What are the most important pages for an Interior Design, Architecture, Photography or other Portfolio website?

As you prepare for your website, it’s good to limit the scope of your website and focus in on the most important things you need to say on your website.

The vast majority of your website visitors to your website will only look at 3 pages.

So if you had to only have 3 pages on your website, what would they be?

For most interior designers, architects, and other professionals, it will typically be: Home, Portfolio & Contact.

Below are typical industry average percentages on the numbers of visitors to your website will actually look at a particular page.

100% means 100% of the people who go to your website will view the page.

For instance, only 20% of web visitors will look at your Contact page.  And only 5% will bother to look at a Press page.

Home - 100%
Portfolio - 50%
Services - 25%
Contact - 20%
About (or Team) - 10%
Press - 5%
Blog - 1 to 5%
Resources - 1% 

So, as you prepare your website and decide how large your website should be, and what pages to include, you can look at the list above to determine which pages will be worth it for you to prepare your text & images for.

WordPress Gets You Stuck Relying On Web Developers

If you're familiar with WordPress or older web platforms, you should be glad to know that the age of over-complex website platforms is slowly going away.

Old website platforms keep you stuck and relying on a web developer to make every little change. And web developers are expensive. A half-way decent one typically starts at $100/hr. 

But you don't need to be stuck with an impossible-to-fix website like an old WordPress website. Just like an old car, a WordPress website constantly needs fix-ups, tune-ups, replacements and slapped-on bandages. They're sink holes of money for small businesses.

That is why we only create websites with Squarespace. Even though it's a lot of work to get a website up and running, once it's finished, the maintenance of a Squarespace website is extremely minimal. And we do everything we can to make the entire set-up easy for you to understand.

In fact, most of our clients only need about 4 hours of help per year to keep their website running. That's because a Squarespace website keeps itself running with a stable backend. No plugins to update, no hacking or crashing, no complex coding to fix. 

Plus, we teach you how to edit minor text and image edits on your own. That way, you and your team can easily fine-tune and make changes to the Squarespace website. 

But if you're pressed for time, we're always here to make quick fixes for you fast (on average, a 48 hour turnaround time). 

As a business owner, you need to keep your long-term costs low while being able to put your attention to other areas to keep your business alive and thriving.

We've designed over 600 websites in the last 8 years, so we know the pain-points business owners have about their website. We talk to them about it all the time. So we do everything we can to make the web design process enjoyable and successful for you. 

Have questions about starting your next website design project? Email us at design@jpwdesignstudio.com with your questions or click here to schedule a phone call.

5 Ways Most Architects, Interior Designers & Builders Fail At Marketing

If you're an architect, interior designer, builder, photographer, or contractor, you are in luck. Because most of your competition doesn't know how to marketing clearly to their ideal clientele. 

All you have to do is do things a little differently, and clearly differentiate yourself from your competition. 

Here are 5 things most professional business owners don't do when marketing their business online. 

1 | Most companies don't tell prospective clients exactly what they specialize in.
Most Design, Construction and other professional firms don't tell their visitors exactly what they do right on the home page of their website.  It's not enough to say you are an architect, interior designer, or builder. You must specifically explain your niche, and what you specialize in down to the very closest detail. For instance, if you are a Design/Build firm, a clearer message to your best clientele might read: "We Design & Build Custom Modern Homes For Families in Seattle." Your clear slogan, elevator pitch, or one-liner makes it clear what you do and who you do work for without them having to guess at all. When your visitors are an exact match to what you do, they're much closer to converting as a client of yours because you specialize in exactly what they want!  They'll likely end up not going with anyone else, because they already found the right firm for them - you! 

2 | Most professional firms don't target their clients specifically enough.
Once you have the right slogan that you can use for every single marketing material you use, you can more easily target your ideal clients. For instance, if your best, highest-profit service is building custom modern homes for families in Seattle, you can then use advertising or other marketing methods to speak directly to them. For instance, if your ideal client is women in their 40s or 50s, with children in middle school and high school, that live in Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond, and have an average annual income of $180,000 USD or more, then you can specifically target them online with things like Google Ads. You know who your best customers are, and what your highest-profit/best services are, so you can use that knowledge to target exactly the right kind of people. Once you have a clear primary service and a clear ideal client, then you can run towards marketing & advertising with a clear focus. 

