For marketing and ad agencies, PR firms, web design companies, graphic designers, interior designers, event planners, photography studios, and other brands offering creative services, building a website can feel like a lot of pressure. Not only are there so many competitors to differentiate yourself from, there’s also the need to clearly demonstrate your creativity.
Making a memorable, positive impression on site visitors starts with following some fundamental web design best practices that apply to just about any professional site. Doing so ensures your website offers a user-friendly experience that allows people to easily and efficiently get the information they want about you.
Beyond that, specific web design best practices for creative services websites help you stand out in your niche, communicate your brand message, and sell your abilities in a compelling way. Your website is often the first point of contact with potential new clients, so make sure it’s pulling its weight as a crucial marketing and conversion tool.
Tips for Designing a Great Professional Services Website
- Use brief but creative headlines on every page that send a message about your brand and speak directly to your target audience. You only get a few seconds to win visitors over. The first thing they see wherever they land on your site should reflect your creativity.
- Incorporate high-quality, engaging images—preferably original ones depicting your brand or work—at the top of every page. These are essential for catching the eye, conveying your brand message, and establishing credibility. Show things like your team in action or stunning examples of your output.
- Build an awesome portfolio page with high-quality original photos. This is probably the most important page of a creative services website. It shows off your skills, gives you credibility, and helps potential clients get a sense of whether you’d be a good fit for their needs. Keep it simple and easy to browse, and don’t get carried away with copy; let your work speak for itself.
- Place trust signals around your website. Let visitors see your degrees, accreditations, certifications, organization memberships, awards, client list, testimonials, social media following, or other assurances about your qualifications and capabilities.
- Include a page of testimonials from happy clients, and optimize testimonials to be believable and useful. These are crucial to convincing visitors that your company is creative and capable, but also focused on catering to client needs and taste, committed to delivering on time and on budget, and otherwise worthy of trust.
- Capture your brand aesthetic and personality in your website design. What’s your brand known for? Being upscale? Playful? Funny? Reverent? Bold? To sell it, convey it naturally with your copy and imagery. You’ve heard that cliché about showing not telling, right?
- Show off your team. Friendly but professional profile pictures and bios of your team members enhance credibility and foster a connection with site visitors. A staff page also lets people know you have a well-rounded group with particular areas of expertise.
- Have fun with your team members’ bios. Get a little personal and let each individual’s personality shine through. Sure, people want to know about qualifications and experience, but they want to see creativity and something engaging, not just a dull resume. Bios are a great place to give potential clients a taste of what they can expect from working with your agency.
- Make good use of your About page. Potential clients can connect strongly to a creative brand’s story. Talk about how and why you got started in your industry, your inspiration, your creative philosophy, what drives you, and so on.
- Highlight any area of special focus or extensive experience. Carving out a niche is an effective way to appeal to particular clients and market yourself. Often, a dedicated page is a good idea.
- If you have distinctly different audiences or services that are usually bought on their own, have dedicated landing pages on your site for each. This facilitates marketing and helps visitors find exactly what they want without getting distracted by irrelevant content.
- Establish a blog and regularly publish original informative—not sales-oriented—content in it. It’s a perfect way to show off your expertise and creativity, and to show your generosity. Give people ideas and help them solve common problems related to what you do. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, offers some guidance to people planning a wedding. If they like what you say, they may just turn to you. Plus, this improves your website’s SEO and creates opportunities for backlinks and social media shares to increase your targeted traffic.
- Make it easy for visitors to talk to you via a Contact page that’s quick and easy to find. Potential customers have questions they need answered before deciding to hire you. Give them a direct phone number, email address, and contact form on your site that they can use to get those answers promptly.
- Use your website to build a newsletter mailing list. Use your blog content as incentive for people to give you their email addresses and place sign-up calls to action on each page.
- Optimize your website for local search. Many creative services agencies work exclusively or primarily with local clients. But even for those that work with a broader network, clients shopping for creative services often prefer a local provider. Mention your location here and there in your website copy (especially in headlines), use your blog to publish locally focused content, get listed in these online directories, and make sure your contact and other business information is listed correctly and consistently on the web.