I was talking to an architect recently about his work and he told me not to rely on what I saw on his website as it was so out of date. Then when I decided to email him, he told me that the spelling of his name (and hence his practice's name) on the email address given on his website was wrong. Websites are meant to be a communication tool, but sometimes they can be more of a miscommunication tool.
Recently Sutherland Lyall and I revived an idea we had a few years ago for appraising and improving architects' websites. Originally we developed a sophisticated matrix for scoring and found some shocking examples, even among the big names. This time we carried out a simplified version, giving a quick fire assessment of six practices' sites in 15 minutes total at the Guerilla Tactics conference for small practices at the RIBA.
Full marks to the six who bared their strengths and weaknesses. And there were some elementary errors: the website with no email address, the site where it appeared at first glance that the practice had built nothing, the practice where none of the work came up on Google. Not to mention the blogs and news sections where most content was a year old.
A good website can be a vital tool in a practice's marketing armoury. A bad one is useless at best and a turn-off at worst. Setting up a website requires commitment. So does maintaining it. But it is an effort worth making.