By MEGAN JOHANSSON
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking of your website as just a landing page or a one and done endeavor. After all, you hired a web designer five years ago, they created your site, your contact information is on there, so what else could possibly need to be added? (Hint: a lot.)
In today's tech-savvy world, your website is the crux of your business reputation. If it's ignored and never updated, you'll eventually earn a reputation as someone who doesn't have the chops or willingness to compete for new business.
To be fair, it's tough to be constantly changing with the techie times we live in, and of course, nobody expects you to have to take on every single element of web design or social media - you're an interior designer by trade! You should be focused on your craft!
However, you do still need to make your website a major focus of your business if you want to be taken seriously by potential new clientele. Past clients and referrals might not care about your site, but if you're looking to grow, you definitely need to be on top of your website and social media game.
To get you started, I've compiled a list below of 5 proven ways to improve your home design website. Whether you implement these on your own or hire someone to help you get started, these steps will help ensure that you're seen as not only a design expert, but also a design expert with an amazing website.
1. Make sure your layout is user friendly and clean.
Nothing is worse than having to dig around on someone's website to find a contact form or go through endless drop-down menus to find their portfolio. You want your site layout to be clear and easy to use. Decide what your most important website elements are (typically it's your portfolio, about page, services, and contact information), and make those visible right away in your top or side bar.
You'll also want to make sure that the website template you use is visually pleasing. Strategically-placed white space is important so that you aren't overwhelming site visitors with stimulation. Beyond that, you want to make sure you're using a template that is contemporary. If your website looks more like it came from 1998, people will assume that your design work is similarly outdated. Just as design trends change, so too do website styles, so you want to make sure you're focusing on keeping your website fresh and attractive to potential clients.
2. Make sure your website copy aligns with your brand.
If your primary area of focus is luxury design and you tend to work with high-end clients who prefer traditional style, it's probably going to suit you best to keep your website copy formal. But if you work with a myriad of clients from all price ranges and like to throw some vintage elements in the mix on occasion (and your clients love your sense of humor or your casual style), then you should definitely keep your copy more conversational. The bottom line is that your copy should be a reflection of your voice and your brand's strength. The more true you are to that, the more relatable you will be to your potential clients.
3. Make sure your social links are visible and updated.
I can't tell you how many websites I've been on where I go to click on the Facebook link and it either brings me to a personal Facebook page, or the link is broken and leads to nowhere. How will new clients find you if you don't have a social presence that is associated with your company? As much as social media probably controls our lives a little too much, it's crucial to business. Plus, if the links on your site are incorrect or broken, your clients may assume that you just don't care enough to keep it updated (translation: you probably won't care enough to put all of your efforts into their remodel).
4. Use professional photos of your projects.
You do beautiful work and have devoted your career to design, but nothing screams "amateur" like a dark iPhone shot or a poor quality photo of a room you've designed. The curtains you chose for that living room design may have cost a fortune, and the sofa you picked was the culmination of endless hours of research and planning, but I guarantee that none of that will translate if you don't hire a professional photographer who can capture the space in a clear and bright way. Not sure what your photos should look like? Glance through Pinterest or Instagram - the ones that catch your eye and make you stop and say "oooooh that is beautiful" or "must try that on my next remodel" are the types of photos you want on your site.
4. Have an active blog.
Your blog doesn't have to be 9,000 words per post, and you don't necessarily have to post every single day. However, you do want to make sure that you're regularly posting because that helps to set you apart as an expert within the field of design. Your potential clients will look to you for tips, tricks, and inspiration, and on top of that, generating organic content that is interesting and on trend with a focus on current topics will naturally increase your SEO (meaning you'll begin to rank higher on Google). Huzzah!
Ready to get started? You don't have to do all of these at once, but I highly recommend implementing them as soon as possible. If you keep your website as sharp as your design skills, your potential clients will see that you're the best in town. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.