Building a website around something tangible, like a tool, toy or food product is relatively easy. Start with good pictures of the products and maybe examples of people using the product and you’re almost done. Even services like plumbing, carpet cleaning or roofing can easily be presented with pictures of products, trucks and employees.
But what if you are selling experience, information and knowledge? How do you find the right pictures to convey what you do? That is the primary challenge when designing consultant websites. We’ve done quite a few of these types of web projects recently and each consultant took a slightly different approach.
Visualizing Prospective Customers
Elizabeth Carey wanted her website to convey the impression of a much bigger firm. While she is the primary consultant, she didn’t want the site to focus on her. Her target customers are large, primarily high tech companies with a diverse workforce.
She wanted prospective clients to arrive at her website and see themselves. For her site we selected a cover image with lots of people, but few faces. That was a deliberate choice. Visitors are more likely to identify with a group of people, visualizing themselves as part of the group if the faces are somewhat muted.
The Personal Approach
In contrast, Brendan Crowley sees his firm as primarily a speaking and training business. His customers will be hiring him. If you are the product, what better choice than featuring yourself on the home page?
To make this work Brendan worked with a professional photographer who really captured his personality in this photo. The image is causal, yet professional. He gave us a series of photos we could choose from which gave us a lot of flexibility for the cover image.
Author and professional speaker, Hazel Walker was torn between focusing on her speaking business or on her book. The compromise was a picture of her holding the book and then more information about the book further down the page.
Go with the Metaphor
Michael Kaplan of Strategic Solutions wanted the emphasis of his website to be on the process of working with him. Much of the content on his home page is about his assessment tools which business owners can use to drive their business to success. The metaphor of being behind the wheel made it easy to find the ideal cover image for his website.
Consultant Websites – No One Right Choice
There is no one right approach when building a website for a knowledge professional. The trick is to listen to their objectives and select images and graphics which tell their story.
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