As a consultant, your success hinges on convincing others that you’re an expert in your field and that you can deliver real results for clients.
Your web presence is often the very first impression your consulting business will make with a potential client.
A well-designed website will inspire confidence and trust – two factors that turn leads into clients.
A mediocre or poor website will undermine your credibility and your business. Instead of creating trust and confidence, it will create doubt and unease.
Here are 7 proven techniques to make your consulting website more credible and effective.
- Align your website design with your brand.
- Pay attention to detail.
- Post your credentials prominently.
- Provide social proof.
- Show (don’t tell) your expertise.
- Optimize for search engines.
- Show your value with case studies.
Let’s look at each of these techniques to see how you can use them on your own consulting site.
1. Align your website design with your brand
As a consultant, you are more than the sum of your knowledge and experience.
You are also a human being.
You have a personality with traits that will make working with you a unique experience.
To create a strong consulting brand, you must capture and communicate those traits that define you, as well as your knowledge and experience. This is what will set you and your consultant brand apart from your competitors.
And an effective website design will showcase the design choices you’ve made for your brand.
This consistency is valuable.
Here’s why: credibility is a form of trust. And, as we’ve pointed out in Grow Your Small Business with Consistent Branding, consistency builds trust.
Choosing a web design that effectively communicates your personal consulting brand will help potential clients get to know you.
Here’s one way to test whether you’ve injected your unique brand into your site. Look at your site and consider whether it can be the site for any of your competitors. If the images and content are generic and can represent anyone, you need to work harder to create something that reflects you and your personality.
Presenting consistently unique branding design elements over and over in your marketing and on your website will reinforce the identity you’ve established. This builds trust in you and credibility for your consultant business.
2. Pay attention to details
Successful consultants are experts. And, experts aren’t supposed to make mistakes.
If you want your website to add to your credibility instead of detracting from it, pay attention to the details.
Mistakes undermine your credibility. So, take the time to make sure that your website is error-free.
Check and double-check your copy content and grammar for accuracy. Grammarly, one of our favorite writing tools, can help.
But, policing for missed commas or the incorrect use of “your” is only half the battle.
If your website is poorly designed or executed, that will reflect poorly on you as well. When investing in website design, bring in a professional graphic designer.
Now, some business owners worry that the cost of website design can be prohibitively high.
It’s true that many design companies and agencies charge thousands of dollars for their services. But this isn’t universally true (crowdspring’s custom website design projects start at just $899, including all fees).
A professional designer will not only ensure that you execute a brand-conscious design; they’ll also be better equipped to take care of all of the technical essentials – like vector images and responsive design – that will make you and your website look professional.
3. Post your credentials prominently
Prospective clients shouldn’t have to dig to find your credentials.
If you’re pursuing a career as a consultant, you should have years of experience under your belt. Not to mention a degree or two and often, certification in your field.
Don’t underestimate the power of these standardized achievements. An MBA or professional certification lends real weight to your credibility and is worth mentioning.
If you don’t already have a consulting certification, consider getting one. Small business consultants can get their AASBC certification from the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants. The Institute of Management Consultants offers a CMC certification.
Feature your qualifications prominently on your website.
I’m not suggesting that you post your full resume on your website’s homepage. But, do make sure your professional credentials are easy to find. If your certification offers an accreditation badge, include that in the footer at the base of your website.
Transparency builds trust, and professional qualifications show prospective clients that you have the necessary training and expertise to get the job done right.
4. Provide social proof on your consulting website
When it comes to finances, most people want to minimize risk.
We want to know that we’re spending our money on a worthwhile product or service.
This is why shoppers often look to their peers for reassurance that their purchase is a smart one.
Who would know better than someone who has already walked that road? Positive reviews create confidence in potential clients.
Share testimonials and reviews from happy clients to build credibility on your website. Here’s an example of how we share crowdspring reviews on our own site.
And, if you’re lucky enough to have an endorsement from a well-known professional in your field, feature that as well.
Peter Gasca, founder of GascaCo, LLC writes:
First, recognize that everyone you meet in your career, regardless of how small or insignificant a role they might play, is someone who can add value to your credibility. Be unabashed about asking for endorsements and testimonials from these individuals, especially if your role in the relationship added value and had a positive impact.
