Some friends of mine are architects, and they’ve written their own web site.
They’re also currently designing extensions to my home and I am impressed by their attention to detail and infinite patience with us and the project. It’s not been easy.
They put together a good web site but I wondered if there were some other pages that could be incorporated- to give the overall site more pazzaz and so help it stand out from all the others in their market.
To this end here are my suggestions for possible pages on an architect’s website, based on my experience as a web developer, and a client.
Oh No – Not Flash
I definitely do not want to see one of those sites that are made from flash. As a client, I am probably desperate. I’ve been online, trying to find a replacement architect for hours to take over from the one that had a nervous breakdown and left me in the lurch. Or, I’ve been driven almost to the brink of insanity by the local planning department, so need help, from someone sane, quickly. Why would I want to look at an ego trip of an architecture site like this.
It’s well known that the job of a landing page is to persuade the visitor to stay longer than 5 seconds on your site. This site takes 12 seconds to paint the screen and then goes into slide-show mode. You’d never want to suffer it more than once in a life-time.
That particular site employs the technique of embedding scrolled regions into the page so that having invested in an enormous monitor for my computer, I still have to manually scroll as the designers have decided to allocate a tiny proportion of my screen to information, and the rest to a lot of red.
But then this enormous, international firm of architects does not need to bring customers in through its web site. They probably market in other ways. They are big. But look – notice their news page is sparse. A big firm like that and their flashy flash website is information poor. It’s not that they have no news, it’s more like they’ve forgotten their web communications goals.
Smaller firms can’t afford to do this.
Some Page Suggestions for Provincial Architects
- Home Page – featuring a well designed logo, words and images of attractive local buildings
- People – an introduction to each member of the firm, their position in it and a photograph.
- Inspiration – for each architect, photos of buildings around the world that inspire them, or that they simply find beautiful, and why.
- Famous Architects – educate your audience about architecture and its most famous sons and daughters, via an article, or better still, a timeline of famous buildings, styles and their architects.
- Completed Projects – All your completed projects organised into time line photos and descriptive text.
- Work In Progress – All your ongoing projects organised into time line photos and descriptive text.
- Price Range – give a typical average price breakdown for say the design of a kitchen extension, or a small house, including all the stages involved.
- Stories – funny stories that have happened to you in the past at client sites.
- Terms of Service – your terms of service
- Payment Terms – your payment terms
- Special Interest Areas – are you specialised in any particular area? Good at planning law, historic buildings, dealing with distraught clients?
- Awards – any awards from recognised bodies – link out to them
- Free and Paid Downloads – write some useful material and give it away. For example – a document on the the most fuel efficient heating, the planning process. Write something even better and sell it online for a small fee.
- The Perfect Project – describe a perfect project with all stages, so the potential client can understand what is involved. Point out the pitfalls.
- Sustainability – Write articles on sustainable builds, or the contradiction between sustainability and historic builds. How exactly do you insulate a listed building?
- Conservation – how does your firm respond to sensitive and historic buildings.
- Testimonials – client testimonials – with photos of the client outside their newly designed homes.
- Blog – write a blog – you can talk about anything in the news to do with houses, house prices, green issues to do with housing, energy efficient homes, what happened to you today. Here is the site of an architects firm in San Francisco – an example of a good blog post. Here is another architecture blog by an architectural student – people are doing this already. Archidose is the top archtecture blog on the planet. You can do this too. See top architecture blogs.
- Links page of local suppliers, builders and home related services.