Do you own or manage a service based business? If so, then you probably already know just how vital your website is to the success of your business. Even if you don’t sell products, your website is your brand’s virtual storefront. It’s where potential clients go to learn about your business’ values, history, and services. A good website also provides proof of your brand’s expertise in the form of your portfolio and testimonials.
A website that fails to confirm your expertise and authority in your niche will fail to woo your ideal clients. As a solo web designer who primarily designs service based business websites, I am well acquainted with the ins and outs of an effective website within this niche. As I inform my clients, an effective website for a service based business needs the following 5 pages, apart from the homepage: About, Services, Portfolio, Contact, and Blog. Below, I’ll explain why each page is essential.
All too often, the importance of the about page is overlooked. However, for a service based business website, this page is valuable real estate for touting your brand’s background, knowledge, and mission. This is especially true for personal brands and solo business owners such as myself.
An effective about page should include each of the following:
- A headshot, ideally taken by a professional photographer.
- A brief summary of your educational background, if it will help qualify your expertise.
- Your mission statement–share why you do what you do, not just what you do.
- A brief description of your niche. Let your ideal clients know that your services are tailored exactly to their needs.
- A list of accolades, publications, or speaking events, if applicable.
- Easy ways to get in touch, i.e. a contact form and links to your social media channels.
In addition to the above, try to infuse a touch of your personality into your about page, especially if you’re in a creative industry. People want to work with other people, not robots. Check out Cass Lane at Wild Spirit Co for a great example of an effective and engaging about page.
The importance of the services page on a service based business website goes without saying. There are a number of different ways to approach this page. Should you list or prices or nah? Should you create an individual page for each service? Packages or hourly rates? In truth, there’s no right or wrong answer to these questions, however they are worth exploring.
Think about what your ideal clients would want to see on your services page. This page is about them, not you. You need to instruct them on the value of your services because while this may seem intuitive to you, it may not be for them. Another good rule of thumb is to include a breakdown of your process, especially if you offer comprehensive service packages with a lot of moving parts.
Personally, I prefer to wrap up my services into packages with fixed fees. You can view my services page here to see what I mean. This setup serves a couple key purposes: 1) I provide options with a clear outline of the included deliverables, so prospects can pick and choose the best fit for their needs, timeline, and budget; and 2) I quickly weed out any prospects that aren’t willing or able to budget for my rates.
If you’re in a service industry, then you must have a portfolio to show off to prospects. A portfolio is mostly visual and should highlight only your best work. In my book, it’s better to display a few, high quality projects than a multitude of mediocre projects.
Portfolios are not just important for designers and photographers–if your service is not visual (i.e. coaching or consulting), consider your portfolio page your testimonials page. All service based businesses should share testimonials, but they are especially important if you don’t have a traditional portfolio to share. To generate the most impact with your testimonials, ask your star clients (the most ideal of your ideal clients) to create video testimonials, which are more engaging than paragraphs of text.
Feel free to check out my branding and web design portfolio for inspiration here.
Make it easy for your website visitors to get in touch with you. I recommend having a contact form in multiple places on your website. For example, I have one on my services and about pages in addition to my contact page. You may also consider adding one into your footer or blog sidebar. Regardless, it’s considered good practice to have a separate contact page that serves no other purpose than inviting users to contact you. That means, don’t distract with irrelevant images, links, or text.
If your business is location based, then you should include additional info such as your address (with or without an embedded map) and hours of operation. You should also list your email and phone number if those are appropriate ways to get in touch with you. Someone may want to jot down your info and get in touch at a later time. But always include a simple contact form, which invites users to reach out to you immediately, while your brand and stunning portfolio are still fresh in their minds.
You can take a peek at my simple, no-fluff contact page here.
Lastly, I invite every service based business to include a blog on their website. You can read in more detail about why I recommend blogging here. To summarize, blogging, if done well, will accomplish the following for your brand:
- Increase organic reach via SEO (search engine optimization).
- Establish you/your brand as an authority in your niche. See what I’m doing here?
- Provide consistent content that you can share in newsletters in order to increase engagement among your email subscribers.
- Provide quality, long-form content that you can break up into bite-size chunks and repurpose on your social media channels.
- Give you something to pin about on Pinterest and thus drive more organic traffic to your site.