Creating a website for your service business is a big job, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you plan the pages you want, draft your copy, and gather important information ahead of time, your site will come together more quickly and easily – and you’ll probably enjoy the process of creating it more, too. We've helped a range of service-based businesses — from dentists to video editors and from interior designers to investors — level-up their web presence. This article will show you how to prepare materials for your service business website or portfolio.
1. Home page
Your home page is always a good place to dive in — it's the most commonly viewed site so make sure to orienting visitors quickly. Use this space to give visitors an overview of what you do and how you can help them. Keep your copy brief and benefits-focused, giving them a high level overview of what's available on the site. You can save the details for other sections of your site, like your services page.
Pay particular attention to your headline. A great headline is focused, specific, and highlights your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – the quality that makes your business uniquely helpful or important. As the first thing your visitors see, your home page headline is one of the most important elements of your site, so take the time to get it right.
2. About page
It might seem like a page you can ignore, but about pages are typically one of the most commonly clicked pages. Your about page should give visitors more information about who you are. Some good points to touch on include your education and past experience, as well as the history of your business. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through! A friendly, personable tone is usually better than a stiff, formal one.
About pages are notoriously difficult to write. If you’re feeling tongue-tied, try shifting your focus onto the client. Think about what your clients need, and highlight the ways your experience and qualifications help you meet those needs.
Your services page is the place to go into detail about what you do and answer questions that visitors might have. Make a list of all the different services you offer, the types of clients you usually work with, and the situations when people most often hire you. Then give some thought to how you want to present this information. Lists with bullet points and headings are a good option, since they’re easy to scan. Charts are another good choice, since they make it easy to compare various services.
You can list your prices or create packages on your services page, but you don’t have to. Do what makes the most sense for your business.
4. Portfolio or case studies
The best way to show potential customers what you can do for them is to show them what you’ve already done for others. If you’re planning to create a portfolio page, start gathering links, images, or PDFs that reflect some of the best work you’ve done in the past. If you’re writing case studies, make sure your potential clients will find them relatable and easy to follow. Get specific about the problems your past clients had, how you approached them, and how your clients’ results improved with your help.
As you take on more projects and gain experience, your portfolio will change. Create an easy-to-duplicate template for your example work now, so that updating your page will be quick and simple in the future.
5. Testimonials and Trust
To win visitors’ trust, don’t sell your own services too hard – let your past clients do it for you. Get into the habit of collecting testimonials from happy clients after you finish a project with them. To keep it simple (and ensure you get useful feedback), you might want to create a form or template for this. In addition, keep track of any other authority-building details you want to use later, such as press mentions or famous clients you worked with.
Before you create your website, decide which testimonials you want to feature. Choose the ones that emphasize the benefits your clients got from working with you – these will be most convincing to potential new clients. Think about whether you want to make a dedicated page for testimonials, or just place them on your home page or services page.
6. Contact Page
The copy on your contact page should encourage an interested visitor to go ahead and get in touch with you. You may want to include something like a list of your qualifications or a summary of the benefits a client can expect when they work with you. If you’re using a contact form, think about which fields you want to include.
7. Additional Contact Options
Make it as easy as possible for people to reach out to you by including a variety of contact options on your website. Providing your phone number and email address will increase visitors’ trust in you, even if most people still opt to use your contact form. In fact, you may want to include your phone and email contact information in your site’s header or footer, so visitors can find it on every page.
Consider which, if any, online communication tools you want to use on your site. If you frequently chat with potential clients via phone or Skype, you can automate the process by embedding an appointment scheduling system like Calendly or Acuity on your contact page. You can also use live chat software, like Intercom or Drift, to talk with visitors and answer their questions in real time.
8. Your Blog
Blogging can be great for your business, but it also requires a long-term investment of time, money, or both. Think carefully about whether blogging is right for you before you create your website. It’s often better to avoid blogging altogether than to start a blog and then abandon it.
If you do decide to blog, make sure your plan is sustainable. Think about whether you want to write your own posts or hire a writer, and map out a publishing schedule that’s reasonable for you. You may even want to line up several posts ahead of time, so you’re not scrambling to fill an empty blog when your site goes live.
9. Social Media
If you’re already marketing your business on social media, it may be a good idea to integrate those platforms into your website. You could make your blog posts shareable with social media buttons, for instance, or include your Twitter feed in a sidebar. Take into account which platforms your target audience prefers, so you’ll be able to connect with them most easily.
10. Mailing List
A mailing list is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have in your arsenal. If you’re planning on creating one, don’t wait – plan your strategy now, so you can start collecting email addresses as soon as your site is up and running.
There are several steps to building a mailing list. First, decide which email marketing provider you want to use. Constant Contact and Mail Chimp are two popular options. Next, think about where you want to place your opt-in forms on your website. You can embed them in a sidebar or the body of a page, or you can use a tool like OptinMonster to capture leads before they leave your site.
Finally, think about what incentive you’ll provide to get people to sign up for your mailing list. Tried-and-true options include a discount, online course, ebook, or white paper. Create your incentive now, so it will be ready to use when your site launches.
Creating your website is only half the battle – the other half is maintaining it. Give some thought to how you’ll keep your web presence up-to-date as time goes by. If boosting your search engine visibility is part of your long-term plan, create a schedule for publishing new content marketing materials like blog posts.
Even if you’re planning to use mostly evergreen materials on your site, it’s still important to do regular maintenance checks. Once or twice a year, review your site and make sure it represents your business accurately. Upload new photos, tweak your layout and design to keep it looking fresh, and update your copy to reflect any changes that have occurred in your field.