Professional service is occupation in the tertiary sector of the economy requiring special training in the arts or sciences. A professional service requires holding professional licenses such as architects, accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers.
Nowadays, as a service provider, you know the best way, sometimes the only way – to reach potential customers is online. It comes down to convenience and efficiency for these potential bookers. That’s why they prefer to schedule a service through your website instead of calling or stopping by in person. In order to keep up with your visitors’ habits (and expectations), you need to create a service based website that allows them to make bookings and accept secure payments.
The best part of it all is that you don’t have to be a fortune 500 company, hire staff, or know how to code to provide your customers with an online booking system. We’re here to show you how you can simply create one yourself – with the highest level of performance, reliability and payment safety. Here are the steps you will need in order to create an intuitive and professional service provider website for your business:
1. Lay the foundations
When it comes to the layout of your website, there are two main schools of design: the classic and the one-pager. With the classic, there are separate pages for each section of your website. This is great if you have tons of content to include by organizing every part into its own separate location. With a one-pager, each menu item leads to a different section of the same page. The advantage of this method is that it is easier to craft a story by controlling what order viewers see your content in, plus it works great on mobile versions. Recently, more and more business are opting for the latter due to its strong design and simplicity.
After you’ve selected the type of website, the most important step following is to select a website builder that meets all of your design and business needs at once.
Meet some great extension/Magento builder:
2. Brand your website
We know a lot of thought and time went into creating the look and feel behind your brand. Make sure that all those elements are carried over into your website by customizing the following elements:
Get a domain: Think of this as your address on the World Wide Web. Your domain name needs to be your business’ name and could include a keyword that is strongly associated with your biz – a must for strong SEO. Check out this insightful guide about choosing the best domain name for your site.
Add a logo: As small as it may be, your logo has a huge role to play in your business. Understanding what makes a good logo is imperative information to know before you get started. This is the visual representation customers will associate with your brand.
Define your visual language: Colors have the ability to do more than just make your site look pretty, they can evoke certain emotions within your visitors. The choice of your pallet can also play an important role in the overall performance of your site (conversion rates, time spent on page, etc.). While fonts need to be chosen based on legibility and used in a way to create hierarchy within your content. The general rule among these elements is to not use more than three of each of them.
3. Add the right pages
Now it’s time to get down to the real nitty-gritty. Think of all the content you want to include in your website and strategically decide the best way to organize it. It’s your business, so you can decide how many (and which) pages to include but these are the most crucial you should include:
Homepage: This is the first glimpse of your website that potential customers will see, so it needs to be attention-grabbing, yet informational. It should immediately draw potential clients in and answer these questions in both the visuals and words; “What’s the name of this company?” and “What services does it offer?” To ensure those questions are answered, place your business’ name and specialty front and center. Since the purpose of your site is to initiate bookings make sure you have a “book now” button (or any other version of that) placed above the fold (i.e., the top half of your website page before a user scrolls down).
The services and booking page: This is where you explain your services and include an online booking feature. Because it’s the core of your business, each service that you offer should be laid out in an intuitive, organized way that includes the service name, pricing, specialist, and availability. Don’t forget to add an enticing call-to-action for each service, like “schedule your first free class.” It’s also important to have a description of each service that persuades customers to choose your business over any of the other close competitors. With pricing, you need to make sure that you include an explanation of what the total sum includes – users will want to know where their money is going. It’s also a wise idea to offer payment options, packages, memberships, and discounts. Lastly, include an explanation of the cancellation and no-show policy, to make sure you and your clients are on the same page.
“About” page: Also referred to as “our story,” this page offers a personal description of your business. It’s a great place to include the story of who you are, from the background of your company to establishing your expertise and talking about your values and philosophy. People should be able to get a sense of the personality behind the founder of your business. As a service provider, forming relationships is the essence of acquiring and cultivating loyal clients.
Extra’s (but highly recommended):
Blog: The perfect platform to build a loyal community, produce fresh content and establish yourself as an expert. Plus, all of these efforts are great for your SEO. If words are not your thing there’s no need to panic.
