Creating, Editing, and Managing Service Area Pages in DSS

Last Updated: October 2018

Service area pages—also called practice area pages—help break down your overall practice into easily digestible “chunks” that help clients find the information that best fits their needs. For example, a personal injury attorney might break down his or her work into practice areas like “car accidents,” “truck accidents,” and “premises liability.”

To determine your service areas, think about the “themes” of the cases or patients you take, as well as the kinds of clients you’d like to attract.

Practice area pages should absolutely be the most authoritative pages on your website about each of your areas of practice. They should provide a basic overview of the practice area, answer the most immediate questions potential clients might have, and explain why you might be a good fit for their needs. It should help both search engines and searchers understand exactly what you offer, as well as how to take action.

Creating Your Service Area Overview Page

Before we dive in, a quick note: to avoid confusion, it’s generally a good idea to stick with broader groupings and limit how many practice areas you create. Your practice areas will be listed in your dropdown navigation on your website, so they should be as concise as possible; if you are an attorney who works on Traffic Accidents, that should be your practice area, and any corresponding service areas (like Car, Truck, or Motorcycle) should be listed as a sub-practice area. A podiatrist may list “Toenail Care” as their practice area and Ingrown Toenail, Fungal Issues, or Pedicures as sub-practice areas. You can set up all of your practice area pages and then sort them to organize into sub-services areas, which we’ll get into below.

Setting up a sub-practice area in DSS Sub-practice areas on a live site
   

Setting up the sub-service area in DSS will appear on your site like this.

To create or edit your practice area select “Content” in the DSS Navigation, and look for “Service Areas” under the Content Items. 

Service areas in the DSS navigation

You’ll be taken to a page that lists all of the current practice areas you’ve set up in DSS; this is the “Search & Edit” page. In the left sidebar you’ll see options to update the Overview Page, Search & Edit your current practice areas, Add New, and Sort. 

List of content items under the Service Areas section of DSS

Let’s start with the Overview page. This is the page on your site that lists all of your practice areas. All overview pages need a title, meta description, and headline. You also have the option to create content for this page to introduce your different practice areas and give your audience an overview of what you do. Some people choose to keep it simple and don’t add much content to this page since the practice areas are listed here anyhow. Here’s an example of an overview page with some content:

Where overview content appears on the service area page of this website

And here’s a practice area overview page without content:

A service area page without overview content

Whether you decide to create that body content for the overview page or not, DSS will populate the page with your listed practice areas, as you can see in the examples above. 

Creating Individual Service Area Pages

Like most pages in DSS, the practice area page builder has the standard content fields, but there are also some fields unique to this section. The Summary section is the description that shows up on your overview page for each practice area. You can see it in action below, where we have a screenshot of the summary section for the Lawyer Referrals practice area, and you’ll see where this content populates on the practice area overview section of Carol Cadiz’s live site.

The content field in DSS where you can create a service area summary.

What the service area summary content looks like on a live site

Service Area Content

Below this is the Rich Content Editor, where you’ll create the content for the individual practice area pages. As far as content goes, practice area pages can be as in-depth or concise as you like, but they should include:

  • Well-written text that engages and resonates with the reader
  • General information that is relevant to a potential client who is facing the kinds of problems the service area covers
  • Instructions on how and where to get more information
  • Subheadings and bulleted lists that make the page easy to read
  • A call-to-action with your contact information that encourages readers to reach out
  • Information about your free book, complimentary initial consultation, or other relevant offers

Above all, you should always write practice area pages with the potential clients in mind. Think about why they’re searching for your services, the kinds of questions they have, and what they’re really looking for when they click on a specific practice area. Avoid jargon, and be sure to offer explanations for difficult concepts and terms. By putting your potential clients’ needs first in your content, you can start building trust and helping them get the answers they’re looking for before they ever walk in your door.

More Service Area Options

Selecting the Service Area Category helps us better track information about specific service areas, which give you more detailed and actionable data.

The title of your page should follow specific guidelines, so we’ve included the option to create a short description of your service area, which should be easy for users to understand, and will display on the overview page, navigation bar, and sidebar of your website. The image is the thumbnail that shows up on the overview page next to the practice area summary.

Of course, you have the option to assign relevant videos and offers, as well as a header or footer template. Assigning Templates for Associated Pages will add the selected header or footer to any pages  

Advanced Options

When you create a new Service Area, DSS automatically creates a Category for each Content Type (News, FAQ, Library, Blog, Case Results, Testimonials, Videos, Offers). This is so you can add content for your new Service Area to the right Category, which ensures that all relevant content is grouped together. These Categories come with an Overview page that lists all of the content added to the Category.

This is not a required section. If you do nothing, DSS will use the Overview Information that was added for the Content Type. For example, the Page Title, Headline, Meta Description, and Overview you used for the Library section will be inherited by each Library Service Area Category. 

Here’s an example of how the advanced options work:

Blog category overview page in DSS

Blog category overview page on a live site.

For more information about the service area advanced features, check out this article.

Sorting Practice Areas

Once you have created pages for all of your practice areas, you can reorganize them in a logical hierarchy. Instead of having a long list of service areas on the sidebar, you can organize them in a more practical and thoughtful way. This also allows for hyper-drilling down into each area of service. Once you make one service area the child of another service area using "drag and drop,” that sub-service area will appear as a link within the main service area content. All service areas need to be completed before organizing sub-service areas. Don't just add a page with no content—this will HURT your SEO!!!

Example: "Motor Vehicle Accidents" would be the main or parent service area. Make "Drunk Driving Accidents,” "Motorcycle Accidents," “Car Accidents,” and "Trucking Accidents" your sub service areas simply by dragging them beneath "Motor Vehicle Accidents" one at a time.

Need help with Service Area Pages? Email [email protected] so our wonderful customer service team can answer your questions and get you on the right track!