It doesn’t matter if you hire a pro to build your site, or if you do it yourself, the end result has to be professional. At the end of the day an architect’s website is one that is the face of a business and one that will impact on the staff in that business. But what is a professional site? Here’s a couple key elements
A common mistake architects make in their websites is focusing on style instead of the content. The majority of web developers however focus on the mantra, “content is king”. This is because people use websites that provide them with value, and also because Google ranks sites by content, not style. How we present that content though still counts, especially for creative industries like architecture, so an alternative mantra is “Content is king, but sexy content is even better.”
Professional doesn’t mean cheapest. There is lots of information on the web that explains how to build a site for nothing, but Websites For Architects is more concerned with ROI (return on investment). There is immense value for almost every conceivable business, or organisation to invest in their online presence. So my suggestion here is don’t waste money, but be prepared to spend money on tools and website features that will improve the final outcomes that you want your site to deliver.
The good news however is that you don’t need to spend all that much to get some big improvements. I’ve included a budget page and last time I updated it the total build costs for a professional DIY site was under $100 and running costs were around $30 / month.
This goes for both you, but also the general public. Make sure your site is usable: you’ll update it more, but people will enjoy it more too.
Keep it simple stupid. There are 1000s of articles out there on how to build or tweak a website. All that information can be overwhelming. Our objective here is to keep it simple, keep it secure and only do what actually adds value to your practice.
It’s easy to get caught up in the technical side of websites, but ultimately they’re tools for engaging with other human beings. If you’re building one for your practice it’s probably not because you enjoy building websites as a hobby. It’s because you want some other result. It might be more clients, higher fees or media exposure. All those real things are what websites are really about. My recommendation is to list the actual actions you want your site to deliver, like getting more contact emails from potential clients, and then measure every website decision on those outcomes. If you’re spending time and money on features that don’t result in action then your being ineffective.