Interior decorating has a couple of new friends in modern technology and these friends make it even easier to create something every designer wishes they had more of: home tours where they could show examples of their work in place, and even show what their designs might look like in a customer’s home.
Those friends have augmented reality and virtual reality. The application of these things to your blog, website, and your business can mean a big boost in both traffic and conversion numbers, and if you don’t have a blog yet with home tours, it is past time to start one.
The thing is, photos are nice, but they only show so much and from a single angle. The big advantage of virtual reality home tours is that largely the user controls the tour and what they see and do not see. How do you create a blog that has these new technology elements? Here are some simple steps.
Set Up a Website if You Don’t Have One
If you do not already have a website or do not have a blog attached to yours, you need to set one up. You may even want to set up a unique spot for your home tours. The reason? This will be a place to generate leads, but it will be different than your other site. The call to action on this blog can certainly point back to your parent site, but it does not have to be directly a part of it, as these tours may develop their own audience. Here is how to set things up.
- Purchase a domain name if you need one: This should be simple, a variation of your business name or your name. You can use a domain name search tool to see what is available and choose the name that works best for you.
- Get Hosting: For a website with the video you will create, you will probably need dedicated hosting or at least hosting with a lot of memory for uploads. Check with your host if you are not sure what you have now, and upgrade if you need to.
- Design Correctly: Your site will get the most traffic from mobile users, because that is where VR and AR work best. Be sure your design keeps that in mind with the rest of your site. If your current site is not mobile ready, update it.
Remember, your site is really your home, and where everything else launches from. Setting it up and getting it right should be your top priority. Once you have it operating smoothly, you can take the next steps.
Get the Right Equipment
For virtual reality tours to work, you will have to film them correctly, which means you will need some equipment. The best thing to do is make a checklist and make sure you understand how it will make your site work.
A 360 Camera: The first thing is that you need to be able to film in virtual reality. This means you need a camera that can take both 360 photos and videos. This type of camera then allows those videos or photos to be viewed using a mobile device or a VR headset, or a combination of the two.
Different cameras come with different features and different software which enables you to do some pretty cool things. Many of them may be irrelevant to your business though, so don’t go so feature heavy that the camera is one you won’t easily understand or be able to use.
A Stabilizer: Your video will be best if you have a shot stabilizer you can mount the camera on. That way the video will be less jarring than it otherwise might be. This shows up more in 360 videos and VR than in standard video and is extremely noticeable. OSMO makes simple stabilizers under $150.
Editing Software: The thing with 360 photos and video is that editing them in standard software will have certain challenges. The effects are not the same, and what works for one part of the photo or video may not work for another. As well, you want to select your default starting position even though the user will be able to move around at will.
These programs do not have to be expensive and more software companies are offering apps and other software that works with 360 videos than ever before.
Once you have the right equipment, you can create some great content.
Test and Test Again
One thing is sure about a new site with new technology. You will have issues and run into new obstacles. The key is to test and test again. See what works and what doesn’t. Try new techniques, software, and equipment. If something fails, replace it. Hire help if you need to in order to get started, and study and listen to experts.
There are countless places, museums and otherwise, that are creating these kinds of tours and even Google has a program that does so for businesses. All of them have learned from their experience and have posted tips and tricks online. There are even tutorials that will show you common pitfalls to avoid.
They key is to keep trying. Your videos and your site will get better and better, and your clients and customers will take notice. The more professional your site, the better.
Home tours are the best way to show off your design work, and today’s tech offers you even more ways to do so. It is simply a matter of embracing it and learning to make it work for you. The benefits to your site and your design business will be worth the effort in the long run.