3 | Most professional businesses don't make it clear what the first step their prospective clients should take
There are 2 key things you must do on your website to convert clients with ease. First, you must give them clear step-by-step instructions. You should let visitors know exactly what they need to do to get a "first impression" of your business. You are not trying to convert them into a client immediately. Instead, give them a clear path of "testing you out" that will eventually leave them to signing an agreement. For instance, most design/build firms could use this kind of process: Step 1) Schedule A Free Consultation With Our Team, Step 2) We'll Provide An Estimate & Timeline For Your Project, Step 3) We'll Start & Complete The Perfect Modern Home For Your Family In Seattle. This way, clients know what to expect if they were to work with you. And the first step for your clients is to "Test the waters" with your normal on-boarding process. You want to make sure these potential clients fit your "best client" profile with a no-risk phone call, meeting, appointment, proposal or other means in which you begin the very first steps. 

4 | Most professionals don't follow up with potential clientele regularly enough
Your website is only a first impression. But the average visitor to a brand new website or business (especially if they're hiring you for a custom build or design project) needs at least 7 different impressions of your business before they're ready to get started. While your website is an important first step, you need to continually give potential clients an understanding of what it may be like to work with you, through email marketing, a video, a phone call, a meeting, or a note in the mail. These do not all need to be customized for every single client. Some can be automated, and others can be personalized. Just remember that clients are hesitant to choose an architect, interior designer or photographer because they want to make sure they're making a wise choice. Give them every reason in the world to pick you by engaging several times in a non-intimidating way by answering common questions your clients usually have, address their typical fears or worries of hiring someone, and be more present than any other architect, interior designer, photographer or skilled professional in your industry.

5 | Most companies don't interview their past clients
There are tons of things to learn how you can make your overall process better, primarily by asking your absolute best clients from the past why they liked working with you and what made them choose you. Don't ask for a critique. Ask for what you did right. Your previous clients will give you new ideas of how you can clearly communicate with more clients like them in the future. Surveys and interviews will give you some of the most valuable info your business could ever get and propel you to the next level in your business.

We help architects, interior designers, builders. photographers and other creative professionals to build beautiful websites & plan effective marketing so that they dominate their competition.

Schedule a free phone call to ask your website & marketing questions at: www.jpwdesignstudio.com/contact

Best Business Books For Architects, Interior Designers, Builders & Photographers

As we head into the holidays, you might finally get some time to read some good books (about business, of course)! 

In the last year, I've read some incredible business books that I wanted to share with you. Below are my top three picks for your own business.

If I can recommend just 1 that you read before the end of the year, it would be: 

No. 1 The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. 
This book is about how to focus on your core business strengths and find clients within a very specific niche that you thrive in. Companies like Apple, UPS, and Starbucks thrive because they solve only a couple of very specific problems to a certain kind of customer. The businesses which try to do too much get stuck in managing too many processes, trying to learn too many skills (something I always struggle with personally - too many ideas, and too many interests!)

If you have time for two more books, these would be the next I would recommend you read before the end of the year (or, save some time and listen to them in the Audiobook format). 

No. 2 Building A Storybrand by Donald Miller
If you struggle to explain to clients about what you do, this book is about helping you figure out how to clearly communicate what your business does so that people don't leave your website. Often times, business owners forget how to explain to the common person about what their business does. This book will help you figure out how to think like your clients do, so you can communicate more clearly and simply. 

No. 3 The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
This one I wish I read along time ago - I bought it in 2012 and forgot to ready it! Big mistake. This one is about developing a clear, repeatable process that saves you time and perfects your business model. 

