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Every day we spend quite some time visiting architect’s websites (maybe even yours!) to be up to date with new and ongoing projects.
It’s a very fun part of our job, especially when websites have a good design and usability. However from time to time we stumble upon websites that are very difficult to browse, or present projects in a way that you can’t even understand them.
You know that we as architects have the ability to design “from a spoon to a city”, and a website should be among those things we can (and should) design, especially when it is one of our most important marketing tools. I’m not saying that you should learn HTML and code your own website, but as we know from our work, an informed client is a good client. Therefore, having a good idea on what your website should offer to its visitors can help you relate with the person you hire to maintain it, the same way we love when a client has a clear idea on how they want their building to be… and not asking for a “green roof” just because they read it in some random magazine.
Below you will find a few tips that can help you on this process. I’m very confident that some of you may already know about some of them, and it’d be great if you could share your comments based on your experience.
Some might disagree with me… but a white background is a must. It will make your photos stand out, nothing is more important than your projects.
The most important part of your website. You can write the most compelling project description, but if you use a low res tilted photo you will totally loose the visitors attention. I put this in second just because of its relation to #1. During your career you must have taken lots of photos, and it’s something that should be easy for most architects. But if you feel like you don’t have any skills at all, there are several amazing architecture photographers that can help you show your creation to the world.
3. Flash (not)
I can assure that a high percentage of architects websites do not get updated on a regular basis once they go live. How often do we see a site that features a rendering from 2002 with unfortunately no followup. A potential client may have experienced one of your buildings first hand, found your website, and then disappointedly discovers that you haven’t updated this project in over 6 years. Architects visit the construction site on almost a weekly basis, and often document the progress by taking digital photographs, now even with our phones. Why not share the progress with the rest of the world, and show that your practice is up to date and running? I know this can be time consuming, but #5 can help you a bit.
A CMS (Content Management System) can enable you to edit your website from your office, worksite or even from your phone after the jury has announced you as the grand winner of a competition. By using a CMS for your website you don’t need a web expert for the updates, you or someone at the office can do it in an easy way. The best CMS programs in my opinion are WordPress and Indexhibit, but services such as Tumblr can do the same free and easy.
I really like when the website not only shows the work, but also a bit about the architects themselves. It’s great to know our peers and their background.