ARCHITECT WEBSITE DESIGN:
Five Ways to Improve Website Performance
Nearly half of all small businesses in the U.S. have no website at all. It can be hard to build and maintain a web presence when you're running a business with just a few people. The same is true for many architecture firms operating without a website or just getting by with underperforming, outdated websites.
If your architecture firm is still without a website or if you've gone for more than two years without an update, it's time for a change! A brilliant new website can help drive business, support your marketing plans, and grow your business.
While architects are able to design structures that may need little to no updating once completed, websites are more like gardens: They require regular maintaining, watering, and weeding to produce the best results.
If you don't have a website or you're worried your website isn't working as well as it should, check out these five qualities of top-performing architecture websites:
1. Create an Online Portfolio to Showcase Your Best Work
Architecture and web development have much in common. In both fields, showing off is important for making a great first impression. Much like building designs, an architect's website needs to "Wow!" prospective clients while also adhering to the best practices and standards of the web.
Website Design: Your architecture isn't ordinary and your website shouldn't be either. Generic fonts and ho-hum stock images are easily forgotten. The fonts, images, and color palette you use on your website need to make a strong first impression with your potential clients. Ask yourself, "What are the top projects I want to be known for?" Make sure you feature those projects with high-quality images that really showcase your best work. Instead of cropping large images to fit on a smaller screen or in a menu, try using detail shots to entice site visitors to click through to see the complete project.
Website Structure: Organize your projects into simple sections to make it easy for potential clients to see your work. The layout of your site should be inviting and intuitive to use. Get to know your market and your audience and structure your website to help visitors discover your work. As your firm completes new projects and grows, you'll want to be sure your website is built to scale up with your business.
Website Function: In addition to powerful visual appeal and simple organization, the images on your website should appear quickly and completely. No one wants to wait for your site to finish loading. Take time to optimize and resize images for use online before adding them to your site. While some website platforms automatically downsize large files as you upload images, starting with the right resolution and image size is the best way to make sure your site loads quickly and doesn't keep visitors waiting. Also, make sure your site is truly mobile friendly, making it easy to use and view from any mobile device.
2. Your Architect WEBSITE in an Extension of YOUR BRAND AND STYLE
The look and feel of your website needs to match the style of your architecture brand. Your website should be a natural extension of the personality of your architecture practice. The goal is to have the experience of browsing your site as consistent as looking through your portfolio or visiting your firm.
Less is more. In web design, as in architecture. Aim for a website design that is visually spacious enough for users to breathe, while giving them the information they want. Using keyword-rich content will help you get found on Google.
Create a flow. After that initial impression, how do you walk users through the projects? Keep the large-scale overview images to a minimum, and instead show off the best details that reflect your unique approach. Those details are the DNA of your brand and style, and will have greater impact and appeal for the visitor.
Showcase your style. If you specialize in ultra-modern corporate office design, with glass and metal surfaces, find a subtle way to reflect that style in the design of your website. Likewise, if you specialize in residential architecture in suburban or rural areas, work that sensibility into your site so visitors will know immediately that they've found the right architect.
Think of the fonts and colors in your website menu as integrated with your architecture style, just as you would specify a particular window or edging for a lobby or foyer. Look for website design as strong and specific as your architectural design.
3. Stay Current with Regular Content Updates
Your architecture website needs to be regularly updated. Even if you're working on a single big project over a long period of time, you'll want to add new content and make updates that keep your website visitors engaged, and show that you are current.
One of the very best ways to keep people engaged is to include a blog on your website. This allows you to add a variety of content at your own pace. Blogs also help with your search engine optimization (more about SEO below).
Create posts about works in progress. Think about other ways you can engage your audience and share your personality, inspiration, and opinions. Let your blog readers in on some tricks of the trade or behind-the-scenes insights on projects to draw them in.
Keeping an active blog and making regular site updates will help build your firm's authority as a knowledgeable expert in your architecture field. Share quotes and images from your blog posts on your social media pages. This makes it easy for your social media followers to link back to your website for all the details and keep up to date on your projects.
4. SEO is Critical to Getting Your Architecture Website Found Online
Behind the scenes a good website must be set up to attract the right eyes. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that your site takes advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Any website build should include a clear SEO strategy.
Why does SEO matter? Google and other search engines are constantly indexing and categorizing the data on websites. When people run a search or ask a question online, the answers come back in the search results. SEO helps you target your audience when they are actively looking for information relevant to your business—it's how you can get to them before they find your competitor.
As search engines work their way around the web, they create a hierarchy of points for how well laid out your site is, how few dead ends, and how quickly your images load, what keywords they find on your site, how active and updated your site is, if your site is mobile-friendly, and so on. When you score well, your site gets listed higher in user search results.
What about SEO on an architect's website that is likely to emphasize photo galleries of project images? Be sure each image is tagged to include important keywords. The metadata descriptions for each page should also be based on specific keywords. Also include local neighborhood terms so that users searching from your area can find you, their neighbor, high in their results.
While architects often rely heavily on images to communicate what they do, it's also important to have written content, such as service pages and blog posts, with the right keywords. When your blog content answers questions people are most likely to ask when searching about architecture, and specifically your area of expertise, you are helping search engines find your site and put you in front of the people asking those questions.
5. Your Architecture Website Needs to Make it Easy for Prospects to Reach you
Every element of your website should give visitors the option to get in touch with you, to start the conversation that can lead to hiring you. Three essentials to make your website a more active part of your sales process:
- Include your contact information on every page so a visitor can easily contact you right away.
- Hotlink phone numbers and email addresses to let people seamlessly connect with you with one click.
- Create automated "consultation" forms giving site visitors an easy way to schedule a call or a meeting.
You can also look to use social media channels to funnel people to your website and your contact form. But it's not enough to have an up-to-date Facebook business page or Linkedin profile connecting to an outdated website. Make your website the vibrant heart of your online marketing.
The point of having a strong web presence is to build your business. Are you proud of your website? Are you confident it puts you and your work in the best possible light? If you're a little insecure or find yourself handing your business card out and saying, "The website is a little old, but ..." then it's time to hire a web design agency, like Be Brilliant.
RECAP WITH THIS QUICK QUIZ
Does your website show off your very best work?
Yes ❒ No ❒
Does your website reflect your brand and architectural style?
Yes ❒ No ❒
Do you update your website at least monthly (new projects, blog posts, new hires, etc.)?
Yes ❒ No ❒
Is your website using the right keywords to help potential clients find you?
Yes ❒ No ❒
Is your website a help or a hindrance to your prospecting and sales efforts?
Yes ❒ No ❒
If you answered NO to one or more of these questions, you need help to figure out how to optimize your website and build traffic, learn how Be Brilliant can help you get more out of your online marketing.
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