Page-by-page checklist for a massively successful agency / freelancer website

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For yet another year in a row at Reliable PSD, we’ve more than doubled revenue. I’m 100% not saying that to brag and be like “Oooh look at me!” (although we are extremely proud!) – but to stress something super important:

Every client we have came through our website.

That means we’ve had to work super hard on our website to make it hum and sing and send great clients our way.

The growth also made us feel even more appreciative of our clients.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

And so we decided to give them a gift the other day:

We sent out an email in which I offered to review their websites and give them a 20-minute consultation about how to improve them to get more clients.

Totally gratis.

While I’ve seen some good ones – I’ve seen quite a few that are lacking the basics of direct response marketing.

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And when we’re dealing with our company websites here – that’s the kind of marketing we’re dealing with.

The kind where you send people to it, and they directly respond.

You don’t want to go about a year-long, billion-dollar branding initiative, do you? (I sure don’t!)

You want people to land on your site and feel inspired to reach out right then and there.

Now, to help all of you too, I want to give you a checklist of what should go on each page of your website.

That way you can use it as a great tool to see where your website is currently at, and how to improve.

Cool?

Let’s do dis!

Home page essentials:

  • Big, beautiful splash screen with big, bold headline that says what you do and what result you can give your clients
  • Immediately after, low-barrier call to action, such as a free consult, free quote, etc.
  • After splash screen, a short blurb (can be in the form of a personal letter from you) that says who you serve, how you help, and references results you’ve generated for other clients
  • Testimonial after that (or a testimonial slider)
  • Maybe a few big buttons to other important pages on your site after that (i.e. portfolio, testimonials, services)
  • Call to action after that

Breakdown: On the home page, we’re giving a minified, full blown sales pitch. We’re teaching someone who you are and what you do and how you can help, showing them how you’ve helped others, and inspiring them to take action and reach out.

About page essentials:

First, let’s talk about what not to put on your about page:

  • Long-winded life story
  • Random facts like “I love zombie movies”
  • Where you went to college and how many degrees you have
  • Your dog’s favorite place to sleep during the day

The about page is deceptive. It seems like it’s “about” you – but it’s really not.

Nothing on your website is about you.

It’s about your prospects.

After all, they’re the ones using your site, right?

So here’s what does go on your about page:

  • The story of your business as it relates to your clients and their problems, i.e. “I started Random Design Co. because I saw so many businesses getting swindled by designers who don’t know how to make websites that SELL.”

See how that’s telling a story, but in a way that gets prospects’ ears to perk up?

  • Results you’ve achieved for clients, and what kinds of clients you serve, i.e. “That’s why I’m so happy I’ve been able to help clients ranging from restaurants to life coaches grow and reach more people.”
  • Call to action in a personal way, i.e. “If all of this sounds great to you, I’d love to chat and learn more about you and your business. What do you say? Click here to schedule a time.”

Breakdown: We’re letting clients know who you are – but more importantly – we’re telling them why it matters to them. Every word on your website should matter to them and address their needs, goals, and problems. The about page is an opportunity to speak on a more personal level, build rapport, and get people to know and like you.

Portfolio essentials:

  • Only choose your best projects. If you’ve completed 30, but only 5 are seriously legit work that will knock clients’ socks off, only put those 5.
  • Don’t just put an image gallery with no pre-framing or context. Have a main portfolio page that breaks everything down by project. Once you click a project, give an intro about it, the challenge the client faced, your solution, and results it produced.

Breakdown: We’re showing off our work – but we’re telling clients why it rocks. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of pictures for them to either “like” or “dislike.”

I’m much less interested in whether or not a client “likes” work I’ve done as I am in whether or not they understand that… regardless of their personal taste… it generated the results they’re looking for.

Contact page essentials:

  • Give multiple forms of contact, i.e. phone, email, and contact form
  • Unless you’re in crazy-high demand – don’t pigeonhole people through a long-winded contact form with no other way to reach you. The point of a form like that is to weed out certain prospects, but it also weeds out good ones who just aren’t ready to fill out a massive form. So keep your form simple.
  • You can have a dropdown of budget options on your form. Start with your minimum cost. That’s a gentle nudge that says “If you can’t afford at least that, you can’t afford me.”

Breakdown: We want reaching out to us to feel easy and natural. If you can get someone to email, you can get them to schedule a call. If you can get them to schedule a call, you can get them to read over a proposal. And so on and so forth. It all starts with that first simple step.

Also, since different people prefer different modes of communication, by offering those 3 mediums, we can appeal to everyone.

Your turn: What tweaks to your website have made all the difference?

Tell me! And if you have any questions, concerns, stories, or got a lot out of this post – I’d love to hear all about it.

Leave a comment and let’s chat.

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.

 

More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

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Comments

  1. Great Read! Inspiring to find the little things out, which end up being bigger than you orinigaly thought!
    I am a graphic designer, with some code experience trying to get out into the freelance world as well as some blogging too, as i know I want to start doing more websites.. Its been a tough go to get some inspiration on where to start but posts like these help!!

    Thanks for the good read this morning!

  2. I appreciate your articles. I’m an avid reader of your content and you provide helpful and informative information for startups and freelancers. After reading this article, I know exactly what I’m doing wrong! Thank you again for all you do!