The web design industry hovers on a strange border — it is, as defined by the Feds, a technical profession, to be sure, but from my seat here in Detroit, web design is as much a service industry as a technical one. Web designers, after all, have to climb into our client’s shoes and see what they want for their business (which, at least around here, is often an extension of their personal lives) before we can do any creation.
Perhaps ironically, many of our customers have to perform the exact same maneuver when they try to develop a new service and find a foothold in the market… and it’s often up to us to make sure that the service they’re offering is conveyed to their audience. Being a web designer, then, means serving both our clients and serving our clients’ clients. And the place where this service occurs most directly is, no pun necessary, the Services page of our clients’ websites.
Building a Services Page
The Services page of any site is usually the second one that the typical client sees (immediately after the home page). It’s the place where the company tells the client what they can expect from the company. That’s why every services page should utilize a solid headline and sub-headings so that the reader can find a useful summary of the information with two or three movements of their eyes.
Services themselves should be listed in bullet points in a wide-open space that starts above the fold. The most-used services (regardless of what the company considers the most important services) should be at the top of the list. The goal is to communicate the maximum amount of value to the readers in the minimum amount of time.
The arrangement of a Services page should flow naturally from the number and complexity of the services offered. A company that has only a few simple services might do well with attaching an explanatory paragraph to each bullet point (above). A company with dozens of complex, interrelating services would probably do better with each bullet acting as a hyperlink to a short page explaining that service, or to a mid-page anchor on a portfolio page offering samples of each service.
The Part Many Web Designer Miss
Because the Services page tends to be largely informational in nature, many web designers (and their clients!) miss out on a truly crucial opportunity by not including a call to action on the Services page. If this is the second place your typical surfer goes, you should ask yourself what the natural third place they will get to from here will be. If the answer is “they’ll go to some other page and read more”, you’re doing it wrong — they should be deftly guided directly to the sales page. After all, they in theory now know what they’re buying. What else do they really need to know?
Designing an effective Services page is the essence of the dub-step dance we Detroit web designers are so adept at: serving our clients and their clients with one well-designed bit of web-design magic.