9 Fundamentals For Your Architecture Firm’s Website
9 Fundamentals For Your Architecture Firm’s Website
Why is having a website so important for your architecture firm? Why is having a great one even more important?
The primary reason for having a website is simple. Your website is your online real estate – your digital office reception area. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on traffic from actual people who could turn into leads, and very possibly clients.
How good your firm’s website is and the impact it makes on your business is all up to you. You may think of your website as just a landing page with some information and contact info, but that would be a mistake and a missed opportunity. Your website can become the cornerstone of your entire digital marketing strategy, and it can leave people with an important impression about your firm.
The majority of people use a search engine to find any service or product, and some of the most searched terms in the industry besides “architect” are “architect near me”, “architecture firms”, and “architecture firms near me”.
Try searching for these terms yourself on Google, and you’ll see a list of Google Maps listings of architecture firms near your location. Scroll down further and you’ll find websites of local companies.
So if you don’t have a website, then you don’t show up on the radar for all those people searching for architects in your area.
That’s the simple answer on why you need to have a website: attracting more leads. So if you don’t have a website yet, hire a web design and development firm or a good freelancer. If you want, build it yourself using a website builder like Bookmark.
From our experience working with hundreds of firms on both sides of the Handiss marketplace, we’ve learned 9 fundamentals every architecture firm website should have. You’ll learn about the importance of how to leverage design and different types of content on your website, the importance of blogging, forms, and SEO.
1- Understand the impression your website makes
Before you start making or modifying your architecture business website, you should think about what impression you want to leave people with after they visit it.
A website can be molded in so many different ways. The use of colors, images, video content, text, and the entire feel of the website can make it fun, boring, very interesting, uninteresting, impressive, awesome, or just another architecture firm’s website.
Consider also your “buyer persona”. If your clients are private home owners, your content and feel may be very different from another architecture firm website where the clients are typically real estate developers.
It’s all up to you and the impression you want to make, so if you have an idea of how you want users to feel when they’re on your website, hire an excellent website and UX designer to work closely with.
You’ll know if you succeeded at creating the right impression if you start noticing that people are bringing up your website when they reach out to you.
2- Optimize design for user experience
When you’re designing your architecture firm’s website, you need good user experience (UX) design. UX design is a commonly known term in the technology world, and it has some relevance to architectural design as explained by this architect turned UX designer.
You probably want the user visiting your website to enjoy browsing it and to fill a contact form, or at least to remember your company. UX design is a whole field of its own, but it would do you well to read up on the subject as you’re conceptualizing your website.
When you hire a designer and developer to build your website, or even if you’re building your website on your own, make sure it’s also well designed and optimized for mobile experience. Most websites built today are responsive on mobile, meaning that they adapt to the screen size.
A huge portion of your website users are going to visit your website on their mobile phones. So the mobile experience should be as flawless as the desktop one, and you’ll want to dedicate time and effort to make sure it provides a good user experience.
3- Add testimonials from previous clients
Testimonials from previous clients are a great way to show value for new prospects for any service business.
As an architecture firm, you can combine your testimonials with your projects in a section on your homepage that highlights both. This way, users can directly see what projects you’ve done, and what your clients have to say about your work on those projects.
An even better idea would be to create a video of your testimonials if your clients don’t mind, and include project imagery and clips.
Here’s an example of a testimonial on our website. Although Handiss is not an architecture firm, you can see how the testimonial can be an important factor that helps build credibility.
4- Put your projects center-stage
Needless to say, an architect’s portfolio is the most essential marketing element, both online and offline. Here are some tips and ideas on how to highlight your projects on your website:
- Consider a prominent position on your homepage for your projects, with an easy and clear caption placement. Perhaps the top banner of your homepage, or a lower section.
- When projects become numerous, dedicate an entire page for projects, but highlight the best ones on your homepage anyway.
- Use a slider or grid placement.
- Combine projects with testimonials as explained in the previous section.
- Use high quality images.
- Create video content combining project imagery with excerpts from interviews and testimonials from your team members and clients.
- Integrate walk-throughs of your projects within your website. The technology is improving and you can find companies selling the software, usually to real estate clients.
5- Your team bios are your deal closers
After you’ve wowed your website visitors and guided them through your website, they might want to see who the architects behind these projects are.
Create a team page with bios of each team member. The design and content of this page can give vibes about your company culture and your style.
Just think how the impression would change if your picture were of you wearing a suit with a mild smile on your face, versus a picture of you wearing more casual clothes with a beaming smile. The 2 pictures would leave different impressions, right?
