As a designer, your level of taste is judged every day. From the clothes you wear to the spaces you create. It’s no surprise then that your website is a big part of what informs a client’s decision to hire you. After all, if your website lacks style, why would clients expect you to do any better for them?
Last week, we announced an exciting new partnership between ASID and .design domain names. At ASID.design, each member of ASID can now claim a free .design domain name for their website as well as a coordinating email address. These domains and email addresses look great on business cards and resumes, and bring an innovative and elegant approach to your personal branding. We believe every design professional should be online, with a smart website and brand treatment to match. This is now more attainable than ever, especially since the package is rounded out with a free integration to the Weebly website builder.
In order to help you make the most of this new opportunity, we’ve brainstormed a number of ways to bring your online branding to the next level. Try these simple touch-ups to make the most of your online branding.
1. Register a .design Domain Name
First things first. Take a closer look at your current domain name. Is it interesting? Is it easy to understand when read or spoken? Does it tell your potential customers anything about your company? A great-looking domain name entices visitors to your site, and sets the stage for your brand.
Search for your very own .design domain. ASID members receive a 40 percent discount on annual renewal costs.
2. Use a Professional Email Address
It’s amazing how many professionals are still using their @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc. as their professional email addresses. It’s easy to stand out from the competition by switching to a professional-looking email address that matches your domain name!
For example, if you register the domain jones.design, you can create the email address email@example.com, and others to go with it.
Taking advantage of this opportunity has multiple benefits. Firstly, you can make a one-person design studio look much larger. Think firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. Secondly, this can also help you stay organized by automatically filing emails into separate categories.
When choosing a domain name, the resulting email addresses should be as much a factor in the decision as the web address itself. Will the email addresses be concise enough for clients to type without making mistakes? Is it easy to relay an email address over the phone? Is there an opportunity to have some fun? If your brand has a more relaxed and friendly vibe, why settle for firstname.lastname@example.org when you can choose email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
For people to take your business seriously, you need to show that you take it seriously as well. Even an impeccably designed website won’t work to its full potential if your clients are receiving emails from a hotmail or aol email address.
3. Don’t Neglect SEO
Search engine optimization seems like an overused buzzword sometimes, but its importance should not be underestimated. It’s a complex subject, to say the least, but there are some basic SEO improvements that will increase the likelihood that a potential client finds your website near the top of the list when searching online.
Decide on the keyword(s) for each page within your website. Think of the words most people will type into Google that will bring up your page. For example, one keyword/phrase for an interior design site could be, “How much does an interior designer cost?” Make sure that phrase appears within the page.
4. Get Creative With Your CTAs
Calls to action (CTAs), such as Contact Us and Learn More might be clear and direct, but they lack a bit of personality. You’re not generic and neither is you style, so have some fun here! Switching to something that speaks to your brand’s personality can go a long way. “Say hello,” instead of “contact me,” for example, has a lighter, more conversational feeling.
5. Address Image Quality
A website that contains low-resolution imagery immediately reads as amateurish. Use different devices and screen sizes to view your website. If any of your imagery looks a little fuzzy, swap it out for something new.
Investing in a professional photographer can help do justice to your beautifully designed spaces as well. Professional real estate photographers typically charge $100 – $300 for a photo shoot. If you’re only shooting one or two rooms, you will likely be able to negotiate for a lower rate.
6. Change Up Your Color Scheme
We know what a fresh coat of paint or even new throw pillows can do for a room. Simply changing your website’s color scheme can give both you and your visitors a new way to look at your site.
7. It’s the Little Things…
It seems trivial relative to a brand refresh, yet many people assume they’ve caught every copy error or broken link on their websites. It pays to have a couple of friends or acquaintances read over your site and use it as though they were a potential client. They’re sure to uncover a tiny error or two, and it’s always nice to have a fresh set of eyes.
Did you recently give your online presence a makeover? Let us know what updates were most worthwhile! Haven’t given your online brand a makeover yet? Click here to search for your own .design domain!
About the Author
Jordyn Barton is the director of marketing for our Portland, Oregon based Industry Partner, .design domain names, and their associated registrar Porkbun.com. She has spent over a decade in the fields of marketing and advertising, and has a passion for helping companies be their best selves.