The content on your website is what will determine if your website will succeed or fail. A bold statement, right? However, it's true. Look no further than a website like Reddit. The design is still straight from the 90s. Yet, it has some of the best content on the internet, and that's why it's one of the ten most popular websites in the United States.
It doesn't matter how great the design of the website is –although that is still incredibly important. If your website copy misses the mark and your website's content isn't helpful to your audience, you're done.
Moreover, website content isn't just the website copy itself. When we say content, we're talking about videos, blog posts, ebooks, podcasts, and graphics. The design of your website is what draws people in. However, the content is what ultimately gets them to stick around and become a paying customer.
In this post, we'll explain why website content is so important and why you should design your site front a content-first perspective. Then, we'll help you determine the content needed for your web design project and how to make sure it is effective.
Why Does Your Website Content Matter?
Your website content is what gets people to stay on your site and see what your business has to offer. Moreover, the longer they stay, the more likely they are to convert and become a lead.
Think of the design of your website as the exterior of a house, and its content as the interior. Now, imagine you've decided to sell your home and you are holding an open house to show it off to potential buyers. The exterior design of the house is going to catch people's eye and draw them in.
However, the interior content of the home is what will ultimately convince people to purchase the home. Are you more likely to buy a home if the interior is warm, well-designed, and makes it easy to picture you living with your family? Or if it's cold and unfurnished, with essentially just four plain walls to every room?
We think you know the answer.
In a nutshell, that's why your website content is important. It's the glue that holds all of the web pages together and ultimately, it will be the deciding factor as to whether or not your business website fulfills your goals.
The Benefits of a Content First Web Design Approach
Designing your website with a content-first direction is the key to creating a great website – both from a design and business standpoint. Doing so allows you to map the content to the customer journey and your sales funnel.
This way, you can direct potential customers through relevant pages of your website designed to nurture them down the sales funnel.
However, the benefits doesn't stop there. Let's take a look below at how designing with your website content already in mind helps you create a better website.
Design Will be Aligned with Business Goals
When you design your site with the website content in mind from the start, you force yourself to justify each section on each web page. That leads to a more focused and cohesive message. It eliminates unnecessary elements and reduces the bloat of your website, helping it to run faster.
That's big for SEO.
Best of all, it usually leads to a better user experience in the end. Which is precisely what you want, because your business website is often your first and only chance to make a great first impression.
Consumers won't be confused by sections that seem out of place or don't make sense. Instead, they'll be delighted that your content is helpful and has a purpose.
Stakeholders Have Time to Gather or Produce The Content
Like we've touched on before, the web design process is collaborative. By defining the content you will need well in advance, you give your team the necessary time to gather or create the content assets. Doing this will ensure the project is not delayed and you don't run into any unnecessary bottlenecks.
Remember, things always take longer than expected, so it's essential to budget for this time.
Eliminates Endless Back and Forth
When your website content is not prioritized and defined ahead of time, it leads to a disorganized project workflow. Web design projects have so many moving parts. It often requires many people to come together and work efficiently to produce a great site.
However, if you don't define all of the content deliverables ahead of time, problems can start to pop up quickly. At best, your project will be unnecessarily stressful and disorganized. At worst, it will lead to infighting between designers, developers, and content writers and threaten to delay the project.
By designing your website with a content-first approach, you eliminate both scenarios. Instead, you will have an organized project roadmap. Everyone will know what they are responsible for and have the time to deliver it. There will be no last-second surprises.
Determining the Website Content Your Business Needs to Succeed
So, how do you figure out what content your website needs? If you’ve followed along in this blog series and have already done the planning work, it is actually pretty simple. Below we’ve outlined two simple steps to go through in order to help you brainstorm your website content.
Review Project Scope and Website Goals
Knowing what content your website will need starts with reviewing the scope of the project and the goals it aims to achieve. Once you've done that, you can start to sketch out the wireframes.
Start by re-examining the scope of the project. What web pages needs to be completed? What are the client requirements? What resources will you need to complete the project on time and on budget?
Next, we take a look at the goals the client wants to achieve with their new website. Do they want to improve their SEO rank? How about generating leads from referral sources? Or educate their audience and establish expertise in their industry?
All of these are integral parts of the project that needs to be known before starting to brainstorm the website content. They are all separate goals and will require specific pieces of content to achieve them.
You might think you know all this already, and this step in the process seems redundant. Trust us –it's worth the time now to review these to make sure you haven't missed anything. Better now than at the eleventh hour right before a milestone deadline.
Put Yourself in Your Prospects Shoes
So, you've reviewed the scope for the project and know every deliverable, likely a web page you are responsible for. You also have just re-examined the goals the client the project has set, so it's fresh in your mind. That means you can finally start brainstorming the website content that will go onto each webpage.
The best way to do that is to put yourself in your client's or prospect's shoes. If you don't already have a buyer person developed, we'd also recommend doing that with Hubspot's free persona tool. It just makes it so much easier to know precisely who you are producing content for and it keeps you focused on the end goal.
Here's how we brainstorm website contents: we take each web page and break it down by each section we want to include.
For example, let's take a look at what you might want to include on your services page:
- List of core services with maybe links to pages dedicated specifically to individual services
- Testimonials for social proof
- Article/blog/resource section to educate your audience
- A form so visitors can quickly get in touch with your website
- Some sort of offer so you can gather users contact info
- Links to relevant pages of your website such as case study, about, etc.
Repeat that process for each detailed web page in the scope requirements. Once you have an outline of the sections to include on each web page, review again. This time, go through again and justify each section. Make sure there is nothing redundant and unnecessary. You want every section to make sense when viewed in the grand scheme of the entire project.
If all looks good from there, then you've got the green light to start sketching out the wireframe for the websites.
Hopefully, you found this process helpful in figuring out the website content your site needs. Following this process will ensure your project is organized and aligns with the overall business goals of the project.