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Service with a Smile

Service with a Smile

So, as I prepare to launch this freelance writing business of mine (coughstill-so-lostcough), one of the vital elements, of course, is a Services page.

You may have noticed the very lame Services page I recently added, just to have something there.

How do I know it’s lame? Because, well, have you looked at some of the good ones lately? Like James’ and Harry’s Men with Pens? Melissa Donovan’s Writing Forward? Lillie Amman’s A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye? Julie’s Blogging Roads? Joanna’s Confident Writing? Brad Shorr’s Word Sell?

Yeah. You get the idea.  These are GOOD pages.

Let’s explore some of the elements to the effective Services page, shall we?

  • They actually list the available services. Yes, this one seems obvious, but it certainly bears repeating. Simply saying, “writing and design” is insufficient. Writing what? Business articles? Blog posts? Legal briefs? Greeting Cards? Press releases? Letters for Mom? Designing what? A logo? The color scheme for a website? An entire website?
  • But don’t go overboard. You might actually have done all of these things at some point or another. (I certainly do hope you’ve written to your Mom at least occasionally.) That doesn’t mean that you’re wanting to focus on all of them. If you’re pitching to business markets, they’re probably not going to be interested by the novel you’ve got on your harddrive, or that you’ve spent 20 years writing limericks for your local card shop. Focus on the services that highlight the direction in which you want to travel.
  • Experience/Qualifications. How much experience do you have? Or, if you’re just starting out, how qualified are you? Why should someone want to hire you? Can you at least prove that you can do the job you’re shooting for?
  • Testimonials. If at all possible, this is definitely a vital thing to have. If you have satisfied customers (and they have no objections), by all means, tell the world!
  • Writing Samples. Especially if you are just starting out and don’t yet have happy clients, at least show them that you can write. Or that you can put together a good design. Or, that you actually have whatever skill you’re trying to sell.
  • Contact. Is it obvious that you need to provide an easy way for prospective employers to contact you?

So, you’re asking yourself … if I already know all this, why is my own Services page so lame? Well, that’s another post…

But, in the meantime–YOU tell ME.

What else is vital on a good Service page? What should I do to mine to improve it?

Speak up, folks!

10 thoughts on “Service with a Smile

  1. Melissa Donovan

    I think you’ve got a great grasp on what to add to your services. And thanks for the honorable mention, by the way! I’m tempted to suggest sticking with writing services and leaving design out for now, but that’s really a judgment call you have to make. I can’t wait to see how your site and services unfold!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..October News and Announcements

  2. Gary Fletcher

    Great list. I’d add two things to it:

    1. A bit of personality. Show people your business approach, formal, friendly, big corporation style,…

    2. A call to action. Make it easy for someone who got to your services page to take a next step.

    Your examples such as the Men With Pens have these elements.

    Good luck with the freelance writing. I’m trying that to, and yes my site is lame even though I’ve read and absorbed tons on what it should be 🙂

    Gary Fletcher’s last blog post..Are Good Ideas Killing Your Projects?

  3. Lillie Ammann

    You’ve listed some excellent examples—thanks for including me in the list, and you’ve got a good handle on what you need to do. I look forward to seeing your new Services page.

  4. Brad Shorr

    Deb, Best of luck with your new enterprise! You certainly have the talent. Thanks for mentioning my page – I’m flattered to be in such fine company. It may comfort you to know it took about 10 iterations for my Services page to get to where it is now, and reading this post has given me ideas about how to improve it. You gotta start somewhere.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Trust Me

  5. --Deb

    It’s certainly true that I know what works when I see it, but building it for myself is much, much harder–especially when I’m still trying to figure out the direction I’m going (grin).

    –Deb’s last blog post..Service with a Smile

  6. Julie Roads

    Hey Deb! Thanks for mentioning my page…of course, that made me look at my page for the first time in, well, a long time – I need to edit mine too. That’s the thing, it’s a constant tweaking. For instance, to follow some of your advice, ehem, ehem, I have too many services listed! I abhor long sales letters! What was I thinking. You’re going to do fine – because you rock.

  7. Joanna Young

    –Deb, I’m smiling as I read this because I bet we *all* found it really hard to write those pages. I know I’m always changing mine, and it’s always much harder to write your own stuff than it is other peoples. This is a conversation that Brad and I have had many times together!

    By the way – it does help to get feedback from others and to test ideas and words, also to ask them for ideas on what your strengths are.

    My starter for 10:

    Some of the reasons I might want to hire you: you know how to write in an engaging and entertaining way on the internet; you know how to connect with readers and customers; you’ve got a great grasp of the English language and can help you improve your copy so it’s friendly sounding but also grammatically correct.

    Hope that helps.


    PS If you ever want to bounce some copy off me – you know where I am.

    Joanna Young’s last blog post..October Theme: Writing With Responsibility

  8. --Deb Post author

    @Joanna–Well, maybe, but the finished product looks so good, it MUST have been easy… (grin)

    And, it DOES sound good to hear some solid reasons people might want to pay me to do this … very encouraging, though since you’re a friend, there’s that whole grain of salt thing…

    @Julie–Oh, I’m good at tweaking! Love the tweaking!

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