So you started your own design business and things haven’t been going quite the way you had hoped. You’re constantly getting bombarded with the same questions over and over again, you’re not getting as many inquiries as you had hoped, and when you send your prices to potential clients they vanish.
I hate to tell you this, but that beautiful website you created for your business might just be to blame! Unfortunately, it’s because it’s so easy to forget who you’re making your website for and what they need to see on it. Heck, it’s also easy to forget a few things when you’re setting up your website and never get back around to adding them.
So today I wanted to share 5 must-haves for your design business website to help make things easier on you and your clients. This list is great regardless of if you’re building your site for the first time or if you just need to go back and revise a few things.
A tagline that clearly says what you do + who for
Have you ever landed on someone’s website and you’re instantly confused at exactly what it is they do? Are they a content writer? Or a virtual assistant? Wait… they also do design?! You might look around for a little bit, but if you can’t figure out what it is they do and how they could help you, then you’re most likely going to just close their website and go to the next one.
If you’re not clear about what you do and who you do it for, your website visitors could be doing this exact thing. You don’t want them to have to guess what you do. Instead, you want to include a tagline on your site that clearly says you’re a designer. However, don’t just leave it there. If you specialize in creating wedding invites or branding, let them know that, and then take it one step further by letting them know who you do it for.
A great place to include this on your website is in your header because this is the first thing potential clients will see when they visit your site. However, if you’d prefer to have a different call-to-action there, that’s okay! You can include a few sentences below your header on your Home page so that the information isn’t lost.
A portfolio that shows off work you want to do more of
Do you ever get inquiries for work similar to what you’ve done in the past that you no longer enjoy doing? Maybe you designed a couple of websites for mom blogs, and since then your niche has shifted? If so, take a look at your portfolio. Are you still showing those projects and similar ones off? That may be why you’re still getting those kinds of inquiries.
You want your portfolio to show off work that you enjoy doing and want to do more of. This means that when you’re updating your portfolio (which you should be doing regularly, by the way) you want to make sure you’re including projects that not only show off what you can do but show the type of work you really want to be doing more of. So, if spent your first few years in business designing websites but now you only do branding, make sure your portfolio reflects this.
On the flip side, when you’re just getting started, sometimes it’s better to show off a few extra projects than to have nothing in your portfolio. However, the rule still applies. Show off your favorite projects on the top of the page, and make sure you’re being very clear about what kind of projects you want to take on. Then, as you grow your business, remember to keep going back and removing from your portfolio what is no longer a great representation of what you want to do.
Services that clearly say what a client will receive
This should be a big ol’ obvious one, friends. If you are offering services to people, then you need to clearly explain them. What are they paying you for exactly? What will your client walk away from the project with? For example, if you’re a wedding invite designer, will you order the prints for them?
If you’re not being clear about what it is your clients will get from working with you, then why would they want to book your services? The best thing to do here is to include a list of what your clients will get. So, if you’re a brand designer, list out if you’re clients get a secondary logo, business card designs, and revisions, for example. When they know they’ll get what they need from you, they’ll be more likely to inquire to learn more!
Another thing to think about here is if you’re describing your services or packages with industry jargon. For example, on previous versions of my Services page, I’ve listed that development is not included in my website design packages. During that time almost every single inquiry for that service I got was someone asking what that meant. Our peers may understand the word, but keep in mind that you’re creating your website for your clients not your peers.
Testimonials from your previous happy clients
When I’m thinking about hiring someone for the first time, one thing I’m looking for on their site is testimonials. I want to know if other people saw results after working with this person, if they loved the process, and if they left the project happier and more confident. Without a doubt, potential design clients want to know this as well.
So, show off those quotes from happy clients around your website. You obviously want to put testimonials on your Services page, but you can also include a few on your Home page. Another thing you can do is to create a page, like this, specifically for testimonials from your previous clients. It may seem like a bit much, but people who are considering working with you will look at this page and make their decision to move forward or not.
That means if you’re not already collecting testimonials when your project wraps up, now is the time to start. Add a task to your to do list to follow up a week or two after the project is finished. This will let you check in on how the client is doing and also ask for a testimonial.
A contact / intake form for inquiries
Do you get a lot of inquiries that you then have to follow up on with a ton more questions about their project before even deciding if you want to take it? Maybe they told you that they wanted to work with you, but then you have to ask them which service they’re interested in, what their budget is, what all they actually need to have done, and over the course of all of those questions you have to send about 3 extra emails to get it all out of them. If that’s the case, your contact form is working against you, not for you.
When you’re creating your contact form, ask questions that will help you get as much information as possible upfront. Don’t wait to ask them their budget in the next email because if they can’t afford your services, then you’ve wasted an extra email on someone who you’ll be referring elsewhere. If nothing else, at least get enough information that will let you decide right away whether or not you want the project.
If you’re worried about scaring off people who want to email you general questions or want to interview you, for example, then it may be a good idea to create two different forms. Send your potential clients to an inquiry form and have a more general contact form on the Contact page. However, if you do it this way, make sure you include a note that potential clients should fill out the other form because there will always be a few people who miss that link on your Services page.
Having these things on your website will ease your stress
I know it can be hard to find the time to update our websites when we all have a ton of things on our to do lists, but when you take the extra time to make sure your website is working better for you instead of against you, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of time but you’ll also stress way less.
If you want to make sure that your website is working as best as it can for you, be sure to click below to sign up for my free website checklist. It has all five of these things and more that you should have on your site to help you gain more clients with ease!