The team: The point of this page is to be transparent about who you are by making it easy for visitors to get to know your staff that will be taking care of them in the future. It should include photos, a description of who they are or their expertise. In order to show some personality, you can ask each team member something fun about themselves. This could be anything from their favorite ice cream flavor to their preferred music genre.
Testimonials: The perfect place where previous, satisfied customers can sing your praises. Nothing is more impressive to a potential client than positive, unbiased reviews about your excellent service. Believe it or not, there are some customers who base their decision to book (or not book) your service solely based off reviews.
PR Coverage: If you happen to reach certain large publications, and good press for that matter, it’s worthwhile to make this a point in your website. Just like testimonials, this will add to the credibility of your services.
FAQ page: This is intuitive to your customer and efficient for you, which makes it a great addition to your website. By including an FAQ page you can provide answers to questions that may naturally come up while clients browse your site.
4. Add an online booking feature
The most crucial part of any service website is to make it possible for customers to book and pay for services online. In just minutes, you can set up an online booking feature which lists all of your services along with relevant information (specialists, duration of appointment, price, location, etc.). This will allow your customers to efficiently schedule an appointment, add it to their calendar, and receive email reminders – all without making a single phone call.
Your scheduled appointments can easily be synced with your business and customers calendars. In addition, customers are less likely to miss an appointment because they are automatically sent an alert via email. For you and your staff, you will receive real-time booking updates when your clients schedule an appointment with you. This and the rest of your clients’ information (i.e., their appointment history, contact details, birthdays, notes) can all be found in one convenient place. From both the app and your desktop version, you’ll be able to promote your services and related coupons, send invoices, and accept bookings in real-time via live chat – all with no hassle whatsoever.
5. Pay attention to SEO
Search engine optimization can sound quite daunting, but it’s actually not complicated if you follow a few simple steps. In simple terms, SEO is the practice of optimizing your site so that your pages can rank higher on search engines’ results. There are a couple of ways to boost your efforts such as: choosing the right domain name, adding alt text to your images and using the right keywords throughout your site (Make sure you take the time to read this guide on how to get your website on Google). These keywords are what customers would type in the search bar to find what they are looking for, like “hair salons near me.”
However, as a service business, the most important factor of SEO for you to focus on is your local SEO. Think of search engines as the online version of the Yellow Pages. There are a couple of actions you can take to ensure your business is associated with a geographical location in the minds of Google, Bing and Co. The first step? Sign up your business to Google My Business to put yourself on the map. For example, let’s say you are the owner of a hair salon called “Highlights Toronto”. If a potential client looking for a hairdresser searches for ‘hair salons in Toronto’ your site will have a better chance of showing up since your business “matches” the search criteria.
6. Make your website mobile-friendly
So far this year, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide has come through smartphones. This statistic is only increasing, which means that it’s crucial to make your booking services easily accessible to everyone through mobile. The biggest factors to consider when optimizing for mobile are readability and navigation.
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7. Get a second opinion
Before your site goes live with the click of the “publish” button, take the time to check that everything looks and works the way you intended. Preview your website and browse the layout, then make sure that you are proofreading again and again. You can even ask a trusted companion to look over things – the more eyes that can spot mistakes ahead of time, the better. Here’s a list of essential items to check before publishing.
8. Promote your professional service
Once you’ve published your website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your targeted audience got word of it. You will have to put some effort into promoting your site. Now before you say “this sounds expensive” hear us out. Getting your site out there doesn’t have to cost you a dime! We’ve gathered 10 effective ways to promote your website for free. Really, it’s free. A place you should always be present on are your social media channels. Particular the platforms your audience gravitates to the most.
9. Don’t rest on your laurels
Long-term success doesn’t stop when your website is complete. To achieve results and stay afloat, it’s important to constantly measure success and find opportunities to improve your business. One way to do so is by checking your analytics regularly to see how customers reacted to your newsletters and social media posts. Don’t neglect your site but rather freshen it up every once a while with new content via your blog, improved features or recent images. If you change your services, hours or team, make sure your website is updated too so that your clients have the most accurate information.