I have been sent a link by PM+A Marketing on architectural websites. Those of you who are designing new or redesigning existing websites for your business may be interested in their article about how to make your online presence (website and social marketing) work for you. Its probably an issue that is becoming more prevalent as most people generally now search for you online to get an idea about not just your work, but who you are and how you work. Its interesting that while working within a design field, architectural websites can often be quite lacking (and I know I’m not really one to talk with this website, but mine is not a commercial interest!) This also reminded me of this brilliant series by the ever-helpful Nic Granleese.
There are a few issues with the online presence of architecture, as noted in both these resources. One is the SEO keyword issue – as anyone who is constantly being spammed by computer programmers (like me!) with offers to ‘get your website at the top of the Google search list’ knows, you can pay to have your site at the top of all lists. That doesn’t necessarily mean your work is the most suitable, and also relies on the theory that people will search generic terms like ‘Perth architect’. Which I’m not sure they would. I would like to think they search for more terms like residential, hospitality, educational, sustainable, award-winning, innovation or community? A good website has to be relevant for the searcher, so information needs to be clear, concise and the site easy to navigate around. There is no point being the top of the Google rankings if viewers can’t then find your information to contact you, or examples of your work from the past few years (really, the work you did in the late nineties should no longer be on your website. You know who you are!).
But another important factor in the online presence of a firm is the social nature of electronic communication. And by this I mean blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. People want to see behind the firm, who the people are, what they’re interested in, what the firms does besides just architecture. And the problem with this then is that it needs to be current, and constantly updated, to be effective. There is nothing worse than a ‘follow us on Twitter’ button which connects to an account that never gets tweeted from. Its a big responsibility, and time consuming. Perth firms which I personally think do it really well are the blogs/journals of CODA Studio and Gresley Abas, the research blog of Woods Bagot and the Facebook page of Fratelle Group. I think these guys all go the extra mile to show who they are as a firm and gives there brand a larger presence, as they show the personal side of our industry. I like that they all share information from other sources, such as articles of interest, and do not use their blogs only to advertise their own work. It gives the impression of a firm who is interested in the latest research and willing to listen to divergent opinions. Not sure if this translates into more work but I know I appreciate it as a fellow architect!
How do you deal with your website design. Any tips/tricks you want to share? And how about social media? Does it all just make us feel warm and fuzzy or does it also lead to commercial work? And when do we get time to do architecture in between all this tweeting, updating and website design??