For a professional services firm or practice, it can be hard to decide what your website should look like. Whether you’re an accountant, financial advisor, investment manager, lawyer, IT consultant, or other type of professional service provider, it’s tricky to figure out how to stand out from competitors while retaining the appropriate professionalism and trustworthiness you want to convey. That’s where web design best practices for professional services websites come in.
In addition to following general web design best practices, meeting user expectations and delivering what people want to see—consciously and subconsciously—helps ensure your site makes a positive impression. Remember, your website is often your first introduction to your potential clients.
Adhere to the web design best practices for professional services websites below, and your site will function as a powerful sales and marketing tool.
Tips for Designing a Great Professional Services Website
- Focus on how you solve your clients’ pain points. While it’s important to identify your services and specialties, most visitors probably arrive with a general idea of what you do. Use copy and images that—to use a classic marketing maxim—convey benefits over features.
- Use professional, friendly profile pictures of leaders and staff. Consumers don’t shop for professional services; they shop for professional service providers—as in, the people at the company. Show yourselves, and look like the sort of people who others want to work with.
- Incorporate trust signals prominently on your site. Trust is always important for any brand, but it’s even more front-and-center on people’s minds when they’re looking for professional services, when things like their money, health, or jobs are often on the line.
- Use testimonials as one of your website’s trust signals. And be sure to properly optimize your testimonials for maximum impact. Very little can help sell your professional services like recommendations from people or organizations that have used them.
- Accentuate your specialties. If you have extra credentials or experience in a particular niche of your industry, advertise it proudly on your site. When a professional service provider becomes known for work in a focused area, it reliably provides a boost in referrals and business.
- Build in some personality! Professional service agencies—and their websites—have a reputation for being a little on the dull side. But they don’t have to be; you and your people have plenty of personality, so let it shine through! Again, people aren’t shopping for, say, exciting tax services… they’re shopping for great people to get those services from.
- Tell your story on your About page. One more time: it’s about your people, not just what year you were founded and a generic statement about your dedication to quality service. Talk about who you are, why you do what you do, and how you help your clients. Be personable and professional, and this is a prime opportunity to address number 6 above.
- Write engaging bios. This goes along with the above two entries as well. This is usually part of the About page. The bios shouldn’t read like a CV. They should show each individual’s personality and make them relatable as a human being. While education, credentials, and experience are important, so is the stuff that makes each person who they are.
- Skip the stock photos. Stock images are a powerful way to make your website look like every other website in your industry. Invest in some high-quality photos of your people, your workplace, or other relevant subjects to add visual interest and make your brand stand out.
- Build a library of helpful content. Show your expertise and generosity by providing information your visitors are likely curious about. With well-written, useful articles or blog posts, you can make your site and your brand a valued resource for existing and potential clients. It’s also an effective way to distinguish yourself from the competition and continuously improve your SEO.
- Make it quick and easy to get in touch with you. Put a Contact page in your top-level navigation. There, users should find a simple, easy-to-use web contact form with minimal fields to fill out, as well as a phone number and email address. Don’t lose interested parties by making them work to contact you.
- Include a Portfolio page to show off your work when applicable. Architects, engineers, web designers, writers, and other professional service providers who demonstrate their abilities with a look at completed projects are much more likely to be contacted by incoming online leads.
- Make sure your website is modern, clean, and mobile responsive. Dated-looking sites don’t instill confidence that a brand is current, tech-savvy, trustworthy, and invested in its reputation. But these are qualities people like in their professional service firms or practices.
- Stay away from technical jargon. Your industry has its own language, but most people who want your services don’t speak it. It doesn’t make you sound impressive; it makes you sound boring and maybe even hard to understand. Talk like a lay person to your visitors, who want to know that working with you will be an easy, informative process.
- Make landing pages for individual services and/or audiences. This helps you target your social media marketing and online ads, and it’s good for your SEO. And they’ll be far more effective at turning leads into sales than generic pages without a well-honed message and call to action.