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Should an interior designer really use Houzz.com?

“Oh no not another online directory!” you cry.

“Surely a waste of space!” you bemoan.

“Wrong!” I say with gusto (whatever that is).

As an interior designer you’ve probably been attracted to houzz.com to look at the many high quality interiors images there. And there are literally tens of thousands of high quality images. We’ll come back to those in a minute but first we’ll look at some other benefits for you being in that online space.

Houzz.com *IS* a popular web destination. It is used by your competitors and also possibly by future residential clients of yours. It’s always good to hang out with clients right? You keep telling me networking is important so I guess you are with me so far?

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There are lots of discussions initiated by potential residential clients. If you buy into how social media works then you will already know that.

  • Talking to someone and helping them could possibly lead to a sale (or a waste of time).
  • Talking to someone digitally leaves a record. Someone in the future could come along with the same problem and decide to talk to you based on your response.
  • Someone could be doing a bit of research into you and your opinions before deciding to contact you.

Of course if you haven’t bought into social media then you’ll think it’s a load of nonsense and you probably should stop reading this now as I’m surely wasting your time!

You can create “idea books” on Houzz. So you can pull together some of your images and perhaps somebody else’s images. You can then use these as part of a presentation to your client, for example. Or you could get your client to pull together an idea book and review that after they’ve finished. The danger there of course is that the client has control of the ‘digital capital’ and may tout around his/her likes and dislikes to your competitors. One issue with doing this on Houzz is that sometimes images are incorrectly tagged and so sometimes you are presented with the wrong images and/or you can’t find the right ones. Another potential issue with Houzz, which I have not verified, is that some images on Houzz become copyrighted by Houzz (I’m not quite sure how they manage that legally but that’s another issue, just be aware).

Any idea books you create stay on houzz and may be seen and liked by other potential customers or copied by competitors or taken to competitors by less discerning clients.

If you put together a pretty coherent theme then that could be seen as giving away your creative work to other people or it could be seen as you being a confident and competent designer worthy of considering for a client’s next project. So it could get you the chance of winning some business.

There are ways to embed “idea books” back onto your website/blog. This is good in that someone else is managing the hosting and techy stuff behind the display of your images and ideas. HOWEVER, and this is importnat, such embedded bits of digital stuff will encourage people to click back to houzz. So you will inadvertently be encouraging a potential customer (or existing customer) back to houzz and potentially out of the eager creative grasp of your web site or blog.

So I’d think carefully about that.

You can of course use houzz as yet another online directory. It’s probably better than most because of the aesthetics and wealth of quality images.

Why not, go for it! See how it works out? It’s free after all.

On sites that you think MAY turn out to be useful I would always recommend using a special link to your web site on that site directory listing/profile of you. That way you will be able to track the number of hits your site receives from houzz. eg you will have index.htm so create an identical copy of that called index-houzz.htm or index1.htm something like that. I hope that makes sense without gettign too technical. Don’t bother doing this if you are sceptical of houzz.

What i like about houzz is that it draws the user into it. It makes the user (your potential customer) stay there and play around. This is an important thing to bear in mind as most potential cients that go to your site will say there between 10 and 60 seconds (if you are lucky). So anywhere that encourages people to stay is POTENTIALLY a good place for YOU to establish a profile.

If you are a designer who needs a bit of inspiration from time to time then you can get that on houzz. But again you’ll probably just be going there for product inspiration, right? As you would never want to (ahem) match/copy/change-a-bit someone else’s interior design ideas! Would you?

Houzz has the idea of region or metro area. That’s nothing amazing but it does help potential clients find a local designer.

I think the main draw is the huge volume of images with relatively straightforward ways of getting to that information and, importantly, an EASY way to then copy or “cut and paste” those ideas into an idea book. That’s what houzz fundamentally is built upon CONTENT and ORGANIZATION…photo-content, how they are indexed and displayed and how easily you can copy and create custom content.

Summary: It’s good! Wish I’d thought of it.

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4 thoughts on “Interior Designers – To Houzz or not to Houzz?

  1. If you love Houzz like I do, you might also like HomeZada. HomeZada takes the next step in home improvement and design projects. You can track your home improvement projects, your home inventory and your home’s maintenance all in one app called HomeZada.

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  2. I agree – Houzz is an interesting app for discussing client’s likes and dislikes once they are in your hands. I recently went to a lecture regarding the benefits and drawbacks of Houzz – the main drawback, which they do not openly discuss – once you download your images, Houz now claims them – so I would think twice.

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  3. Pingback: The Business Bible For Interior Designers « KOTHEA The Fabric Blog

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