Picture this scenario.
You have a lineup of ten people in front of you and you have to guess which one is a consultant. I bet you 20 dollars that you will spot the consultant almost instantly.
They are known to be people-oriented individuals who inspire trust through their professional look and leverage their knowledge to grow your business. Usually, the professionals from this industry put a lot of time and effort into their image, perfecting aesthetics to inspire trust and empathy.
Now, the challenge is;
How do you design a website that serves as an online consultant?
What makes a page feel trustworthy, professional and straightforward while looking good at the same time?
Designing a website that serves as a virtual salesman can be difficult. It’s very unlikely for a consultant to pull out a complex gaming laptop with flashing red buttons and alien looking design during a meeting or while pitching.
Analogously, a consultancy website shouldn’t be flashy with complex design elements and widgets popping out of everywhere.
You have to dress to impress!
What you are looking for when designing a consultancy website is simple design with practical, actionable information on it. Call it, the web design equivalent of MacBooks.
A great theme that fits this description is the consulting WordPress theme by Stylemix Themes.
This theme conveys a great amount of vital information and is an accurate portrayal of the consultancy company. While displaying all this information, they still found a way to do it in an easy to follow manner. The theme has clearly been optimized by a CRO professional and it has a great marketing team behind it. Today, we are going to use this theme as an example for how to build a consulting website without compromising aesthetics.
So without further ado, here are seven elements every consulting website needs.
1. Human Interaction
This comes without saying, a consultancy related website should focus a lot on human interaction. Undoubtedly, adding that personal element to your brand, your website can be one of your brand’s most effective weapons.
Starting with the header image depicting a person smiling or a friendly face from the consultancy team and finishing with a chat integration; these are elements that are reportedly converting your users.
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of typography and colors. Typography in branding is important because it carries the message of the brand.
Very often you can actually understand a brand’s identity just by looking at the typography before you even read the words.
People are subconsciously trusting fonts like Baskerville or Helvetica more than a font like Times New Roman or something similar.
Michael Berut says
“In a way, typefaces are the graphic equivalent of the human voice, and each voice has a specific timbre and accent. In my mind, Baskerville speaks with a calm, confidence-inspiring English accent, sort of like Colin Firth. No wonder it’s so trustworthy.”
You can read more about that here.
As far as colors go, the color Blue actually creates chemicals in the body that are soothing because they slow down human metabolism. Blue is commonly used in situations where diplomacy or negotiation skills are required. This is just one reason why it makes a great main color for a consultancy website.
Quality validation through case studies and testimonials is still alive and kicking. Although it might seem a bit mainstream and overused to display testimonials or logos of companies you’ve worked with on your website, it still is a powerful marketing technique.
Since it’s crucial that you build credibility, it’s recommended for consultants to show pictures of their office environment, provide thorough background information, highlight their accomplishments, display logos of companies they’ve worked with, and include case studies. Showing your physical address on your website will also clearly communicate to clients that you are fully accessible. Another interesting technique I’ve seen being used by consultancy companies or development companies is showing the industries or the technologies you are proficient on. For example, this web development company has seen a 36% increase in conversions since they’ve implemented a slider with all the technologies they master and work with.
The consultancy WordPress theme has a similar feature and you can easily customize it to convey the message that resonates best with your user personas.
4. Clear Call to Actions
Call to Action, the three words you hear as often as “I love you” and “Made in China”.
Although everybody is talking about it, a Call to Action is consequential and can seriously influence your conversions. Although this theme gives you the possibility of having two CTA’s on your homepage, that isn’t recommended. Multiple calls to action lead to cannibalization, so you should focus on what’s relevant for your users.
List or Grid? Now that’s the real question. We all know that content marketing is tremendously important for growth, so I’m not going to talk about that very much. But if you’d like, you can read more about it here. However, let’s take a look at blogs from a design perspective. The two most popular blog layouts are the grid and list layouts. I personally find the grid layout a bit more practical since you can scan through all the titles faster and find what you are looking for.
A grid layout is excellent when you have a very information-heavy site (like many blogs) and add a sense of order and structure to a design.
6. About Us Page
A study conducted by the folks from Blue Acorn states “On average, visitors to an About Us page were five times more likely to make a purchase than those that didn’t. They also spent an average of 22.5% more on their purchases. In cases like the one below, where the About Us page was of very high quality, the results were almost double that figure…These figures represent two things. First, people who look at your About Us page are more likely to buy and more likely to spend more. Second, the better the page is the more these figures increase. It’s not a question of whether or not you should have one. It’s about having the best page possible to maximize your revenue..”
