With today’s brands communicating across an endless array of online marketing vehicles and avenues, just how important is content to web design? We asked several design and marketing experts, and here’s what they had to say.
“Content should be the most important part of any web design. The whole reason a website is being created in the first place is because there is some kind of content to be shared. Ideally, that content is conveying some kind of message, selling a product, teaching your users something, etc.
“The content itself will most likely have to be edited. This includes copy, photos, video, blog entries, even pages — anything and everything that appears on your website should be whittled down to the absolute essentials. Keep your message strong by using only the content that strongly conveys your message.
“When approaching a new web project, we always start by assuming that the website will be a frame for the content. In other words, the site itself should highlight and enhance the content without getting in the way of the message. This, of course, also applies to the design. Simple is better and, in general, personality comes from the content and how well it’s been framed, not by unnecessary frills like stock photography and animations.”
Follow Bryce @ovonovodesign
Lead Designer, BSideStudios
“There is a famous saying popularized by Bill Gates, which is ‘Content Is King’, and it couldn’t be more right in today’s times. He said that content is where the money will be. The phrase stuck because it is absolutely true — and people love alliteration.
“Even with aesthetics moving in new ways and usability on the forefront all of it becomes meaningless without the content. Every major website currently is so because of its content: FaceBook, Flickr, Twitter, etc. Twitter doesn’t have some incredible design that keeps people looking; they want to see the new content. Our generation is absolutely obsessed with new content, not even quality – just feed us new content as fast as you can!
“It plays on that part of the mind that makes you feel like you are missing out. Content is not just an aspect of the Web, it is the aspect. It is the most important; the rest is just presentation and whatnot. Create interesting content and they will come.”
Follow Corey @bsidestudios
President, Web Strategy Plus
“Your design and content has to stand out for prospects to notice you. When they land on your website you need to explain exactly what they’re going to get out of doing business with you. Ask yourself: what problems can I solve for this person? What are the benefits of my service? Be sure to write content that conveys these points and gets them thinking ‘yes’, I need to proceed with this solution or ‘yes’, I want to learn more. This important copy must be ‘above-the-fold’. This refers the portion of your webpage that is visible without scrolling.
“Also be sure your web design includes a blog. Whether your goal is to become an authority in your industry or get visitors to purchase your product, you need to build trust by providing valuable content that resonates well with your audience. Creating content that is educational, entertaining and has a unique point of view will position you as a leader in your industry. Your audience is likely to share the content on social media, which will generate new traffic and leads to your website. Strive to make your website and blog the go-to place for quality and reliable information in your industry.”
Follow Michelle @webstrategyplus
Creative Director, MODassic Marketing
“While extremely valued in traditional advertising, copywriting is definitely the most underrated element in online marketing. Too many businesses treat a website redesign as simply the creation of empty theme that they then dump their same old copy into or fill it with mediocre content. Many clients say they just need a ‘refresh’ and are just talking about a design update. While it’s important to keep the design and layout updated content is just as important, if not more important.
“This approach leads to a situation where after six months that new-site smell wears off and you realize your new site doesn’t actually perform any better than the old site. Copywriting isn’t valued and budgeted for as often because technically we can all write. However just because we can all write doesn’t mean we’re good copywriters.
“Copywriters on the web have to do more than be able to write well. They have to have a deep understanding of the audience personas, an understanding of search strategy, and calls-to-action. They have to be able to write for those just scan a page as well as those who want to go deeper.”
Follow Ryan @modassic
CEO & President, Busse Design USA
“A website is the medium to communicate a message, and the message is delivered by two methods: design and content. They are equally important. The message is strongly influenced by the layout and visual design of the website. If the content is not written in a way that will engage the reader to want to learn about the overall message, the design alone will not be able to support it.
“For example, if there is too much content written for an introductory message, a great design would not be able to make the content less overwhelming and more friendly. Alternatively, a website with well-written and succinct copy could not save the site if it used clashing colors, poor scale, and thoughtless stock imagery. The first impression would be unsalvageable.
“Today’s trend represented in successful sites reflect a minimalistic design approach with strong, beautiful, crisp photography or other imagery and snippets of text that communicate the message in an engaging way. Navigation and other functional elements are not as prominent and sometimes even hidden until the user interacts with a section. Some examples include: Apple, Mint, Monotype, and PayPal.
Follow Joy @bussedesign
What’s your take on the relationship between content and web design? Share your thoughts!
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Best line because it’s so true: “Copywriting isn’t valued and budgeted for as often because technically we can all write. However just because we can all write doesn’t mean we’re good copywriters.”
Good design is good design, but it needs good content to make an effective website. One without the other doesn’t do the trick.