I’ve designed over 100 websites by now, and I’ve seen firsthand what separates successful service-based creative businesses from those that struggle to make sales. It’s usually 4 specific website must-haves.
Of course, there are countless elements, sections, and pieces of content you could (and probably should!) add to your website to make someone know, like, and trust you. But if you’re just starting out and need a starting place to focus, I’d put all my energy here first.
Here are 4 absolute website must-haves for creative service providers. Let’s get into it.
1.) Your Prices
This feels like a hot take, but it’s so true. One of the biggest mistakes I see on service-based websites is the lack of clear pricing information.
Think about it: as a customer, when was the last time you reached out to a service provider without knowing their prices first? Most likely, you haven’t. (Having to ask is a huge time suck, and can also lead to awkward conversations.)
By displaying your prices on your website, you’re setting clear expectations for potential clients, and building trust via transparency. And on your end, you’ll no longer have to sift through leads that actually can’t afford you, or do the weird “how much do you charge?” dance. It’s a win-win all around.
(Also, I lived it: as soon as I added prices to my website, that’s when my business really started to soar.)
If you’re curious about how to lay out your pricing on your site or be vague enough with your pricing to have flexibility, read this blog post. Pricing is a website must-have!
2.) Some Sort of a Portfolio
If the work you do is visual (AKA photographer, designer, videographer, etc.) then this is a super easy and obvious addition to your site. Most website platforms allow you to create galleries, or embed videos, or use images throughout to really showcase your work.
And this is where my favorite website platform, ShowIt, really shines!
However, if the work you do is written, or on the more strategic side, or coaching-based, that doesn’t mean you can get away without showcasing some sort of a portfolio!
Maybe your portfolio takes the form of blog posts, case studies, or ROI statistics. Still, we want to know what we’ll get out of working with you, and we want to see what others have gotten out of working with you in the past. (AKA, you simply must brag, and you simply must find a way to show us.)
A portfolio is a website must-have. Don’t go without one!
Social proof is a powerful tool that can truly make or break your business success. People wanna know that they can trust you, and when you’re just starting out, what better way to demonstrate trustworthiness than through customer testimonials?
To make the most of this “website must-have,” I always suggest scattering testimonials throughout your site. Try to pick ones that highlight different aspects of your work, process, and character.
Hot tips: Having at least one testimonial on each page that speaks to a different aspect of working with you can help build credibility and trust with your audience, and soon enough they’ll all be heading to your contact page to fill out that sweet sweet inquiry form.
4.) Absolutely Sick Brand Photos and/or Videos
I know, I know, I talk about this a lot. But it’s for good reason—images are truly 80% of what makes a website look good and trustworthy. Not only do high-quality images make your site look more professional and put-together, but they also give visitors a better sense of your brand and what you offer.
Hot tip: when it comes to personal brands or starting a freelance business, it’s especially important to include photos and videos of yourself to help your audience get familiar with you. People hire people, not businesses, so DO NOT be afraid to show your face and inject some personality into your site.
Including a mix of photos and videos that showcase your personality, work, and process can help build a stronger connection with potential clients and make your brand more memorable. It’s a website must-have, and it will make-or-break. I promise!
These are far from the only website must-haves, but certainly the most important (in my humble opinion).
If you’re looking for a designer who can help you carve out the rest, I’d love to help!
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Hey, I'm Sarah Kleist.
Brand builder, website designer, and performing artist on a mission to help creatives and business owners step into their digital spotlight.
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