We work with a lot of small to medium sized businesses. Among those are lawyers, accountants, payroll service companies, home improvement, and many other professional service providers. As part of our routine, we always ask “What do you want out of your website?”.
The answer usually goes something like this:
“I want a website that's easy to navigate, looks good, and makes it easy for my clients to contact me.”
While that sounds like common sense (why would you want a hard to use website?), a few things are often overlooked, so I put together a quick guide:
1. Make it easy to “get” what you do within seconds of arriving at your homepage. All it takes is a short sentence or appropriate graphics. Try to incorporate this phrase into <title> and/or <h1> tags. Not only does it help users identify what you're about, it also identifies relevant keywords for search engines. An example would be, “San Diego based tutoring company specializing in high school and college students” or “Website and print design firm located in the heart of the historic Gaslamp District.“
2. Use either a horizontal navigation bar going across your site or a vertical one along the left side. These are the most common locations for site navigation and the average user is trained to look there.
3. Make it easy to contact you. Unless you're selling an online service, the end goal of your site should be to have the visitor call, email, or visit your location. The top right of the page is usually a good spot to have your phone number or a “contact” button. If you have a page about a specific service you offer, include a call to action at the bottom of the page. For example, “Call 619-955-6995 or contact us today to learn how a content management system can simplify your website updates.“
4. Structure for growth. Chances are you plan on growing your business over the next few years. That means your website should grow along with you. When considering the layout for your site, leave areas that can be updated or expanded. Plan for expandable menus (drop down style like a typical desktop application menu bar).
5. Make updating a breeze with a CMS. There's dozens of high quality content management systems that make adding and updating content almost as simple as writing an email. The best part is some of the best ones are open source (in other words FREE) so there's no license fees to worry about.
With these five tips, you should be able to get started on a website for your service based business.
If you'd like some professional advice, we'd be happy to talk to you about your project or answer any questions you may have. Just use our contact form or give us a call at 619-955-6995.