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When constructing the perfect freelancers’ website, you want visitors to know what you do the moment they reach your site — at least generally speaking. For the specifics, you’ll need to give them a clear idea of the services you offer.
For most freelancers, that means creating a services page that lays out the details, along with a little information about how you provide such services and what results your clients can expect.
Writing About Your Own Work
For many of us (including a fair number of freelance writers), writing about ourselves and the work we do can be very difficult. We don’t want to overwhelm prospective clients or come on too strong. That, in turn, often makes an explanation of our services seem humdrum, without any justification for why a client should hire us instead of other freelancers.
First, there’s the person who is just browsing and getting an idea of what a freelancer might be able to do for his business. Then there’s the prospective client who is ready to cut you a check and get a move on.
When writing about the specific services you offer, it’s important to write for two types of readers. First, there’s the person who is just browsing and getting an idea of what a freelancer might be able to do for his business. Then there’s the prospective client who is ready to cut you a check and get a move on.
These two very different readers mean that, like any online content, it’s important that your services page be very skimmable. But it also means that you need a way to share all the information that a reader might need to make a decision that could end with a payment of several thousand dollars.
That information can include a discussion of how you complete different types of projects, as well as the results that your clients can expect. You want to go into some depth.
If writing about what you do is proving difficult, hiring a freelance writer who specializes in sales copy may make sense. Despite being an experienced writer myself, I’ve been known to hire someone else when I can’t make something sound right.
Structuring Your Services Page
The design of your services page shouldn’t be a difficult question, because it needs to match the rest of your website. However, structure is a different matter. You have many options when it comes to choosing how to share information with prospective clients.
- The Front Page: You can, and should, include a little information about who you are and what you do on the front page of your website. However, it’s generally better to maintain a separate services page rather than trying to cram everything about your freelance operation onto one page.
The Services Page: Many visitors to your website will immediately start looking at the navigation options on your site, sometimes even before looking at the content on the front page.
It makes a lot of sense to maintain a separate services page, breaking down what you can do to help a client. Some freelancers choose to use their services page as a landing page, directing visitors from that page to individual pages for specific services.
Individual Service Pages: A separate page for every service you offer can be a useful approach if there are fairly different aspects to those services, unique packages or other clear reasons that grouping all of your services together won’t make sense.
While you can get away with just a list of services or types of projects if you keep everything on the same page, you’ll need a lot more detail if you’re going to break down your services into individual pages. If you’re not sure what will appeal to your target market, test setting up your site with a single services page as well as with splitting out the different services.
The Service / Portfolio Connection
As you’re creating your services page, consider how you want to connect it to your portfolio. If you have great examples of what you’ve done in the way of each service you offer — and hopefully you do — it’s worth directly linking to those examples from your services page. You can also link in the other direction, from your portfolio to your services page, so that prospective clients know exactly what to ask for.
There are some freelancers who build even closer connections between their portfolios and services pages, although an out-and-out combination may confuse potential clients. But great examples of your services in action will be an effective selling point, making it worth your effort to create an integration that makes sense for your website.
The Power of Testimonials
Another factor that can improve your ability to sell prospective clients on your services is proof that other people have already hired you. Testimonials show that your past clients are happy with your work, which is very reassuring when a prospective client doesn’t know too much about you.
You have to ask for responses to your past work, preferably as close to the completion of the project as possible.
It’s worth the time and effort it takes to collect testimonials from your past clients. It’s tempting to just wait and hope your clients will offer up testimonials on their own, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually do so.
You have to ask for responses to your past work, preferably as close to the completion of the project as possible. Ask for the results your clients have gotten from your project — like increases in sales or hours saved. If you can get numbers to associate with each of your services, you can make them much more appealing.
Adding testimonials to your service page is a fast way to bump up its effectiveness. Your clients do need to be willing to have their names published, possibly along with their websites. Make a habit of asking for testimonials, as well as checking if new testimonials that have come in will be more effective than the older recommendations.
Listing Your Prices on Your Services Page
There’s a fair amount of debate among freelancers on whether it’s appropriate to list prices publically. There are plenty of pros and cons:
- Pro: It keeps people who can’t afford your services from wasting your time.
- Con: It can scare off prospective clients who don’t bother to read deeply enough to understand what they’re getting for their money.
- Pro: It can help clients to take you seriously if you don’t offer to negotiate on price.
- Con: You may be selling yourslf short if a client has a bigger budget to spend on a particular project.
- Con: You may not be able to offer an accurate number until you have a chance to fully understand a specific project.
Personally, I do list my prices on my website. I haven’t seen any real decrease in the number of clients I’ve landed, though the process of estimating and setting up a project seems to go faster when my clients know exactly what to expect before they even talk to me.
I don’t have any problems with freelancers who choose to save that information until they have a discussion with their clients. It’s a matter of personal comfort, as well as whether the projects you take on lend themselves to a set pricing scheme.
However, it’s worth noting that publishing prices seems to be more effective if you’re listing set rates for specific projects, rather than an hourly rate. It’s rare that a client can really translate an hourly rate into a fair estimate of the cost of a project on her own.
Updating Your Services Page
Just as you make a point of updating the other materials on your website regularly, you need to review your services on a set schedule. Make an appointment with yourself to make sure that each detail of your services page is still effective. You may need to freshen up your site with new testimonials or change out links to the examples in your portfolio.
You may also decide that it’s time to change out exactly what you’re offering. For most freelancers, our careers aren’t static. We explore new niches, try out new technology, move to a new geographic location. All sorts of factors inform exactly what services make the most sense for us to offer.
What was logical when we first started out may not make sense after we’ve got a few years of experience. We each need to continually be checking back and making sure that we’re offering services that earn us a solid income without requiring us to do work that drives us crazy.