How to Create a Professional Service Based Website for Your Business
As a service provider you know the best way to reach potential customers is online. It is convenient for your potential clients and often the most efficient way to book services. To keep up with your visitors expectations you need a service based website that allows them to make bookings and accept secure payments.
You don't need to know how to code or hire internal staff to produce an online booking system. We're here to do it for you. We can design a beautiful well functioning website, and talk you through which booking and payment systems will work best for you. We take care of it all so you can get on and do the thing you're good at, running your business.
How we go about creating a professional service based website:
1. The foundations
The first step to take is deciding the type of layout you need. There is the classic or one-pager. The classic has multiple pages which is great if you have lots of content, whereas the one-pager is just that, one page with everything you want to say on it which is better suited to companies who only need to provide a small amount of information. The one-pager still has a menu which will take your visitor to an area on that page, whereas the classics menu takes you to new pages. If you are going to invest in SEO further down the line, then a multiple page website would be a better choice.
The next step is deciding what you want your website to be able to do. Store customer details, store services they have booked, email and newsletter capabilities, SEO features or a diary system. We have a standard content manager (CMS) that can be customised to match your business requirements. We will also design a bespoke site or provide you with a template design and alter it so it is unrecognisable and looks unique. We take care of it all for you, you simply have to approve the design.
We know a lot of time and thought goes into creating the look and feel behind your brand. We make sure all of those elements are brought alive in your website, with your domain name, logo and visual language.
- Domain name: Your domain name is your business address on the internet. It should be made up of your business name and can include a keyword or location; this will help with SEO. Check out our guide about choosing a domain name. DRA takes care of registering your domain name on your behalf.
- Logos: Your logo is the visual representative of your company that can easily be recognised by your customers. It needs to be included on your website so customers can instantly see they are on the right site.
- Visual language: This includes colours, fonts, photos and artwork. Colours play an important role in evoking emotions, whereas fonts make it easier to read and create a hierarchy within your content. Check out our article Is colour important in website design to find out more.
3. Adding the right pages to a classic design
It's your business, so you get to decide how many pages your website needs. Listed below are some of the most crucial and a few optional extras to help you make that decision.
- Homepage: This is usually the first page potential customers will see, it will certainly have the highest number of visitors when compared to other pages on your website. Your home page has to be attention grabbing, yet informational. It needs to draw the client in and answer their questions in photos, artwork and words. The basic questions to be answered are; ''What's the name of this company?'' and ''What services does it offer?''. Business name and speciality need to be front and centre, then start answering clients questions while leading them to a booking form. Ideally the booking form should always be towards the top of your page.
- The services and booking page: This is where you explain your services and place your booking feature. It has to be laid out in an intuitive, organised manner. It should include the name of your service, pricing and availability. A description of each service will persuade customers to choose you over your competitors. And to make it a bit easier include a call-to-action which can be as simple as 'Register'. When including pricing, an explanation of what is included in the total sum is important. Lastly, cancellation and no-show policies should be clearly displayed.
- About page: The about page used to be a very simple description about the business, but now companies prefer to tell their story from the founders start to where they are now and their vision for their future. This really helps potential clients sense the personality behind the business, which is a very important way of acquiring loyal clients.
- Contact page: This should include phone numbers, email, social media accounts, a contact form and any other way a client can contact you, it's a good idea to also include opening times, and response times to forms and emails. Contact information can also be found in the website footer (bottom of the page).
Here's the Extras
- Blog: If you want to establish yourself as a expert in your field then a blog is a great platform for this. It helps your SEO, link building as well as building relationships with your clients. Read our blog understand why you are creating content for your website.
- Meet the team: This is all about transparency, it makes it easier for visitor to get to know who they will be working with. Meet the team pages include photos, description of expertise and sometimes personal interests.
- Customer reviews: Some customers base their decision to book your service solely based on your reviews. Why wouldn't you want a page that shares your customers unbiased positive reviews about your service.
- FAQ page: If you find a large percentage of your customers are asking the same questions, put the answers on a FAQ page which should satisfied your potential client as well as saving you some time with customer queries.
4. Online Booking Features
A crucial part of a service website is to make it easy for customers to book and pay for your services online. You may already know which booking system you want to use, but we can advice you and guide you through the minefield of software available to you, we also take care of installation and getting it working with your website.
Online booking systems allow for individual or group bookings, package deals, customer calendars that email customers so they don't miss an appointment, appointment history, contact details, birthdays, celebrations and notes. They can usually be managed from your desktop or an app, you'll be able to send coupons, send invoices and accept bookings in real-time.
5. Don't ignore SEO
SEO is simply the practice of optimising your web pages so the search engines can understand what they are about, this in turn helps your website rank higher within the search engine results. In itself it is a full time job, you just need to make the decision are you going to invest your time doing it, or have someone like us do it for you.
Here are a couple of essential articles you should read if you want a better understanding of why SEO is important:
- What is digital marketing
- Understanding search engine optimisation and why businesses need it
- What is SEO and how does it help your online business
- 9 Simple ways to optimise your website for lead generation
- How can I increase traffic to my website
- What to do if your website traffic is down
- Why is great SEO expensive
- How to choose a good SEO company
6. Make your website mobile-friendly
The mobile milestone has finally been hit, more people use a mobile device to visit a website then a desktop. However, more people still make their bookings on a desktop, which I'm sure will change in the near future. Google has already announced they will list mobile friendly websites first, so instead of having to redesign for mobile in the near future, decide to have a design that fits all mobile devices and desktops.
7. Promote your services
It's not enough to publish a website, you need to tell people about it. Get it listed in reputable free directories such as Thomson Local, Yell and Google My Business. It doesn't take long to set up and it's free. Engage on social media and let everyone know your website has been launched, you only need to participate in platforms where your audience are which may only be Facebook or Instagram.
Do implement SEO and create content for blogs. You may not want to put the effort into building links with other businesses, but at least blogging will attract the influencers and other reputable businesses who will link to you because your content is so great.
8. No rest for the wicked
To stay afloat you will constantly have to measure your success and find opportunities to improve your business. We install analytics for you so you can see how your customers react to your website and where they come from.
Don't neglect your site either, give it a refresh every so often such as using seasonal celebrations to give it a Christmas or Easter feel. Update improved features or recent images, add new blogs. Every couple of years you may need to do a complete redesign to keep up with current trends and new coding practices. An online business can be as busy as the high street used to be, when your online presence is spot on.