Website Checklist For Architects

Audit your firm’s website so that you can make general improvements to clarity, user experience, positioning and likelihood of visitors taking action.

Decisions required.

  • Are we certain about the type of work that we want to win more of, and the work we want less of, in future? Do we have a goal for this change?
  • What information do we need to convey to our visitors?

The most common flaw with architect’s websites is that they don’t actually contain the information that a visitor needs to make an informed decision. To ensure that you are helping your visitor to get answers to the real questions they have, you can use openers like these on your paragraphs:

  • Our practice primarily works on…
  • Our typical client is…
  • The process begins with…
  • Be the end of the design process, you will…
  • The homes we design are…

By making sure that each paragraph, or sentence, has a specific piece of information to convey, your copy will feel a lot more straightforward. Try your best to consider all of the different things your visitor would be curious about, then answer it somewhere on your site.

  • Who is our business for? Or not for? Do qualified leads feel like our website is personalised to them?
  • Do we have a mission, or purpose, or ethical stance that we need to make sure we convey through our website?
  • Do we have a competitive advantage that we should focus on?
  • What aspects of our process are unique to our firm and not other firms?

To figure that out, compare your firm to your previous workplaces. What do you do differently, in detail? Don’t focus on how you ‘think differently’, what do you actually do differently in terms of process, steps, deliverables, research, testing, presentation and so on?

  • Have we defined our positioning statement?

You can create a positioning statement by answering the following questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What business are you in?
  3. Which people do you serve?
  4. What are the special needs of the people you serve?
  5. With whom are you competing?
  6. What makes you different from those competitors?
  7. What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?

Simple Example: “WOWOWA is an architecture firm for down-to-earth Melbournites who believe that life’s too short for boring spaces. We’re a big team, but working with us doesn’t feel like you’re working with a big architecture firm: above all else, we believe that designing your forever home should be as fun, and relaxed, as possible.”

  • Do we understand where our visitors are in the buying journey?

Buying journey: We like to assume everyone is ready to buy, but that’s rarely the case. Here are a few visitor personas to consider.

  1. Motivated to hire an architect and believe you are the best fit.
  2. Motivated to hire an architect but aren’t sure which firm is best.
  3. Motivated to start a project but aren’t sure whether to hire an architect (thinking of doing it themselves or hiring an unqualified designer.

To maximise the effectiveness of your site you’ll want to accommodate visitors no matter which stage of the journey they’re at.

  • Do we have a clear goal for what we’d like the user to do next after looking at our site?

It’s important that your website encourages and invites visitors to take a next step. Here are some examples you might choose from:

  • Book a consultation.
  • Join your email list.
  • Download a brochure.
  • Fill out a project enquiry form
  • RSVP for an event or webinar.
  • Open live chat and start a conversation.
  • Complete a contact form.

Self-assessment tool.

Does your website meet all of these requirements? Try to find someone who isn’t associated with your firm to spend 5-10 minutes on your site and answer each of these questions (or check out my website audit packages).

  • Website design is pleasant to look at and establishes good taste.
  • Projects are tastefully curated and align with your goals.
  • Positioning is relevant and clear.
  • Ideal client is easily identifiable.
  • Website contains useful information to help your visitors figure out if you’re right for them.
  • There a real people behind the organisation and they appear trustworthy.
  • Next steps are easy to understand and inviting.
  • Messaging is focused and easy to understand.
  • Copy has sense of your personality and tells a story.
  • Contact information is easy to find.
  • Social proof (testimonials, CV, reviews eat) help establish trust and authority.
  • Expectations about your process or expectations for clients are clearly communicated.
  • Firm values are proudly on display.
  • The navigational structure makes it easy to find the information that I’m looking for.

Action items.

  • Implement, or have your web developer implement the changes suggested by the self-assessment tool.
  • Install Hotjar heatmaps HTML snippet.
  • Install Google Analytics HTML snippet.
  • Create a Facebook Ad account using Facebook Ad Manager.
  • Create a Facebook pixel and install the HTML snippet on site.
  • Setup and verify Google Search Console.