In this post, we’re going to walk you through five ways to improve your architecture firm website:
- Understand who your audience is.
- Describe what you did so people and search engines can understand it.
- Add and maintain a blog.
- Update the portfolio section often.
- Make sure your site navigation is easy to follow.
Why does it matter if your website works well? Because it’s a marketing tool. Your website can attract prospective clients and employee candidates, help qualify you for commissions, and make it easier for publications to find and write about your work.
For many architecture firm websites, a lot of time is invested in selecting just the right images to showcase the firm’s work, but that’s where the website initiative ends. The website may look the “right” way, but it doesn’t function the way it needs to or resonate with anyone outside the firm. This means the website is no better than a cork board on a studio wall: only the people who work there can see it or appreciate what the images represent.
Through our years of experience working with architecture firms to help build their practices, we’ve identified five tips that any architecture firm can use to improve their website.
1. Understand who your audience is.
Your most important audience for your website isn’t your own firm. Your website needs to be usable and understandable by people with no architectural training. Making decisions about design and function based solely on what you like can yield a website that doesn’t accomplish the goal of attracting new clients.
Prospective clients want to know whether your firm can meet their needs. Media outlets want to know what kind of work you do and why it’s worth covering them to see if your firm has experience with projects similar to the one they have. If your website makes it difficult to find answers, people will go elsewhere no matter how beautiful the images are.
2. Describe what you did so people can understand it.
Many architecture firm websites either don’t include any descriptions with project photos, or they are written in a way that only other architects will understand.
While an architect can look at a project photo and immediately discern the significance of the work, your prospective clients usually can’t. Most often they aren’t architects and have no preexisting knowledge of the project. This means they are judging your expertise based only on what their eye is drawn to — which may not have anything to do with the work you did.
It’s vital that architects include descriptions of their work, but those descriptions have to be written in a way that people understand. Aim for slightly simpler concepts and avoid terms that are only used by architects. Think of it this way: your project descriptions should be written for Architectural Digest, not Architectural Record.
By writing for other people, you’ll also be helping search engines understand what your firm does. This increases the chances that your architecture firm website will appear in the list of search results when a prospective client is searching for a firm like yours.
3. Add and maintain a blog.
A blog is a great place to feature details about completed projects. It’s also the perfect place to highlight prior work, work in process, and shorter or more casual case studies. A blog can be a less formal channel than the rest of your site, so it’s very useful when you have work that you’d like to show off but it isn’t completely finished or the images aren’t perfect.
Your website’s blog allows you to show off achievements and build interest in future projects. If you can include client or project partner quotes, that will give prospective clients a way to imagine how you could solve their problem and what it would be like to work with you.
4. Update the portfolio section often.
Your architecture firm website may feature more than 20 projects, but most people will only view the first two or three. Changing up the order of your projects and images is a way of continually refreshing your site with minimal effort. These changes can also signal to search engines that your site is active, which can help your overall visibility.
5. Make sure your site navigation is easy to follow.
Your website’s navigation can be a tempting place to get creative with what things are called or where they’re located on the screen. This is a mistake. People will only look at what they can find — and they’re not going to invest a lot of time in hunting.
Aesthetics are important, but architecture firm website wayfinding needs to be as clear as possible. Making it easy to get to your work is a critical part of getting people to explore more of it.