In our previous blog, we gave a few pointers on website design for product-based businesses. But what if your business provides a service―such as a salon, a daycare, or an accounting firm? It’s still just as critical to have an online presence, but there are differences in the approach to the design and features. Take note of these important focus areas to make sure your website is driving new customers to your service-based business!
- Build trust. Providing a service to people often involves building trustworthiness and establishing a relationship. Your website should have an “About” page that makes people feel like they know you better. Keep it personable yet professional, and include a professional headshot and any credentials or related education you’ve taken. Just remember, it’s not about telling your life story or touting your accomplishments; it’s more about relating your experience to how it can help them. Trust is also established through social proof. Encourage your satisfied clients to leave a positive review about their experience on your Facebook page, Google Business page, or Yelp.
- Detailed descriptions (with less “me” and more “you”). It’s not as easy to show photos that portray an intangible service, but you can still clearly describe what you offer. Don’t assume that people know exactly what you do or, more importantly, how it will benefit them. Do you specialize in any particular area? (For example, wedding hairstyles in a salon, or prenatal yoga in a yoga studio?) How do your services differ from what the competition offers? Always try to answer the question that your site visitors will be silently asking themselves: “What’s in it for me?“
- Online scheduling tools. If your service business is based on appointments, consultations, or classes, this is a valuable feature to consider for your website. Some people prefer to set up appointments over the phone, while others prefer to do everything online. With WordPress (the CMS we most often use for building websites), appointment-setting tools can be integrated into your website to offer this flexibility. Not only does this help automate the scheduling process, it frees up your time to focus on other business tasks.
- Local leads. Chances are, most customers of your service-based business are local―make sure your website is optimized accordingly. Think about how people use a Google search to find services near them: They’ll type in the main keyword along with the city name. So these two things should be strategically placed throughout your website (although we advise against “keyword stuffing”). Having a regularly-updated blog also gives you the opportunity to provide fresh content while building your overall number of site pages―which helps your SEO ranking in a big way. It’s worth noting that an active presence on social media is another great way to connect with a local audience and direct them to your website. In fact, social media is becoming the first place some people turn to find what they’re looking for!
- Clear contact information. This is a must-have for any website, but especially for a service-based business. Include your phone number, email address, and hours of operation on every page. An online contact form is another helpful feature which can be easily added. If you don’t make it easy for people to get in touch with you, you risk losing out on potential business.
After reading our posts about product websites and service websites, we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of how they differ (and in some cases, how they’re similar). Here at PMD, we’ve designed websites for both types of businesses. If your existing site needs an overhaul―or if you don’t have an online presence yet―we’re here to help.
What qualities do YOU look for in a website when you’re researching products and service online?