge of UX and interface design. Someone without this familiarity or budget (as start-up) would be hard-pressed to come up with a well designed website.

April 26, 2012 Reply


Thanks for the mention CrazyEgg. Not all the time that we get mentioned along some of these giants.

April 26, 2012 Reply



Nice article. I have also started a new website for bingo players ..It is basically a review site for bingo players http://www.thebingoonline.com/ I have tried to add every thing but it is not picking up I will try to start fresh with keeping all of the points above.Any ideas for the site I will be thankful..

June 22, 2012 Reply


Stephanie, what an amazing list. Great and inspiring finds. I was looking for a place to start my research and plan for creating a new website for our startup beestar.eu and you’ve given me a great place to start exploring. The websites you mentioned have lead me to some great new ideas. Thanks!

December 26, 2012 Reply


Great article Stephanie! I think we’re missing a point though. You might have the greatest website on earth, if it’s nowhere to be found on the internet that’s not really going to help you.
6) Fresh and relevant content updated regularly, and specific search engine optimisation work. For this last point you should check seonewb.com can really help.

August 8, 2013 Reply


Interesting article! I found that marketing is very important, also very useful content, SEO. Think that Google will not push you if you’re unknown, new. You have to fight for better position.

June 11, 2014 Reply

    Neil Patel

    Pera, that’s always true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

    June 11, 2014 Reply

Rob Carr

So many good ideas listed! Thanks for sharing Stephanie. You have just given me something to do this afternoon, as I explore many of these. Clock could help us (MyProgrammer.com) since we have to log and report the time we spend on our custom software projects.

I also see a lot of great examples of solid design here. Good stuff!

February 26, 2015 Reply

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