What should I put on my interior design website?
Dear interior designers,
You want to know what to put on your website that will help you earn trust with potential clients so that they'll call you for an initial consultation. In this blog post, I will summarize 10 key elements, and tips on each of them.
It's often said that people don't care what you do until they know who you are. It's no wonder that the about page is often the first page a visitor will click on. Now, there are various philosophies on how to write a great bio. Here's one way to think about it. Generally, designers looking to attract projects with larger budgets should follow a more formal approach, whereas designers realistically looking to attract clients in the lower and medium range should go with a more personable approach. Here are links to several of my favorite bios (organized from formal to personable): Susan Hill Interior Design, Kelley Price Interiors, Canaan Ward.
So much is conveyed through the face. In fact, whether a client calls you or not could come down to how they feel when they view your photo. Thus, the importance of your photo cannot be overstated. In addition, photos of you work well to strengthen your brand identity throughout your site. I generally recommend that interior designers have a lifestyle shoot done in an interior. Within that interior, you should aim to get at least 3 photos of you for your home page and about page, and at least three detail photos of the space which are great for pages such as process and contact. See how lifestyle shots are used on this site: Susan Hill Interior Design
3. Client letter OR Reflection piece
A client letter is a letter written to your target client. A reflection piece is a piece of writing that explores your values and believes. In both cases, they are written in the first person voice, and can be a very powerful way to build trust with your reader. But which route is right for you? Generally, if you want to come across very personable and approachable, go with the client letter. If you want to come across a bit more exclusive and a bit hard to get (like a sought after artist) a reflection piece works well. Of course, you could do both if you wanted. Here are examples of each: Susan Hill Interior Design, Christopher Kennedy.
4. Photos of your work
What would an interior designer's website be without photos of their work? Clearly, your portfolio is the heart of your website. The more large and immersive you can make your photos feel on your site, the more impact they will have. For a designer still starting out, I generally suggest having at least 3 projects in your portfolio with about 5-7 photos each. For an example of how to stretch a small portfolio, see this site: Heather Bentley Design.
5. Project descriptions
Project descriptions appear with photos in your portfolio. Project descriptions describe the goal of the project, and they highlight your design choices and custom work. They may also contain before photos. Project descriptions add depth to your work and bring your projects to life. Without descriptions, your portfolio may come across as merely a collection of pretty photos as opposed to proof of your ability to redefine spaces and transform lives. Examples of project synopses: Boo Randle, Kelley Price Interiors
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of an interior designer's website, but I see it as hugely important. Your approach could be defined as a set of primary principles that are at the heart of how your design spaces and work with clients. Every designer's set of principles will be at least a little different. Here are some examples of principles (in no particular order):
- Your space should fit the way you live
- Transforming your home can transform you life
- Color creates mood
- Accessories are the jewelry of a space
- Art adds depth
- Beautiful process begets beautiful product
Note: your approach should not be confused with your process. Your approach is a set of principles, whereas your process is a set of steps. See how I have articulated my own approach.
Laying out a ladder of services communicates that you have a system to charge for your work, which builds trust. It also allows you to offer gateway services such as "Design for a Day", or "Room Refresh", which get clients in the door, leading to larger projects down the road. Example of a service page: AFP Interiors
Clients want to know they are hiring a designer who is organized and has a step by step process. Articulating your process on your website reassures clients you are capable of leading their project from start to finish. There are various ways to show your process. Here are a couple: Dane Austin Design, Boo Randle, Kelley Price Interiors
An FAQ section of your site is a great place to address certain key questions that almost every client would want to ask before booking you for an initial consultation. Below are questions I recommend every designer consider answering on their site:
- What areas do you serve
- How long does the process take
- What's your style
- Are you willing to do just one room
- Are you able to incorporate existing pieces
- How do you price your work
Note that you don't need to necessarily answer each of these questions, but you should address it. For example, you may not have a signature style per say, but this is certainly a question a potential client might ask. So how would you naturally respond? Write that. Example: Dane Austin Interior Design
Testimonials on your site are your opportunity to include glowing praise of you and your work. Of course, "Testimonials" is not a highly clicked on button in the navigation of a website because readers often don't know if they can trust the testimonials. Here are three tips to address that:
- Place individual testimonials at the bottom of certain pages of your site. This way, readers will come across them naturally, without having to visit the testimonial page See example: Susan Hill Interior Design
- To give your testimonials more integrity, consider asking your client's permission to include their last name, and include the month and year in which the testimonial was written.
- Consider asking your clients if they would post their testimonial as a review or recommendation on your Facebook business page.
Remember, the job your website is to earn trust with potential clients. Each of the 10 essential elements listed above support that goal. Of course, there are plenty of additional elements that will earn even more trust (see list below).
I hope this blog post has been helpful for you. If you would like help with your website, I invite you to learn more about how I help interior designers. Make sure you drop by my Info page, which lays out my services, approach, pricing, and more.
Here are other elements that didn't make my list of of 10, but which can still add value to your website.
A list of the benefits of working with you
Description of ideal client. "I'm looking to work with those who..."
Professional email address
List of press
List of awards
Quotes from others
Quotes from yourself
Terms and conditions