09/03/2022Back To All Insights
Build a Powerful Website for Professional Services | A Website Audit Checklist
As a professional services firm, your website is one of your most important assets. It’s the first place potential clients go to learn more about you, and the last place you want to lose them.
Your website must be up to par with your competitors; you don’t want to lose a potential client because your website looks unprofessional. From the design to the content, everything on your website matters. For professional services firms especially it's vital that your web presence is high quality and well considered. There can be a danger that if your website is outdated that it could be interpreted that your service offering is outdated too.
But how do you know if your website measures up? What standards should you be held to? In this blog post, we discuss the key things you need to consider when reviewing your professional services website. We’ll also provide a handy checklist that you can use as a guide!
Your Online Presence is Your First Impression
It goes without saying; your website is a crucial part of your online presence. In fact, it’s often the first impression potential clients will have of your business. You will be judged on your website’s design, usability, content, social media pages, online reviews, and trade directories.
According to a survey conducted by Constant Contact, 75% of consumers admit to making judgments of a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design. With this in mind, it’s important to consider what you want from your website.
While most aim for lead-generating sites that work for the firm, it’s important to remember that your website can’t work alone. You’ll also need a well-optimised Google My Business listing, social media presence, and online reviews in order to maximise your online presence.
Professional Services Websites - Your Theme
For professional services websites, there are two running themes; brochure websites, and funnel websites.
Brochure websites are those that talk to the reader, regardless of where they are in their buying cycle. Funnel websites, on the other hand, target those who are looking for the help they need instantaneously. Most users require the second, as they are usually looking for a solution to their problem, and don’t have much time to waste.
It’s essential to be clear, specific, and concise, as well as to target your audience correctly. You don’t want to spend time and resources on a website that won’t convert leads.
Professional Business Website - Before You Get Started
Before you start building (or revamping) your professional services website, it’s important to do your research. You need to understand what your target audience is looking for, as well as what your competitors are doing right (and wrong). In addition, you should also have a clear idea of your brand identity and what you want your website to achieve.
Here are our top tips to keep in mind before you get started:
● Audit your site - When was the last time you audited your website? You need to make sure that everything is up-to-date, from your design to your content. There are plenty of useful tools out there that can help you with this, like Neil Patel’s or SEMrush. All you have to do is insert your website URL, and let the tool work its magic. The results should give you a clear idea of what areas need improvement, as well as what you’re doing well.
● Use a website provider that understands professional services - Not all website providers are created equal. When you’re looking for a provider, make sure that they understand the needs of professional services firms. Use an open-source software that can be moved from the particular web agency if required in the future. Also, keep in mind that a CMS system is always beneficial, so you can do the updates yourself if needed.
● Design for mobile-first - In 2022, it’s more important than ever to design for mobile-first. More people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the web than ever before. If you lack a mobile-friendly design, you’re likely losing out on leads and sales.
● Make sure your website is fast - A slow website is not only frustrating to use, but it’s also bad for your business. Google has confirmed that page speed is a ranking factor for their search engine. This means that if your website takes too long to load, you’re likely to rank lower in the search results. In addition, a slow website will also dissuade potential leads from using your services.
● Your content must be high quality - The content on your website needs to be well-written, informative, and relevant to your target audience. It should also be keyword-optimised so that you can rank higher in the search results. If you’re not a skilled writer, we recommend hiring a professional copywriter to help you with this.
● Your website should be easy to navigate - A well-designed website should be easy to navigate. All your pages should be accessible from the homepage, and there should be a clear hierarchy. Users should be able to find what they’re looking for within a few clicks. If your website is challenging to use, you will likely lose potential leads.
Ready, Set, Build!
Now that you know what to keep in mind before you get started, it’s time to start building your website. Here, we outline the key things you need to know in order to create a powerful professional services website.
Know Your Audience
Before you start building your website, you need to understand your target audience. What are their needs and pain points? What kind of content are they looking for? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can start creating content that appeals to them.
Use the empty chair technique and put your ideal target client in that chair, then go on to address the issues they have. Ensure your website content addresses the challenges or problems they are trying to solve, rather than the solution.
Readers want to see that you understand their challenge and are emphatic towards it. But you don’t only have to address one type of audience. In fact, you can have multiple, especially when it comes to a sector or niche focus. This is not only an advantageous approach for your professional business website, but also how you look at business development as a whole.
Your website is a reflection of your brand, so it’s essential to get it right. First, you need to decide on a color scheme and design that reflects your brand identity. Then, you need to make sure the copy on your website is in line with your brand voice.
If your branding is already set in stone, then ask yourself the following questions:
● Is it outdated?
● Does it work with your audiences?
● Does it look appropriate to your target audiences and clients?
● What’s core to how your firm operates, your values, how you work?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start updating your website to reflect your new branding. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend hiring branding experts to help you create a cohesive brand identity.
Snap the Perfect Team Shot
People like working with people they know, so it’s important to include a photo of your team on your website. This helps build trust and credibility with potential clients. Dont limit your website to just photography, think about video too. Once well produced it's a great way to illustrate key points so good for user experience and a vital ingredient for SEO.
