Content First Approach

As a web design and development agency, we are lucky enough to work with businesses across all industries. We are able to apply both our technical skills and our creative solutions to help our clients extend their brand online.

Within our business, we use process improvement cycles to learn from every project we invest in. This allows us to consistently focus on better outcomes for our clients.

One of the things we have learned is that there is a mismatch between the traditional ‘Design First’ approach of most website projects and what it takes to extend your credibility and connect you with your customers online.

CONTENT CONNECTS YOU WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Content is one of the most important parts of any website. Not just for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Results Page (SERP) reasons. Great content tells your story. It connects your business with your customers and convinces them to buy from you. It reinforces all the reasons they want to work with you.

At the end of the day, it is great content that will help you achieve your business goals.

SO WHY PUT DESIGN FIRST AND CONTENT LAST?

While this answer will be different for everyone, we think one of the core hurdles is that we are visual creatures. Seeing things with our own eyes helps us to understand things. We don’t have to conceptualise or use our imagination. Simply seeing what your new website could look like is satisfying and feels like progress, because something tangible has been delivered.

In terms of helping your business achieve its (website) goals, however, it is putting the cart before the horse.

YOUR ACTUAL CONTENT IS THE FOUNDATION OF A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE

We should be using your actual content as the foundation of the design process. This allows us to delve into your business’ story and personality so we can design your website to truly be an extension of your business online.

Putting your content first allows us to analyse constraints and opportunities and the implications it could have on the design. It will help us align your content with the business goals you have for the website.

WHY NOT ALWAYS START WITH CONTENT THEN?

The problem is, the content might not be created yet, or it might be outdated, or not match what you are trying to achieve.

So what tends to happen is that we create a mockup website that matches what you communicated you wanted the new site to look like, taking into account your current logo and existing brand styles.

Then, when we get to the stage that your content needs to be incorporated into the design, we run into issues. We find places where the content is too long or too short, images that were created no longer convey the same message as the new content and that customer testimonial you just received uses long words that break the column format you requested and approved.

This is where everything goes wrong. We may have to redesign the pages, or, you may have to have the content rewritten or shortened to fit into the layout. Multiply this across multiple pages and the immediate impact becomes clear. Deadlines are missed. Budgets are blown out.

Less visible, but possibly more damaging, is the effect it has on the experience your customer has when visiting your site.

If you ‘shoehorn’ content into the design, you end up creating a disjointed experience and user flow. Website visitors may not understand how to interact with certain areas of the site, or where to find the information they need, causing them to leave and go somewhere else.

MAKE CREATING COMPELLING CONTENT A PRIORITY

Starting with Design First is certainly not the end of the world. We understand getting perfectly written and approved content in a short period of time can be extremely hard for business owners with a lot on their plate. However, keep creating the new content on the top of your priority list. Allocate additional resources, internal or external to your company, or engage us to create compelling content. That way we know what we are working with and won’t end up creating something that does not align with your brand.

2018-05-17T23:35:49+00:00February 6th, 2018|Branding, Websites|

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