5 Common Mistakes Most Interior Design Websites Make
Your website is the front door to your business. Think of prospective clients as window shopping across the internet, deciding whether to poke their heads in for a quick glance at your style, then moving on if it doesn’t resonate. The problem is, they’ll never even start browsing if they’re distracted by a website that isn’t user-friendly.
That means simple mistakes that lessen a user’s experience could cost you website visitors, which translates into lost prospects and revenue. Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy website with all the bells and whistles to win clients –– you just need to avoid these five common website blunders that will distract users and lose them before they have a chance to get to know your eye for design.
1. Way Too Much Going On
Remember those Geocities websites from the 90s? These relics of early web design did both everything and nothing. They were often a long, scrolling page of heavy text, background illustration, images, and captions, all thrown together in one place. Now, we recognize that’s bad user experience (UX).
But, too often, we still see design websites that fall into this same trap of trying to say everything and, as a result, saying nothing. A designer, or any business, benefits from answering three user questions immediately:
- What do you do?
- What’s in it for me?
- What do I do next?
This is all you need to do on your home page. With these three answers, a user knows whether they want to learn more –– and they don’t have to go searching to find out whether you offer e-design or holiday styling or whatever it is they specifically want to hire right now.
2. You Don’t Know Your Brand
Every business needs a brand purpose and creative businesses are no different. You need to drill down to why you’re proud to be a designer and the impact you believe it makes on your life and your clients’, and you need to succinctly say that in one to two sentences. That feeling will pull through into everything on your website, across social media, and carry into in-person interactions.
An important note for designers: often, YOU are your brand. A client will be working closely with you and/or your team, so introduce them to the people behind the pretty images. Humans don’t hire companies –– they hire humans. Letting visitors get to know you will make them more comfortable reaching out and initiating that first conversation.
3. The Visitor is Not the Main Focus
Your UX needs to look well-designed but, more importantly, it needs to take into account the intuitive steps that a user will take as soon as they arrive. Studies show that users will first open your homepage to see what you do, then visit your portfolio page to get a flavor for your work. If the first two steps go well, they’ll go to your contact page to contemplate getting in touch.
All three of these steps need to be easy, clear, and accessible. If you lose them along the way, chances are, they aren’t going to dig around to get back on track.
4. Words, Words, and More Words
There’s a careful balance to saying just enough, but most of us lean in the direction of too much rather than too little. Before we know it, we’re falling into mistake #1 –– too much on the page, which can cause your main message and goals to get lost in the shuffle. Here’s the truth: you don’t need to tell a lead everything on the first page! There’s a reason FAQ and About pages exist. Plus, when you leave a few of the extraneous details out, it gives people a reason to contact you.
So, as a designer, flex your eye in a different way. Look at your website the same way you would a space. Meticulously analyze the spacing and use of negative and positive. Make adjustments to keep the flow feeling natural. Style it with a pop of text or a bold image here or there. Keep it interactive in order to keep the visitor on your website for long (this is good for your analytics and SEO!).
5. Confusing Call to Actions
As a general rule, there should be one clear call to action (CTA) per page. This is perhaps the most critical step in a successful interior design website because, without conversion, your business can’t grow. And, if you include more than one CTA, you risk confusing people or splitting their attention.
The exact CTA varies depending on how you’ve formatted your business, but it needs to be concise, efficient, and attractive to your client. It could be to purchase an item, schedule a call, follow you on social, or simply to capture their information through a downloadable freebie.
Regardless of where you lead them, there should be only one clear CTA per page –– do not confuse people or split their attention. They want you to tell them what to do rather than try to figure it out themselves.
A Few Bonus Tips to Improve Your Interior Design Website
Your first step in auditing your interior design website and optimizing it for revenue growth is checking for each of the five mistakes above and tweaking as needed. But, if we go back to the store analogy, and consider the previous steps necessary for setting up an appealing storefront, think of these bonus tips as the perfume you pump into the store to create ambiance.
Ask for testimonials! Your current and former clients are your best form of marketing. And, while you don’t want to overwhelm your website with copy, there’s always room for a few carefully chosen words from someone who’s used your services and will happily wax poetic about your fabulous design talents. These can either live on a dedicated testimonial page or you can sprinkle them on other pages where they may be relevant.
Invest in an SEO consultant. SEO consulting is expensive, we know, but your website is only as good as the eyes that you can get on it.You could see a significant ROI by bringing in an SEO consultant when you’re starting out. Then, once the foundation is in place, you can learn the basics through Yoast or another plugin.
Lastly, don’t forget to prioritize the mobile experience. The user journey often goes from Instagram or Pinterest to a website, so you have to expect that many of your visitors will come to you on their phone. You want their experience to be cohesive and consistent from the time they click “link in bio.”
If you’re ready to redesign your website for revenue growth, contact SideDoor today. We have over two decades of experience in the industry and that inspired us to create the one-of-a-kind Design Partner shoppable tool to help you streamline your website and social for interior design success. Additionally, SideDoor works with talented website specialists who can help you create a beautifully designed, branded, and optimized website that will wow clients and leads alike.