My passion is to help creative businesses grow their own business through beautiful website design and effective marketing. If your website focuses on what your top service is, who your top clients are, clearly explaining your services and process, and having a seamless process to back up your deliverables, I believe you will certainly improve the growth of your business in 2019. 

I hope these books will help your business in 2019! Just read one of them!

Does Squarespace Work For Architects?

If you’ve been told that only a platform like WordPress is best for your architecture firm, whoever told you was wrong. Squarespace puts your architectural firm in charge of your own website by making it easy for you or a member from your team to easily update your website with new project photos and updates. Archaic web technologies, like WordPress, put you at the mercy of a web developer for your architectural marketing. Here are a few architectural websites we’ve done for our clients on Squarespace.

Request a free phone consult on pricing for a minimalist website design.

The 3 Most Important Things Your Interior Design, Architecture or Construction Website Should Have

Most architects, interior designers, photographers and other professionals showcase just their portfolio or services. But that’s not enough to drive new leads on your website.

You must establish a specific niche that clearly targets your ideal kind of clients. The ones you enjoy working with, and the ones you know how to service really well. 

Instead of just using beautiful pictures, your website needs these to display these 3 most important pieces of information:

  1. What is your market niche and primary service? If you're an Architect, is your best selling service designing mid-rise buildings in Seattle? If you're an Interior Designer, do you specialize in elaborate Master Bedroom spaces in Texas? If you're a Photographer, do your best clients come from commercial photography for law firms in Chicago? Establishing a clear niche helps you target your best clients, and they'll respond to your website immediately because you're a 100% match to their needs.

  2. Why will your specific niche help solve your client's problems? Clients are looking to solve problems and experience progress. How do your services specifically address your client's concerns? Will your interior design services save your clients tons of money? Will your architectural services address the complex zoning laws of New York? Will your construction company get the project done on time no matter what it takes? What is the unique offering you have that no other firm in your industry can accomplish the way you can? 

  3. How can your clients easily take the first step in working with you? Your website needs to be the very first interaction clients take with you. And it needs to be so darn simple, they'll practically stumble into it because it requires very little effort. Clearly show how clients can make the first step towards potentially work with you, either by providing a free consult, a free meeting, by filling out a project questionnaire, or by requesting a proposal. Make this "Call To Action" so easy to find, that it's on every single page as clickable, rectangular button. 

If you have these 3 things on your website, you'll already be ahead of 80% of interior designers, architects, photographers or other professional business in your industry
Most creative businesses don't make these things clear on their website. And they're losing business because of it.

The most important pages and content for Architecture, Interior Design, Builders & Photography Websites

You are trying to plan for your website, right? Because every business needs a website to display their most professional work.

I have you covered.

The three most important pages on your website are:

  • The home page

  • Your portfolio

  • Your contact page

Why? Because that’s what your clients want to see. They want to see your work, and they want to see if you’re the right fit for their project.

95% of visitors look at these 3 pages only. The other pages are often skipped over. People are pressed for time. They want to make a decision on who to hire. And they’re looking at 5 or 10 of your competitors. Give them what they want!

When I design websites for commercial photographers, architects, interior designers, and builders, I tie every single page to the "Contact" page. That is where we want people to end up to "Take Action" on your website.

So at the end of every single web page, you need a clear way for people to get started with you. They’re not going to hire you today. They just want to see if you’re maybe, possibly, the right fit for their needs.

So use works like: "Here is how to take the first step in working with us, get a proposal, request a phone call, or schedule a meeting". 

On the home page of your website, you need to account for these 3 areas:

  1. Explain clearly what you do so people aren't confused

  2. Tell people why you can clearly tackle the problems they are having and take care of their worries

  3. Tell them how to take the very first step, the easiest step in order to see if your business is the right fit for your clients 

Do this, and you will already top 95% of your competitors. Because no one in the industries of architecture, interior design, custom home building, or commercial photography do this. They just take pretty pictures of their work, but don’t give clients any context or meaning.

After all, your clients are worried if you will actually solve their problems and do it professionally. So clearly showcase that you can by addressing their fears.