If an interior designer’s website looks sloppy and unprofessional, how can you trust them to design your home? The likely answer is, you won’t. More than ever, creative professions face the pressure to create a well-designed website. However, website design is usually not one of the main courses offered at design school.
That’s where we come in. “Your interior design website needs to be as user-friendly, inviting, and inspiring as possible,” says Kelly Hoppen of Kelly Hoppen Interiors. “This is absolutely crucial if you want it to be successful.” That may seem like a tall order, but we spoke to her and other interior design pros to collect some of the best practices that will be sure to impress clients and journalists.
First and foremost, if you don’t already have a website, make one! These days it’s easy and cost efficient with Jimdo’s DIY website builder. Once that’s done, follow these steps to optimize your interior design site:
1. Create a plan
As a designer, you’re used to creating floor plans and inspiration boards for your clients. Now, it’s time to do the same for your website. Figure out what information is most important to share with current and potential clients and get your materials ready. To prepare your site: identify your audience, tailor your message, and create your site plan. Here’s what every site should include:
This is one of the most important pages of your site. It’s time to show off all your hard work! The best online portfolios are organized by style (modern, traditional, commercial, showcase, etc). Organizing your portfolio by style will make it easier for clients to find examples of work you’ve done that aligns most with their taste. Try to avoid flash and long slideshows; keep it simple. If a slideshow is crucial to the success of your site, it’s easy to install a widget like PhotoSnack to help.
The content of your portfolio is equally important. Describe each piece of your work and remember to use keywords to help with SEO. The text you use also provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your personality and not only prove to clients you produce great work but that you’re fun and interesting to work with.
Inspiration: Kendall Wilkinson Design
Your ‘About Me’ page
Since interior design is a client-facing profession, it’s important to make your bio professional and personal. Clients are looking to hire someone they will enjoy spending time with, so sell yourself! Don’t just talk about your work accomplishments, also add your personal interests, mention if you have kids or a funny anecdote that landed you in this field. Be sure to add a picture of yourself along with your bio.
Inspiration: Jennifer Reynolds Interiors
Not all clients are looking for a full-blown makeover for their home. Specify what services you provide, from space planning to consultations to full-service design.
Inspiration: Beasley & Henley Interior Design
Press and testimonials
One of the biggest assets of any website is credibility. How can new visitors to your site trust that you will do a good job?
A strong case for proving you’re a talented designer is sharing any coverage you have had in magazines or blogs. If you don’t have any coverage yet, that’s ok! Your best salesman is a past client. Get a few sentences from clients sharing their experience with you and add them to your site.
Inspiration: Heather Garrett Interior Design
2. Start decorating
Naturally, designing your site should be the fun part. Apply your pre-existing designer insights to the development of your site. Don’t over-do it; use statement pieces to show personality, and focus on the structure.
- Background: Choose one solid background color that fits your brand. You want clients to focus on your designs, not a distracting wallpaper or image on your site.
- Font: Create your website’s content with a sans-serif font (typefaces that do not have the small projecting “serifs” at the end of strokes). This will make it more readable. Don’t overdo the decorative fonts—they can be very hard to read.
- Images: The pages on your site besides your portfolio can and should also feature high-quality images from your work. If you feel the need to use images other than from your portfolio, check out where to find free and beautiful stock photos.
- Structure: The structure of your site is very important. Keep your navigation minimal and use drop-down menus to direct visitors to additional pages on your site only if necessary. Typically, all you need in your top navigation is Home, About, Design Services, Portfolio, Testimonials, and Contact. Most importantly, make a good first impression with a well-structured homepage.
3. Track your most popular content
Google Analytics is the best way to keep tabs on what parts of your site are working well. Once you’ve set up your account, keep tabs on which pages get the most visits. Use some of the basic Google Analytics reports to see which pages are attracting visitors, and which ones are losing them.
One of the most important things you can track in analytics is your portfolio. How many people are visiting your modern designs versus your traditional designs? Is one design seeing significantly more traffic than the rest? You may want to reorder your portfolio based on these types of results.
4. Get discovered!
How do you get your site to show up first in the search results? You need to work on your SEO (search engine optimization). This is a foreign topic to many people, but there are quick fixes that anyone can do to help with their site’s SEO. These are a few things you should focus on right away:
- Make sure you show up in local searches: Use Moz Local to help ensure you appear in local search results and beyond.
- Use your alt tags: Alt tags (or alternative text) are the descriptions you write for the images on your website. These are very important for designers’ portfolios. Whenever you add an image to your website, the actual raw file should be saved with a targeted keyword. More importantly, you should add the targeted keyword to the alt text of the image, once it’s been uploaded to your site.
- Share your content on other sites: Another way to boost your SEO is to get your content spread on other sites. Make sure your images and content are shared on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.
There you have it: the guiding steps to completing a site that brings you success on and off the web. Thanks to all the designers who shared their tips with us! Questions? Comments? Let us know below.