I am constantly on the search for amazing designers to interview on the Chaise Lounge Podcast, and in doing so, I go to A LOT of websites. It is true that a website speaks volumes for your business. It is like a big-picture window into your business, as if you had a storefront on Main Street in any big city across America. I think it is imperative that you have a great looking design because YOU are a designer. If your website is sub-par, then people will assume that your designs are sub-par; even though a website has nothing to do with designing interiors.
After looking at HUNDREDS of interior design websites, I thought I would give some tips on designs for creating a great website. NO, I am not a web designer…I just play one on TV. Ha, no way. I wish. I’m not THE website expert, but I know enough about marketing a small business online that I believe I have the street cred to give some quick pointers. If you are looking for help on building a website, this will be a great start.
My top 5 tips for creating an amazing interior design website:
- Less is More. I believe a lot of designers talk about this in interior design as well, especially with contemporary and modern design. But keep your website clean and easy to navigate by giving your audience fewer choices. Maybe only 5 items across the top that are good headers: About, Press, Portfolio, Blog, and Contact Us should cover it. You can have drop-down menus for some, but this keeps your header (at the top) very clean and easy.
Good Graphics. This would include your logo, any buttons, and background surrounding the main area of your website. This is a very common problem on most small business websites. I think most people think they can create it themselves, and you can tell. If your logo is outdated, or if you created it yourself, I suggest getting a new one made. My favorite solution for this is a website called Hatchwise. You can get an amazing logo produced for under $250. Think of it like the centerpiece of a room. For other graphics, you can use Canva. Most things are free, but you can get stock images to use for $1 per image. Great resource.
- Big Pictures. When folks are looking to hire an interior designer, they want to see big pictures that are high quality and lots of them. So make sure your portfolio viewer is easy to navigate, and you have great big pictures of your amazing work. I recommend finding a good photographer. Notice I did NOT say GREAT photographer. Those are just super expensive. When I went looking for a photographer, I found a gal that was a wedding photographer that had also done some commercial (building) work. Most of her gigs were weddings, and that meant she had lots of spare time during the week. She charged me and the designers I have referred her to about $50 per shoot. She charges extra for doing touch-ups, but the photos are really good, much better than I could ever do, AND she makes all the arrangements with the homeowner.
- If a picture is worth a thousand words, what do you think a video is worth? Your viewers will be able to connect with you so much more. Keep them short (about 1-2 minutes), and try to get several on the site. One should be you, telling your BRIEF story. You can have a few testimonials from customers, and then you can do some about design. They are engaging, and really add a stickiness to your website.
- Lots of websites say the same thing: “Timeless design,” “We are passionate about design,” “I love what I do,” and “we listen to our clients.” These are all clichés that I see on a lot interior design website. Very vanilla. I suggest you be different and stand out. Are you just like all designers, or do you have your own style? Don’t be afraid to show it. Let them into who you are, and what you are all about. Make sure your picture is on the About Us page, and you include photos of your team if you have a one. You can even talk about each member of your team individually. Just don’t be boring and like everyone else.
Notice that I did not talk about social media. This is not a post about that. Yes it is important, but it should not be the focus of your website to push people to your social media. It should be the job of social media to push people to your website. I hope this has been helpful, and if you have taken offense to anything I have said, I am sorry. I just want to push you to be the BEST you possibly can be and to grow your interior design business.
If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.