Last week I covered brand building strategies for architects and engineers and talked about some of the most effective brand strategies, as well as some brand building blunders. As mentioned before, effective brand strategy can and will help firms increase their reputation, relevance, and visibility, which is key when building a client base. Make sure to check out our comprehensive Brand Building Guide for a full set of branding ammunition.
An important way architecture and engineering firms can leverage their brand is by optimizing their website. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, here are a few examples of some firms that successfully, or in some cases not, leverage their brand.
The ARUP homepage, for instance, is not optimized for search engines. There are also too many navigation options, which could cause confusion for visitors.
When a visitor arrives at the Thornton Tomasetti website, it is not immediately clear what services they provide. It is often a good idea to lead with a positioning slide on the homepage so that visitors — in five seconds or less — can grasp exactly what your business does. The homepage does provide clear pathways that cater to different audiences, but the firm might want to consider leading with educational content such as blog posts.
BHB Consulting Engineers—www.bhbengineers.com
The first thing you notice about the BHB homepage is its prominent Flash animation. Flash, however, will not play on many mobile devices, so many viewers will miss the messaging and visual interest conveyed by the animation. Aside from the animation, the main focus of the site is Proposal Assist. What exactly is Proposal Assist? What happens when you click on it? The site’s intent for visitors is unclear. Site pathways appear to be focused solely on hiring. What else does this firm have to offer?
Modative has done a good job with its site. Navigation is easy to use and intuitive, and their positioning is clearly stated. Blog content appears directly on the homepage, which keeps the page fresh and up-to-date. And providing downloadable content allows for this firm to demonstrate thought leadership in their industry.
The first thing you see when you come to GHT’s site is their work and value proposition are featured right up front. The animated “main stage” area provides samples of past work, as well as three distinct pathways for visitors with different interests. Finally, the navigation options are clear and intuitive. GHT has optimized their homepage for SEO.
Munnelly’s homepage is also optimized for search engines, and it is obvious what services they provide. There are clear pathways for different visitor groups, and several social-sharing options available. This is not, however, any evidence of thought leadership or valuable content that might attract interested visitors.
So there you have it, some good and not-so-great examples of Architecture, Engineering and Construction firm websites. The take-aways?
Clearly communicate what you do, provide clear pathways so visitors can navigate your site with ease, and make your navigation straightforward and easy to grasp. If your firm is considering re-launching its website, I invite you to check out our Website Planning Guide.
You must also add SEO optimization and some valuable content, and you will have a world-class web presence. To help you lay the foundation for building your brand, download our free Brand Building Guide.