In this article, you will learn that creating a site to sell your services online isn’t just about publishing the website and hoping for the best. To attract customers and therefore generate sales by driving traffic to your site, you also need to learn the basics of digital marketing such as building a strong social media presence and targeting audiences through ads.
WHY SHOULD YOU BUILD A WEBSITE FOR BUSINESS?
Whether you are selling products or services, you need a website for the primary reason that your competition already has one.
It is one of the basics of marketing to know where your customers hang out.
The internet just made it possible and “relatively” easy to reach your potential customers without spending much.
Take note of the word “relatively” because it is not as easy as it sounds.
Building a website proves to be cheaper with a higher ROI and so more and more businesses are building one. As an effect, the competition is stronger.
You are creating a website for one or more of the following reasons:
- to gain credibility
- to inform customers about updates on your services, promos, and other offerings
- with the faster transaction, and a higher response rate, you can improve on your customer service
- to get testimonials from customers so that more people are aware of your business and brand
- to target a wider audience; have a global presence
Let’s dive right in on how to create a site:
Step 1 – REGULAR WEBSITE BUILDER vs. E-COMMERCE PLATFORM
In creating a site, you first need to choose between a regular website builder or an e-commerce platform.
Think of it this way:
A website builder is the all-in-one tool that lets you create a site.
An e-commerce platform is a website builder that has tools specific for selling online. Some of these tools are a shopping cart, payment gateways, appointment plugins, etc.
When you’re selling your services, decide if you are building a website just to let people know about your business. Then do transactions in person.
Or have them avail your services through your site, in which case, you will need an e-commerce platform.
It is also helpful to know that in a regular website, you also have the option to avail plugins to set it up as an online store.
Both types of builder come with a subscription plan which you can pay monthly.
Two examples of a regular website builder are Wix and WordPress.
Wix has a 14-day trial period and charges 12.50 USD per month for the UNLIMITED subscription plan ideal for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
WordPress.org can be used for FREE but with limited features. To unlock this, you will need to avail the subscription at approximately 22 USD per month for small businesses. For e-commerce, it will be 38 USD.
An example of a widely used e-commerce platform is Shopify.
A basic Shopify subscription plan starts at 29 USD per month. When availing Shopify to sell your services, you may need to install an app for appointment booking.
We will be creating our services website with WordPress as this platform offers various themes and plugins to let you create a completely flexible online store to sell services with full ease.
Step 2 – BUY A DOMAIN NAME
Between massage.me and massage-me.shopify.com, which one do you think people will trust the most?
Think of domain name as your unique identifier that people can use to look you up on the internet.
Here’s a question that many people ask when creating a website:
Can I get away without a domain name?
Quick answer: Yes.
But the devil is in the details.
Without owning a domain, your site is open to threats.
One, it is open to phishing, spam, and other malware tactics.
You are making your information (and your customers’ information) readily available to hackers.
Worst case scenario, you might lose ownership of your site.
Your website builders usually offer domain subscriptions. These are additional fees apart from your plan.
You can also avail from sites like NameCheap and GoDaddy, which are much cheaper options.
Step 3 – CUSTOMIZE
WordPress offers a number of themes that you can use to customize your website. Themes provide the overall design, layouts, colors, fonts etc, to your website. There are more than thousands of themes available on WordPress which lets its users customize their website
You will need to customize it according to your business goals.
Personalizing your site includes changing the color and image of the background, and changing fonts, etc.
Sticking to the same theme gives your customers an overview of your business.
You can add pages like contact details page, company information, appointment section, services, and pricing information. You can choose any WordPress theme that you find suitable. You can choose a free theme for basic functionality and if you want extended features, and integrations, you can choose a premium theme. A great example of a premium WordPress theme is Reign Theme. It offers amazing customization features and allows you to create a fully functional and beautiful looking online service selling website with dedicated integration with plugins like Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce.
STEP 4: Add The Plugins Required To Sell Services Online
As we told you earlier, WordPress offers a variety of plugins that act as tools to extend the functionality of your site. Plugins are simply coded information which can be installed on your site to allow you to do the particular thing that you want to achieve from your website.
For instance, if you want to create a social network, you can install a plugin called BuddyPress that adds the functionality of creating a community website.
Therefore, in order to create an online store to sell services, we will install two major plugins called Easy Digital Downloads And EDD Sell Services. Let us understand each of these plugins.
Easy Digital Downloads or EDD:
Easy Digital Downloads is a highly popular WordPress plugin that allows you to sell digital products online. From pdfs, ebooks, plugins to music, you can sell almost any digital product with this plugin. EDD is simple to use and available for free to download. For any extended functionality, you will have to purchase premium add ons that are provided by EDD itself. You can simply head to the plugins section and install this plugin.
