Five Critical Website Factors Emerging Architects Cannot Ignore

build-a-better-website.jpg

The Five Factors Your Website Must Get Right!  

A Great Website Can Grow Your Architecture Firm, A Bad Website Can Hurt It.

The internet is littered with failed architecture firm web design projects, and it ain’t pretty.
— Bryon McCartney, Chief Creative Strategist, Archmark

We've been designing websites for more than 20 years. During that time, things have changed significantly. Recently, we reviewed and tested more than 200 Florida architecture firm websites and, based on our findings, it’s clear that a significant majority of architects — from new to very established firms — are not keeping pace with current website standards and trends.

As an emerging architect, you cannot underestimate the role your website can play in helping attract and engage new clients. There are five critical factors you need to get right to get real business results from your online presence:

  1. Performance/Site Load Speed
  2. Mobile Responsiveness
  3. SSL Security
  4. Search Engine Optimized Content
  5. A Clear and Engaging Homepage Message

I can hear you already, “But wait! What about design or style?”

Sure, design and style are important, but if you want a website that grabs your potential clients’ attention, you need to attract and engage them. These five factors are critical to making that happen.

If you'd rather focus on architecture than become a website expert, you’re in luck. We invite you to schedule a free, one-on-one website strategy call with us. We’ll even provide you with a free website evaluation ($199 value). Click here to book your call.

If you prefer to DIY your website, keep reading to learn how each of these factors impact your architecture firm website and the actions to take to make improvements.

1. Performance/Site Load Speed

Website performance/site load speed refers to how quickly a website loads in a visitors web browser on their computer or mobile device. 

Why it's important

Research shows that if your site does not load within a 2-3 seconds, many visitors will leave. Google also includes load speed as a top factor for search engine ranking.

Your site speed can be affected by many factors like server speed, plugins installed on the site, and other technical issues, but for architects, the most common problem is full-screen, high-quality portfolio images, which can slow your site speed to a crawl.

What you can do

Make sure your portfolio images are properly optimized. We recommend keeping files to 1500 pixels on the longest edge, with image file sizes no larger than 200 KB. Use Photoshop or an app like Squash to compress images before adding them to your website.

2. Mobile Responsiveness

A mobile responsive website adjusts your website’s layout to look good on any size screen, from smartphones and tablets to desktop computer screens. 

Why it's important

Artefact+New+Website.png

In 2016, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time. In 2017, Google added mobile responsiveness to the top criteria for how well a website ranks in search results. More and more people use mobile devices to access websites. If your website is difficult to read or use from a mobile device, they are more likely to leave out of frustration.

What you can do

Look at your website on your phone and/or tablet. If it's not easy to read and navigate, it's time to make changes.

3. SSL Security

When installed on your website, a Secured Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate allows secure connections from a web server to a visitor’s web browser. 

Why it's important

Security No SSL screenshot.jpg

As of July 2018, Google began penalizing websites that do not have an SSL Certificate. Without this security protocol your website could be at risk of losing search ranking and may get blocked by search engines. Imagine how potential clients might react to seeing this alert come up when they visit your website. (See image)

What you can do

If your site is properly secured, your URL will start with https:// in the address bar. However, if it begins with http:// it is not a secure site and needs to be fixed.

4. Search Engine Optimized (SEO) Content 

When someone searches a topic or question online, the answers come back as search results. These results include links and descriptions to websites based on how their content answers that specific search topic or query.

Why it's important

A clear SEO strategy will help you get found online. As search engines crawl the web, they index and categorize the data on your website. When your website copy and content is properly optimized, you appear higher in search results and get found more easily by potential clients.

What you can do

Many factors can affect your search ranking. Be sure to include relevant keywords and content on your site, get high-quality links that point to your site, and update your site regularly to improve your search ranking.

5. A Clear and Engaging Homepage Message

The messaging on your homepage helps visitors understand what your site is about, whether they have come to the right place, and what they should do to take action.

Why it's important

When someone visits your homepage, you have about 8 seconds to capture their attention. If they are not immediately interested in going further into your site, they will leave.

Architects can easily fall into the trap of relying on their portfolio and reputation to convince clients that they are the right choice. But without a clear message, those images have little meaning, and won't keep visitors on your site for long. 

The goal of having a website should be to bring visitor deeper into the site and get them to share their contact details with you so you can continue to engage them until they are ready to hire you.

What you can do

Your website copy is critical in engaging visitors. Take time to ensure that your homepage clearly and concisely answers three important questions:

  • What do you do and who do you do it for? 
  • What problem or "pain point" do you solve for this audience? 
  • What action do they need to take to move forward?

Getting your message right is your best opportunity to convert website visitors into leads and eventually into clients!

Ready to Take Action and Take Control of your Success?

Architecture and website design have some similarities. In both fields, it's important to have a website that makes a great first impression to "Wow!" prospective clients. But that can only happen when your website meets current web standards and takes advantage of the best practices to attract, engage, and convert the right visitors. That's why these five essential factors are so critical to your online marketing success!

"We believe architects should be able to focus on designing great buildings, instead of websites."

Archmark specializes in branding and digital marketing strategies for architecture firms. Stop waiting for referrals, take control with a lead generating website from Archmark.

We work with architects to help them build a strong brand foundation for business growth, establish authority to take a leadership position in their market, and create awareness that attracts qualified leads and better clients. In short, Archmark focuses on helping build up your business, so you can focus on leading your firm. 

It starts with a free 20-minute strategy review call to learn how your firm can benefit from online lead generation. 

Find out how we can help you. Schedule your free website strategy call and we’ll add in our website evaluation for free (a $199 value).