Step by Step Marketing for Small Businesses
Architectural Websites Created by Architects
Does it matter if your web designer has a background in your field of expertise? Would it matter to you if they knew nothing of what your company did? This question does not come up often but sometimes it does. The question is does it make a difference?
I have created websites for companies that I share no expertise and I believe the website was still a quality product. But because I have a background in architecture and many other web developers also have various backgrounds other than web design, I believe it can give us an advantage.
Recently I was asked by a millwork company to help with their online marketing. The client needed someone that could fill his shoes as the head of marketing, but that could also handle the online marketing that he did not have time to complete. I offered to handle his marketing including providing his content because I had a background similar to his own. It gave me a competitive advantage.
I believe this also carries thru to web design. Have you ever asked your web designer what their background was? Did you find out that they were actually bringing more skills to the table than just designing your site?
Don’t design a portfolio site
A mistake I often find with architectural sites is the client or the web designer believes the site is more or less a portfolio. This is a very common misconception. I love design and architecture and therefore have viewed countless architectural websites. The biggest problem I have seen is that there is almost no information about the architecture business and just lots of pictures of their “products.” Architecture firms are still businesses and the website still needs to appear as one.
The firm’s personality
They tell little of the personalities of the firm leadership or environment. With so much information available online, clients want to know who they will be working with, especially on projects as large as architectural design. There are still so many sites that share 2 lines about how great their firm is but tell nothing about the actual people. Clients that can relate to leadership and the firm are more likely to pursue contact with that company.
Quality Images or bust
As an architect and graphic designer, I know of the importance of quality images. I would rather see no images that see bad images. I have never understood why architects put low quality images of their work on their website when that is the very thing that sells their business. The old philosophy rings true – fewer quality images will always beat a quantity of bad images
The most successful architectural websites are those that are clear in all their messages. They don’t try to tell the potential client that they design every type of imaginable project. They show their specialties. They share the personality of the firm, including specific information of the leadership. They certainly share images of their projects, but they know they don’t need to show every project they have ever worked on. They know there is a clear reason why every image is used. Each image has a purpose. If they have an image and it doesn’t reinforce a clear purpose, then they don’t use it.
Every part of the website is thought out and clearly distinguishes their firm.
Architects have always been in a unique position. They live in the creative side of life but they are also business people. They need to straddle both worlds where most companies are clearly in one or the other. In order to do this, their persona which in this case is their website has to tell their story. Make sure the story is complete.