Let us first look at the features provided by this plugin:
- Shopping Cart: You will get a complete shopping cart feature giving your customers options to save their digital products in their cart.
- Customer Management: EDD apart from allowing you to sell digital products online also provides you features to maintain a separate record for each customer and manage it.
- Discount Codes: You can also offer discounts to your customers where you can choose a flat rate or percentage-based discount to be applied to your products.
- Data Reporting: You can also view, manage and export earnings and other store data.
Some additional features that this plugin offers include File download logs, Payment history, File access control, Payment gateways, Refund tracking and more. Get It Here.
EDD Sell Services:
EDD sell services is an extension to Easy Digital Downloads that allows you to sell services online without much hassle. This plugin will only work if you have the above-mentioned plugin that is Easy Digital Downloads installed in your site. With EDD sell services, you can sell all your services online such as designing a logo, making a website, developing a theme, writing blog and more.
This plugin also adds an amazing conversation section with requirement submission from the customer after order.
With powerful admin option, you can manage your orders, enable emails on a conversation, set up a live notification, display reviews on the single product page, set up your service status widget, and a lot more. Let us have a look at the features of this add on:
- EDD Sell services create a new product type called “EDD Services” to sell services.
- Allows vendors to add questions that will be required to process any service.
- Vendors can add multiple questions and order will start after the customer will submit order requirements.
- Customers and Vendors can easily manage their orders in a tabular form.
- Provides an easy to communicate feature, a dedicated conversation section for each order.
- Vendor and customer will also receive emails for each conversation trigger.
- Allows customers and vendor to add reviews and ratings for each other.
This is a paid add on for EDD and you can purchase it here.
Step 4: PUBLISH
Your site is ready to go live. Before launching your site, test it by asking friends and families’ opinions on what they think is lacking.
When creating a site, you will get caught up in the designing process.
With the help of other’s opinions, you will what you need to add, remove, or change.
Now, hit PUBLISH.
Step 5 – DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE
Simply creating a site is not enough to sell your services online.
You want people to know about the site you created, convert them into leads, and eventually get sales.
To do that, you need to “drive traffic.”
Driving traffic to your website, much like putting up pamphlets everywhere with an address to your store, needs some digital marketing skills.
Digital Marketing, at a glance, means advertising your business through digital platforms like social media, email, ads. These are examples of online digital marketing.
While radio and TV are examples of offline digital marketing.
You will be surprised to know that the promotional texts you get from time to time are a form of offline marketing, but digital marketing nonetheless.
Now, digital marketing is such a huge topic that branches out uncontrollably. But when selling your services, there are two things you need to know:
Free traffic, also called organic traffic is mostly generated through social media and search engines like Google.
To get free traffic, you must first optimize your website and then allowing Google to crawl it.
Optimizing your site means tweaking it in such a way that it appears higher in the results pages of search engines like Google.
How do you do that, you ask?
Through SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Remember when I said digital marketing branches out uncontrollably?
Truth is, I was talking largely about SEO.
There are different pillars of SEO that you need to know to have a birds-eye view of the topic.
One example of SEO is CREATING A BLOG. Chances are, when learning SEO you will hear about keyword research.
Your goal is to target keywords that are related to your business.
For example, “looking for photographers near me”
If you are a photographer selling your business and decided to write a blog about a topic that targets this keyword, when people search for the same keyword, they might come across your site.
In other words, free traffic. TADA!
Create content or blog as a way of informing your readers about your services. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about your business. It could be “How To Shoot Portraits”, as an example to a photography services website.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING is another form of free traffic. Having a website for your business, you also need to have a strong social media presence.
Create a Facebook Page, advertise through your network. In other words, your friends and family. Ask them to share your site so people who might like your services will know about you.
Joining FB groups that share the same interest can also generate free traffic. Reaching out to these people not only generates free traffic but also give you an idea of your target customers.
Creating your customer profile is another step that you need to take on. Be as specific as you can when identifying your customer demographics such as age, gender, profession, location, etc.
Creating your customer profile will be specifically useful when you now decided that its time to pay for ads.
If you think you’re okay with free traffic, that’s fine.
Free traffic, though, can only get you as far as your network goes.
With paid traffic, you can reach more customers and generate more sales.
But as a disadvantage, you will need to pay a hefty amount.
This is why creating a customer persona is an important step.
Facebook ads have so many tools and features that allow you to target specific customers based on their age, interests, location, etc.
There you have it! Be sure to follow the steps on how to create a site to sell your services online.
Sell Your Services Online Effectively
If you wish a website which is not only functional but also attracts a lot of traffic, we would suggest you follow each of the above-mentioned steps. From the inception of an idea to getting real visitors who are interested in your services, it’s a complete process that needs to be followed. We hope you like this article on selling services online. If you have any questions for us, please drop them in the comment section below.