Yeah, yeah. Both the design and content are important. You know that!
When you develop a website, you realize that the design has a lot to do with functionality. The right design emphasizes the things you want a visitor to see. But content is also crucial for the success of your online project. The question is: what aspect deserves more focus when you want to attract more traffic? What’s the thing you start with?
When you design a site, you have unlimited features to play with. From parallax scrolling to smooth Java to minimalistic design to the coolest color palette, everything is an option. But even the most impressive design falls short without brilliant content.
This brings us to the point: is the content-first approach the right one to take?
Let’s start the content design battle!
The Content-First Approach
What’s the point of your website?
Essentially, it’s supposed to deliver content to the target audience.
Nobody comes here for the pretty call-to-action buttons, colors, and fonts. These elements contribute to the overall appeal; that’s for sure. But content is the essence.
Developing the perfect design without having an idea about the content you want to include – that’s one of the biggest content mistakes. Let’s say you have a pretty page and you ask a writer to complete content for it. You know how much content a certain element would fit in, but you can’t tell for sure. Maybe the writer is used to longer words, so 300 words will take more space. What instructions will you give? Plus, if you want to divide the text into columns, it will be difficult for the writer to achieve perfect symmetry.
If your goal is to achieve conversion-centered design, then you should start with the content.
There are a few reasons for that:
- You’re completely aware of the message your website will convey. When you have just an idea, you can express it through the design. If this is a site for spiritual content, for example, you’ll use purple, green, yellow, and other colors that symbolize spirituality. You’ll add elements like lotus flowers and people meditating. Great; that makes your website look like hundreds of other sites we’ve already seen.
But when you have absolutely unique content for this design, it contains the full message. It came out clean through the plagiarism checking software and it’s been edited, so you won’t burden the writer with additional requirements for corrections. You will develop a design that fits that content in, and complements the message.
- The purpose of design is to enhance the most important aspects of your content. This means that you can play with the subtitles and add visual elements where they fit well. You’ll infuse all the right buttons at the right places, and you’ll play with the fonts to guide the visitor’s eye.
- Content-first design involves more than textual content. It’s also about the images, infographic, and videos on the page. Those are the elements that convey your message, and the design is only a supportive tool. A very important one; that is.
How Does Content Drive More Traffic?
Content gets you traffic through the search engines. Google wants to deliver relevant results to queries, so it evaluates the content on the page before including it in the results. Look what happens when you search for “How to become spiritual” on Google:
Visit those pages and pay attention to what you see. Sure; they look nice. But Google doesn’t take you there because they look nice. It leads you to those pages because they answer the question. So, they get traffic for delivering relevant answers.
Yes; the design plays a role in traffic numbers. Your site has to be fast. Good design also helps you keep a visitor’s attention, and that makes a difference in the search engine results.
So, if you were thinking about starting with the web design, content should probably become a priority.
Design and Content Are Equality Important, but You Should Handle Content First
Webmasters may be prompted to start with the design. Content comes later in the process, and that creates difficulties for the writers. It’s hard for them to pay attention to the volume of text since they don’t know how it would look on the particular page. When the content is ready, it’s easy for the designer to develop a page that fits it in.
Content and design are like yin and yang. They complement each other and live in the perfect balance. You can’t choose a single one of these elements and neglect the other. But if you were wondering what the first focus is, content is your answer.
Michael Turner is an SEO specialist and academic writer. He has experience developing several successful websites. Michael shares great tips for writers and designers through Twitter, so feel free to check him out.