I speak with so many design professionals and even retailers and am continually amazed at how many don’t have websites at all, or websites that work for them. I have had a website for my design practice since 1994, and even won awards for its design! My biggest clients have always come through the website.
I am now on my fourth incarnation of that site, and can recall when I found another designer had copied my site word for word, inserting her own portfolio. They say copying is the sincerest from of flattery, I didn’t feel flattered, I felt robbed! This latest incarnation at www.melissagaltinteriors.com is by far my simplest and most cost effective to produce but has all the critical elements. There are 5 must haves for every design website.
- Keep it simple and direct in layout, skip the flash. Yes, we all get caught up in the pretty sites that twirl and sparkle, but what you may not know is that that impairs the search engines from finding you. I regularly review websites of my design mentees and often find that they take too long to load, are difficult to navigate, and don’t present a clear message.
- Great photography is essential. That means you likely need to ditch your digitals and invest in a real photographer that has experience shooting interiors and knows the magic of lighting and styling. You can expect to pay by the day $750-$5K or the shot from $250-$650 per shot. Don’t cut corners and use someone that doesn’t know what they are doing, you will regret it!
- You must have an About You or About the Company and it needs to be personal. You also need to include photos, good professional headshots of each person or a group shot if you have a large staff. People like to know who they are working with and when you share selected nuggets of personal information it allows the reader to form priceless points of connection.
- Let your clients talk. Be sure to include either testimonials (sounds kind of clinical) or rave reviews of your work by your clients. You can either write these and have them sign off on them, or you can hire a marketing/PR expert to get these for you (this works brilliantly, a third party will always get more than you can. I had a client once say “Melissa walks on water.”)
- Do get your site search engine optimized (SEO). Without it no one will find you. This isn’t about how often you mention your name in your text. Remember you want to attract those that don’t know you, and they won’t be looking for your name. And for every image you have, you must use titling behind it (a web designer can do this for you, it isn’t visible to viewers) because the search engines (think Google and Yahoo as two of the largest) don’t read graphic images.
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