Same goes for the text in your team bios. The writing style can go from serious to fun, and from creative to bland. Choose your words wisely depending on what you want and what your style is.
6- Write great content in a blog
I cannot stress how important it is to add a blog section to your website and how much it can help you market your architecture firm. A blog has several benefits:
- Your website can become much more interesting because of the additional content it provides, especially if your articles are interesting to your visitors.
- It gives you space to write niche articles and share knowledge about your field, your company, projects, experiences, etc…
- A blog can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and drive more traffic to your website.
- It can attract users to your articles when they search for relevant topics.
- People can subscribe to your content, which gives you an opportunity to re-market your company over time.
A blog can become a central part of your content marketing strategy if you choose to work on one. At minimum, half a dozen well-written blog posts can drive reasonably more traffic to your website.
More traffic means more people finding you, and that could mean more leads, more prospects, and ultimately, more clients.
7- Add different kinds of forms on your website
The most basic kind of form you need on your website is, of course, a contact form for any potential prospects who want to get in touch for a project. It’s very important to include a contact form on your website.
But there are other types of forms you can include that can be just as important to capture leads. Someone visiting your website may not have a project in mind right away, but may be interested in receiving your content and your updates via email, and can later convert to actual prospects.
If you have a blog, you can add a subscription form to capture email addresses, and send weekly or monthly email updates and blog articles. Since we’re here, you can subscribe to our blog for more content like this.
You can also prepare downloadable content that your visitors can request to download if they provide you with their name and email. If you get them to download an interesting piece of content that you specialize in, then they’re potential leads.
As you gather email contact information through these forms, you’re building a database of subscribers whom you can re-market to through more interesting and useful content, keeping you top of mind.
You may be worried about keeping up with a schedule of newsletters and emails to send out, but there are now tools to automate your emails to your subscribers, and you can prepare all your email and content beforehand, put it in an automation tool, and forget about it completely, or update it every now and then.
Setting this up is easy. It just takes a time investment to write your articles and emails, and to set up the email campaign.
You can use Mailchimp or many other email marketing platforms to get this started.
8- A live chat tool can make it easier to contact you
Adding a simple chatbot can help some users on your site to directly connect with you more easily. It’s easy to have your developer add a chatbot and there are many good, free ones on the internet. Tawk.to and Hubspot provide good ones, and there are many other options.
Every time someone sends a message, you can directly respond through a mobile app that these providers usually offer.
9- Optimize your website for search engines (SEO)
One of your main goals for your architecture firm’s website needs to be search engine optimization (SEO). In other words, you need to convince the Google algorithm that you and your website are trustworthy.
SEO is quite a complicated space that top companies and startups invest a lot of money into to get their websites on the first page of a Google search. There are SEO experts and software tools to help you rank your website higher.
But you don’t need to worry about spending too much on this. In fact, you can do a lot to boost your rankings on search engines for minimal extra cost.
Here are some things you can do:
- Improve your website’s title (the text that shows in the tab on top of your browser when your website is open) to make it clear what you are and what you do. Google bots use your title tags to better classify your website and business.
- Write clear and valuable content on your website pages. Your content is also scoured by bots to assess relevance and quality. Content length can be an important factor.
- Use your blog to write great content, and update previous content as well.
- Get other websites to link back to your main website or blog posts. This usually happens on its own when your articles offer content that people find valuable, so they link from their own blogs or publications to yours. When you get others to link to your site (they’re called backlinks), search engines see that as a kind of testimonial that makes you more trustworthy.
- Hire an SEO expert for a review and for basic technical optimizations.
- Create a Google My Business account, and make sure your business is on Google Maps. This drives you up in local rankings.
You can assess your website’s domain authority using this tool to see where you stand. If you really want to deep dive into SEO, there are a lot of resources you can read, including this list of 200 ranking factors.
The 9 fundamentals for a great architecture website are:
- Understand the impression you want to leave people with. Make sure you know your buyer persona and prepare your content accordingly.
- Optimize user experience and guide users to enjoy browsing your website and to fill out a contact form.
- Add testimonials to convey more credibility.
- Make your projects prominent on your homepage and make them easy to browse and read. Use high quality content but be careful with website loading speed.
- Add team bios that reflect your company culture and to convince the lead that you’re the right architect.
- Write a blog and build a content strategy to drive more traffic to your website.
- Use forms to capture leads who aren’t ready to start a project yet, and use email marketing tools to send automated marketing emails.
- Add a chat tool to directly respond to people who prefer to get in touch that way.
- Optimize your website for search rankings by following SEO guidelines.