Improve your ARCHITECTURE OR ENGINEERING FIRM's Web Presence
Posted by Lindsey Bowshier on Aug 30, 2018 8:31:00 AM
Tribute Media has been working closely with Architecture and Engineering firms on their web presence for the past 11 years, and during this time, we’ve found many similarities in these industries when it comes to online marketing.
Architects and Engineers are technically savvy people, and because of that, some of them have a working knowledge of how to create and maintain a website, or at the very least, want to have the ability to manage the site themselves to make consistent updates to projects and portfolios. On the other hand, for as many firms that are actively maintaining and updating their own sites, there are many, MANY more that have completely let their websites fall to the wayside because they are busy focusing on the activities they are best at and that will directly impact the bottomline: architecture and engineering projects.
Common Problems with Architect and Engineer Websites
If you are an architect or engineer reading this, peruse the common issues below and see if any of them sound like your website.
1. Your website is lacking new technology.
Technology is continually changing, and you of all people know that. People are constantly flooding your inbox and knocking on your doors trying to get you to buy the next greatest CAD software and other technology that will help keep you on top of your game. You might be able to stretch out those upgrades to every five years or so, but with websites, after about two years, if you aren’t updating it regularly, yours is obsolete.
If that sounds crazy, think about it this way: Your website has two sides: the front-end, user-interface design (more on this in the next two items) and the back-end, technical side. Website software plays a crucial role in SEO. For instance, Google updated their algorithm (well, they do that all the time, but…) in 2016 favoring websites that are responsive. Meaning, if your website does not adjust to provide a good user experience on tablets and mobile devices, your search engine rank position is falling, not to mention your potential clients won’t enjoy straining to view your non-responsive content on a small screen.
Other ways your website technology can be hurting you is if your site does not contain necessary back-end metadata such as page titles, image alt text, meta descriptions, etc. If your site is not built in a CMS (content management system) that is SEO-friendly AND easy for you to manage in order to make frequent updates, you will also lose out on the SEO benefits of showing Google that you have a dynamic web presence that you are consistently updating to meet the needs of your visitors.
2. It only appeals to your industry.
We see a lot of architect and engineering firms opt to create their website using an in-house technical team. While it might seem beneficial to have someone who knows your industry build your site, there is a downside. When creating a website in-house, the person building the site might know too much, which can lead to forgetting the most important element of a website: THE AUDIENCE! Too often we see firms trying to outdo the competition in style and functionality and end up building their site to impress other firms. However, those other firms aren’t your intended audience.
Your site needs to answer the questions your potential clients will have involving your services and how they will benefit by working with your firm. When someone from your team leads the design and content direction, sometimes they are too close--they take too much for granted and make assumptions that the end-user knows more than they actually do about hiring an architect or engineer (and this is also true for many other industries).
3. Your site visitors are lost when trying to navigate your site.
It can be tempting to add a lot of fancy functionality and features in an effort to build a website that will 'wow' your prospective clients. But adding bells and whistles just for the sake of having a lot of bells and whistles leads to poor user experience. Same goes for being “different” for the sake of being different or worrying about looking too much like your competitors. There is now a website standard that people have become accustomed to, such as where to find contact information and how to use the website menu.
Yes, there are always concerns about how you will stand out and showcase what makes your company different. But don’t worry, you will! That is where your portfolio comes in. A project gallery should be the shining star of your website. Keep it simple and showcase your best work. If you can avoid adding too many unnecessary images and features that lead to poor user experience, then your site visitors are more likely to stick around your site and ultimately convert to leads and then, everyone’s favorite: customers!
If any of these issues hit home for your architecture or engineering firm, do not despair. Tribute Media can help you evaluate your web presence, for FREE.
Written by Lindsey Bowshier
Lindsey is the director of web strategy at Tribute Media and holds a B.A. in English and Communication with an emphasis in Journalism. Outside of work, Lindsey participates in a "super-cool-not-at-all-nerdy" writing group. Her favorite writer is Dorothy Parker.