Over the past few years, we at MouseBelt have looked at over a thousand ICO websites. While there is a lot a variance between the quality of these sites, the more successful companies all seem to have two things in common: 1) They make their content clear and accessible to investors, and 2) they have a very professional look and feel.
While you should hire professionals to assist you with building your site, there is still a lot of pre-planning you can do to make the design process easier, potentially saving money in the process. You should start by focusing on creating all of the relevant content the site will need. Keep in mind that many users will skim through the information rather than reading things in their entirety so it is best to keep your information in small digestible chunks rather than large blocks of text. It is also a good idea to clearly break apart sections visually so the user can find the information they are looking for easily.
Some important sections that must be included on any successful ICO site:
What problem is your company trying to solve and how do you plan to do it?
This should be the main focus of your site at the start of the page. You should make a high-level summarization of the problem and how you plan to solve it in a few paragraphs. There isn’t much need to dive deep into the underlying tech behind the project at this point as the website should serve more as a basic primer on the company. If you are able to convince potential investors that your product solves a real problem, they will be more likely to read the whitepaper for the actual technical aspects of the project.
What are the real-world use cases?
There needs to be a convincing use case (or multiple) of what the platform is to be used for. Even if it is as simple as transferring tokens between two parties, it should be clear how the platform will be used in the real world. For instance, in the case of supply-chains, will the platform be used to track shipments from the manufacturer to the point-of-sale to prevent fraud? If so, be sure to make this is clear. Many platforms have multiple real-world use cases so make sure these are all laid out for the potential investor.
Who are the members of your team and your advisors?
This section is a major consideration for potential investors and is probably the most important section. You should have professional looking photos of your team members. Every one of the team members should have a link to their LinkedIn profiles as this works as a sort of resume or CV. Investors want to see what projects you have worked on in the past and if they were successful. Have your higher-level team member previously had any successful exits from startups? Be sure to let potential investors know.
For the advisors, it is helpful to include how their skillset will help with the project. In the case of a supply-chain company, you might include an advisor that has 20 years of experience in the traditional supply-chain industry. If the advisor is a lawyer helping with legal matters, you might just include the name of their practice. It is important for potential investors to see how the advisors will help you reach your goals.
How is the token used?
Many companies skip this section. Sometimes it is because they are really only using the token for fundraising purposes and it doesn’t have much of an actual use, but usually it is just an oversight. It is very important that you outline at least the basics of how the token will be used within the platform. If the potential investor can’t see a clear use for the token, there isn’t much of a reason to purchase the tokens.
Who are your partners?
Are you partnered with any outside companies? Do you have a VC fund backing the project? Have you partnered with any other blockchains? If so, let people know about them. Partnerships are important and show that you are actively working to build the project so it is important information for to potential investors.
Are there any mentions of you in the media?
Most companies send out press releases about upcoming milestones, product releases, partnerships, etc. Make sure that you are including these and any mentions from outside news sources on your site. Generally, companies that are creating more of a buzz in the media will be more successful when raising funds through an ICO. Investors are well aware of this so be sure this information is easy to find.
Where can the visitor find the whitepaper?
This should go without saying, but if you are looking to raise funds, you will need a well written whitepaper that outlines how the platform works, how you intend to use the funds raised, and what your go-to-market strategy looks like. This should be easily accessible to any potential investors visiting the site.
Do you have a functioning product or at least an MVP?
In the current market, having a functioning product is extremely important. In the past, it was enough to just have an idea and a whitepaper in order to get funded. Many of these companies that raised funds in the past never ended up building any kind of functioning product, so investors have become increasingly cautious of investing in an ICO that doesn’t have a product already built. Going forward, you won’t see many companies without at least a MVP able to do a successful ICO raise so make sure the potential investors are able to easily find and access your product.
Other considerations to take into account.
Creating and maintaining a professional brand for your website is very important because it is generally the first thing a potential investor will see. For this portion, it is very important to hire a professional designer to assist you with this process. It might seem like an unneeded expense in the short term, but if your site looks unprofessional, it makes your company look unprofessional.
Content is also a very important thing to consider. While you might have all of the sections above included on your site, it is important that they are easy to read and understand. A professional copywriter can be very helpful for this as they are generally able to take something your team has written and find what might not be clear to the potential investor.
Although the above information is basic, many companies running ICOs don’t follow these simple steps! However, it is also important to keep in mind that every company is different and unique so there will be certain things included on the site that might make sense for one company but not another. This guide is meant to be a starting point to build from, and shouldn’t be considered the definitive guide on building ICO websites. However, if you follow this guide, your company will be in a much better position to succeed.
If you are an early-stage company accepted into our accelerator program, we will make sure your website stands out above the crowd. Beyond cash investments, we provide the in-house workforce needed for development, growth and real-world adoption.
written by Bryan May