Why Content-First Design Matters for Your Business Website
You wouldn't build a building without having blueprints and a purpose first. So why build a website without content first? We all love cool visuals and fun interactions, but those are only small pieces of the larger pie. The most important aspects of a business website are the message and the content. Design as a practice primarily exists to help communicate. What do you want to say to your customers and clients? What makes your business different? Why should people use your services over your competition's? This is the general purpose of a business website. The content-first method puts the focus on your message and molds the design around your purpose.
And content doesn’t only refer to the words on your website. Videos, photography, audio—these are all a part of your website’s content. All media from and about your business is potential content for your website. So everything should be factored in when outlining your website’s content.
A Clear Message Means More Leads & Conversions
One of the biggest reasons delivering content first for your new website is important is that it changes how you approach the project. Instead of treating your new custom business website as a high-end template, you have to consider the message behind your new site. What is the goal of your website? Focusing on the content of your website raises important questions like, “What does my target audience want to know?” The more you drill down into your website’s messaging, the better the final product will be.
There is the chance that maybe your website just looks old and it needs a refresh. You may believe all of the existing content is fine. But if you’re investing in a new custom website, wouldn’t it be nice to also increase user conversions? Your website’s leads have a direct correlation to the content and messaging on the page. By approaching your new website with content first, you can solidify your message, goals, and business identity. When all of these aspects are written down and thought out, your website can be designed to better guide visitors to becoming new clients.
And you don’t have the do this all on your own. At Anntoine, we understand writing content can be a challenge. You may be an expert in your industry, but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert writer. Our marketing team knows how to turn your information into great content that converts readers. Writing content for a website is a team effort and we make sure to involve our clients in every step of the process.
Better Content is Better SEO
Another great outcome of the content-first method is better search engine optimization. SEO is a huge puzzle with many different aspects that affect ranking, but one of the biggest is content. By putting more importance on content planning, you can expect to generate better copy. Search engines like Google love unique, useful content and tend to rank websites with said content higher than competing sites.
To ensure search engines pick up your content, and thus your website, you have to use keywords in your copy. At Anntoine, we do in-depth keyword research for all of our website projects for our clients. When we help with planning and preparing copy for websites, we also make sure the right keywords and phrases are found throughout.
While the more keywords that are used the better, the copy still needs to read as naturally and coherently as possible. You should always review the final copy for your website before it goes into production. As an expert on your own business, you have the ability to validate your website’s content and make sure the voice matches your brand.
Beware of Scope Creep
In web development, one of the biggest hindrances to launching a website on schedule is scope creep. (Scope creep is when project management fails to control the growth or expansion of a project after it has started.) Building a website without content first runs the risk of key features only being thought of mid-development. When you and your website developers prioritize content planning, you can more accurately determine the scope of your business website.
Content modeling ensures that everything you need for your website is known by the developers and the time to build is accounted for. No one wants to hear their website is delayed by a couple weeks because a key feature was never addressed.
At Anntoine, we prioritize defining the scope of any website during our on-boarding process. We work with our clients to build a sitemap and feature set before even discussing aesthetics. The sitemap helps organize the content and determine what each page will feature. The feature set defines what capabilities the website offers, such as a search engine or eCommerce system. As a business owner, you want to make sure your website can do everything you and your clients need. Content-first design reinforces this important step in building the best website for your company.
Design Must Fit The Content
When content is first, the design can truly enhance the message. Design without proper context and content can look great, even with placeholder text, but it’s only decoration. Inserting content into a partially finished design may result in a mismatch. Or perhaps the design requires content your business cannot obtain.
Imagine a beautiful testimonial section is designed for your website that requires headshots, long quotes, and a lifestyle photo as the background. Sounds great, right? In reality, however, as a business, you cannot share headshots of your clients, and their testimonials are only one sentence. Perhaps your company is new and you do not have testimonials yet. In either case, that would mean that section of the site must undergo an overhaul. When content is modeled first, these are the type of situations that are solved and avoided at the start of a project.
Content-first design also avoids changing copy in service of the design.
If a particular section on the website was designed for only one paragraph, and you want three, a compromise must be made. You'll either end up having a small section with too much text or you'll need a complete redesign of the section. Last-minute design changes can result in rushed solutions or potential delays. When you provide content first, your website designers can make sure to design the appropriate user interface for your message.
But First, Content
You want the best website for your business, and your content plays a huge factor. By ensuring that your content comes first, you ensure your message is delivered properly. The message and goal behind your website should define the design your developers create. Your business needs more than just a pretty picture online. If you want to rank high on Google, and generate good leads—content is king.
If you need help with ranking or need a new website, contact us today!