When uploading biographies, make sure to include a visual of each team member as well as their name, title, and contact information. If you have a large team, we recommend creating an “Our Team” page where potential clients can learn more about the people they’ll be working with.
Working shots are always good as they show you and your team in action. But if these aren’t available, professional headshots are a great alternative. Just try to avoid stock photos, as they often look fake and unprofessional.
Use LinkedIn to Boast Expertise and Social Proof
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for promoting your brand and attracting new clients, but it's also fantastic for social proof. By displaying your team’s credentials and endorsements on LinkedIn, you can show potential clients that you’re experts in your field.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, we recommend creating one as soon as possible. You can also include client testimonials, case studies, and media mentions on your website to boost your credibility further. This tells the client that you are well respected in your industry and have the experience to back up your claims.
List Clear Sectors or Niches
It’s important to keep in mind that readers won’t always come to your site from the home page, so clear sectors are wise and allow you the opportunity to share your expertise and insight. Trends need to reach readers, and the site must be a valuable resource of interesting and thoughtful articles.
Sector pages are an opportunity to deep-dive into a particular area of law, engineering, architecture, accountancy, etc., that you want to focus on. As a result, you can control how the website is perceived and highlight areas of strength. Try to keep your sector pages updated with new content on a regular basis, as this will help improve your website’s search engine ranking.
Insights and News
When it comes to professional services, timely insights and news are paramount. Your website should be a source of industry-specific information that potential clients can use to make informed decisions. This means your content needs to be well researched and accurate.
It’s also always a good idea to write about any challenges your clients are currently facing. Google loves sites that publish fresh content, so try to post new articles, blog posts, or white papers regularly. In addition, don’t shy away from posting insights and news on your social accounts, Google my business listings, and email newsletters.
Turn the volume up on your posts by using images, video, and infographics. People are more likely to share visually appealing content, and it can help you stand out from the competition.
Clear and Easy Call to Actions
Every page on your website should have a clear and straightforward call to action (CTA). This is the button or link that encourages readers to take the next step, whether it’s downloading a white paper, signing up for your email newsletter, or contacting you for more information.
CTAs need to be well-designed and eye-catching, as they’ll be the driving force behind website conversions. So make sure they’re placed prominently on each page, and that they stand out from the rest of your content.
Your CTA should also be relevant to the page it’s on. For example, if you’re writing about a particular service you offer, your CTA should be for that service. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many businesses make the mistake of having generic CTAs that don’t actually encourage website visitors to take action.
In addition to the above, always try to answer the following question in strategically placed CTA’s:
● Where are you? - Place a google map link
● When are you available? - List your hours
● How to contact you? - List email, phone, and links to social presence
Think Beyond the Site
Your website should be just one part of your overall digital marketing strategy. In order to attract and convert more leads, you need to think beyond the site. Imagine your professional business website is on the top floor of a gigantic shopping center with little passing traffic; how do you get people up to your floor?
You need a plan that encompasses search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising. Each of these channels can be used to drive traffic to your professional services website and increase conversions.
The key is to create a well-rounded strategy that’s tailored to your specific business. For example, if you’re a law firm, your SEO efforts should focus on ranking for law-related keywords. And if you’re an architecture firm, then your social media strategy should be focused on promoting visual content that showcases your work.
Review Review Review!
Check how you are doing using google analytics, get a professional to review your website, and keep on top of the industry changes.
Google Analytics is a free tool that gives you insights into how people are using your website. It can be used to track website visits, page views, and conversions. In addition, it provides information on which pages are being visited most often, and where visitors are coming from.
This data can be used to help you improve your website’s performance and increase conversions. For example, if you notice that most of your visitors come from a particular country, you may want to focus on targeting that market with your marketing efforts.
To get the most out of Google Analytics, you need to set up conversion tracking. This will allow you to track how many website visitors are converting into leads or customers. If you’re not sure how to use Google Analytics, plenty of online tutorials and guides are available. Or, you can hire a professional to help you set it up and interpret the data.
Your Free Website Audit Checklist
At Marketing Clever, we love helping professional service businesses generate more leads and sales from their websites. We understand that not everyone is a marketing expert, which is why we’ve created this free website audit checklist.
This website checklist will help you identify potential areas for improvement on your site, so you can make the necessary changes to increase traffic and conversions. To get started, simply download our free website requirements checklist today.Click here for your Professional Services Website Checklist...
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: professional services websites need to be well-
designed and packed with valuable content in order to be successful. By following the tips and advice above, you can set your site up for success and start attracting more leads in no time.
If you’re unsure where to start, then head over to our website and check out our blog for more tips on website design and digital marketing. Marketing Clever offers practical and commercial marketing advice. Whether you need help with your website, SEO, social media, or anything in between, we are here to help.
At Marketing Clever, we're passionate about helping professional services firms to grow and succeed.
Get in touch today for a free consultation, and let us show you how we can help you reach your target audience.