Web designers should know that the “About Us” page is, on average, the second most viewed page after the homepage. A consulting website should have an about us page with three major components. A “meet the team” section where they can find out who the consultants are that they are working with, an explanatory video to visually illustrate the firm’s beliefs and mission, and lastly, the company overview.
I asked Brandon Howard from All My Web Needs to give me his feedback on this consultancy theme from a technical perspective and here are the pro’s that he found and what makes this theme practical.
- They have several different pre-loaded color combinations to choose from.
- The theme is coupled with Slider Revolution.
- The theme is coupled with Visual Composer.
- Love the ability to insert parallax background images in those sections where the content scrolls but the background stays put.
- Pre-integration with WooCommerce is a huge plus. Not sure that it makes a big difference for consultants, but it expands the capabilities of the theme and makes it a viable option for a variety of other business types.
To be honest, we don’t review themes very often, but looking at what this theme created by the amazing theme from Stylemix Themes has to offer and it’s capabilities impressed us deeply. Alongside the features mentioned by Brandon, the theme has 18 layouts, including three RTL layouts in Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic.
We asked a few other professionals for their feedback on this theme and here are their answers.
The Consulting theme is a great looking responsive theme that is ideally suited for consulting firms or can easily be changed a bit to work for any small – mid sized business. One of the main things I like about this theme is that it has a built-in Job board where you can list your internal jobs or even just use this a local job or specialized job directory in the field you are in. Usually, this feature would be an additional expense yet it is included in this theme. The pre-built template pages they have for service listings is a really nice and professional touch. This will make it much easier for anyone to create a stand out services page. This will save you from having to hire outside help to create a spectacular page for you. Another great feature is that it has themes to work with Woocommerce if you wanted to also setup an online store to sell anything. All in all the Consulting theme from Stylemix Themes is a great and professional theme that is easy to use, even if you are not a ‘webmaster’.
PopNet Media LLC.
I do believe that the Consulting WordPress theme has a great combination of a corporate feel whilst still having plenty of modern necessary WordPress features.
Sites which are designed for services must have a corporate look and this is, of course, something which is set in people’s minds from the current websites which they would visit.
As a recognized winner of an Envato award, this is a sentiment which is shared by many people, making the choice of this theme a sure winner. (If it’s popular on Envato, it’s going to be popular with the public).
One thing which I’ve found necessary for modern WordPress themes is the drag and drop page builder. For a modern web designer, and for the person who will be administering the site, a drag and drop page builder is a real necessity. It makes a great difference for me when designing using a page builder, because I can set up brand new (complex) pages in hours with ease.
This theme is very interesting, on the surface, bundled with a lot of beautiful layouts and designs. However, it makes me wonder whom this theme targets. Is this for the small business owner who has no experience with WordPress? Alternatively, is this for an agency or other WordPress enthusiast to be able to launch a beautiful site more quickly?
The install was fairly straightforward if you are familiar with WordPress. I was able to get up and running in under 10 minutes following the well-written included documentation. When you install the initial theme encourages you to download 14 recommended plugins by default.
The only issue I encountered when installing the theme was an error when I tried to activate visual composer.
I found this puzzling because it encouraged me and even offered nag screens to download the entire recommended plug-in suite. While this may be useful for someone who is setting up their initial WordPress site, be confusing for people who do not know what plug-ins they want or need. The best example of this is Woo Commerce. I am a fan of installing the fewest number of plug-ins required to do the specific tasks. Installing the recommended plug-ins are completely optional and I only wish I had better direction for people to know what they may or may not need.
After the theme is installed, you can either build off of that or choose one of the many included demos to import and build off. The included demos are nice because it gives you a jumping off-point without knowing anything about WordPress.
Something to be aware of, however, is the demo that I imported without images weighed in at 1.54 MB. In today’s mobile connected world we need to make sure our sites load very efficiently.
However, this can easily be mitigated by optimizing images and leveraging performance improvements inside of WordPress. One plug-in that you may want to consider is JCH Optimize which is an excellent caching, compression and build image optimizer.
As far as managing the customization of the theme is concerned. I found it easy to modify the essential elements provided you follow the included documentation. I would not recommend this theme to any person who has no experience with any CMS. On the other hand, I think this theme could be a workhorse for someone developing sites for consultants and professional service firms. The large variation of included demos allows you to ease the multiple times and not have it be noticeable for your portfolio.