The more endorsements and testimonials you have from other successful professionals, the better it speaks to your own credibility.
Feature a handful of truly glowing reviews on your website to reassure potential clients that you’re as great as you claim.
5. Show (don’t tell) your expertise
One of the most compelling ways to establish credibility with your website is by showing that you know your stuff.
Anyone can claim to be an expert, but only a real expert can back it up.
Writing and sharing consistently insightful content with real value will prove your expertise.
Give your prospective clients a taste of what you know for free with a blog or “resources” section on your website.
Offering this information at no cost accomplishes three things:
- It shows that you know what you’re talking about.
- It gives your potential client something of value for free – which they’ll appreciate.
- And, it inspires the client to wonder what else you have to offer if you were willing to share this information at no charge.
When writing your content, you will appear more credible if you cite other reliable sources to support your statements.
Anyone can write anything they want on the internet. But, citing the original source for quotes and specific facts shows that you can back up your claims.
6. Optimize your website for search engines
In these modern times, Google is the oracle of our age.
If a prospective client searches your area of expertise, and your website appears at the top of the search results, you have a shot at converting that prospect to a client.
But, if your website is buried in the third or fourth page of search results, then that client will probably never know you exist.
Not only that, people naturally assume that the top search engine results are the best results. So, Google’s endorsement (ranking your website highly) will lend credibility to you and your business.
So, optimize your website so that you can earn one of those treasured spots at the top.
Search engine optimization is too big of a topic to cover in-depth in this article. But, here are a few tips for getting started:
- Optimize your website’s load time. Slow load times negatively impact your search engine ranking and user experience.
- Write valuable content, regularly. Strong content will attract other reputable sites to link back to you. And, inbound links are good for your search engine ranking.
- Write descriptive names for your images, concise and meaningful URLs, and unique meta descriptions for each web page. This ensures that all of your website’s elements are easily searchable and will increase your rank.
To learn more, here are two excellent articles from digital marketing guru Neil Patel to help you dig in a little deeper:
7. Show your value with case studies
One of the keys to making a sale is to help the customer envision how your product or service will positively impact their life.
Featuring case studies on your website can help your prospective clients do just that. A brief library of case studies will also build your credibility at the same time.
Inbound marketing specialist Andrea Moxham explains:
When your prospects are on the fence, pondering whether to purchase from your company or a competitor, they’re likely doing thorough research to ensure they’re making the right decision… Case studies can be an extremely effective marketing tool at this point in the relationship and can be the tipping point for a prospect considering making a purchase.
A good case study will walk your prospective clients through the experience of successfully completing a project with you. It will help leads wrap their head around your process and show the awesome results you can deliver.
Feature your case studies on a dedicated page on your website. This will make it easy for prospective clients to research your process and your results. It will also provide additional valuable content to help boost your search engine rankings.
Not to mention that it makes you look pretty darn good if you have enough happy clients to feature a number of case studies!
Here’s an example of how we feature and write crowdspring case studies. There are many ways to do this – we’re showing you just one way that works well for us.
Make your case
When your stock-in-trade is the knowledge you possess, you need to establish your expertise right from the start.
The first impression your consulting business will make is increasingly on the web. So, ensure that your website is properly building your case as the dynamic, results-oriented expert you are.
Here’s a quick recap of the seven tips you can implement to make your website more credible and effective:
- Align your website design with your personal brand to create a professional and consistent user experience.
- Pay attention to the details in both your content and website design to show that you’re professional and trustworthy.
- Openly share your professional credentials. Transparency inspires trust and a strong CV will showcase your skill.
- Relieve potential clients’ unease by providing social proof with glowing testimonials and endorsements.
- Show (don’t tell) that you’re an expert by writing and sharing free valuable content on a blog or “resources” page.
- Optimize your website for search engines to improve your ranking and gain a coveted 1st-page spot. If Google says you’re credible, the world will believe.
- Publish case studies on your website to help leads envision working with you and establish the credibility of your process and results.
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