What is Content-First Web Design
Content-First Web Design is the process of designing and developing websites around the content needed to communicate your message to your users.
Every website has a beginning. It normally begins with the simple thought of “I need a website,” and from there it grows.
You start thinking about how you want your new site to look. You want it to blow people away when they first see it, but as the process goes on, you lose sight of the original purpose. You forget what made you have the initial thought of “I need a website.”
There are three essential parts to a website: content, design, and development.
They are all equally important, but unfortunately aren’t given the same amount of attention at times that they should be given. Development is all about making the design function. Its purpose is to put all of the moving pieces together.
Design is about making all of those pieces look beautiful, and content is those pieces.
Without content, not only is it very hard to make a website look beautiful, but it’s also very hard to make it work the way it should. Content includes things like wording on the pages as well as photos and other visual elements.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful a website might be or how well it may function if there’s nothing there for people to see. A content-driven website makes the entire process from start to finish much easier.
Designing without Content First
Without content, the designer can have a much harder time trying to figure out what needs to go where, or what your site even needs to look like.
If you start without content, your site is more likely to look like a template site with cookie cutter functionality. It will be a site that can work for anything or anyone — it has to be, because there’s no actual content to design around, only placeholder text and placeholder images.
This doesn’t result in the kind of customization most of our clients want.
Think of it like building a house. If you were to just begin building without knowing what you were going to put into the house, then it may turn out to be the most beautiful 12 bedroom, one bathroom, no kitchen, two basement, nine-car garage house you’ve ever seen, but it would be completely unusable.
The same can be said for a website: Without any thought about the content you’re putting into your website, you may end up with a lot of pieces you don’t need. And just like with the house, removing things can start to create holes and problems in other places.
Double the work using dummy images and text
It takes just as much time to insert a placeholder image onto a page as it does to insert the actual visual - so your designer ends up doing twice the work if you do not provide the final images (and texts) before any design layouts can be done. mmm... Wonder if your designer should charge you twice for doing double the work?
Navigating without Content First
We’ve all been to websites that were impossible to navigate. Things didn’t make sense, and we weren’t sure where a click may lead us. We may not have even been able to figure out what the site was even trying to sell, tell or give us.
Most of these issues arise from content being an afterthought that’s added after the site is built. There’s no forethought put into how the end product will need to function, since no one knows what will be in it, so all of the content is added at the end and just jammed in wherever it will fit.
This leads to a very unorganized and cluttered site, and it can leave the end user with a very terrible experience.
Communicating without ContentIn the end, your content is your message. It’s the message for you, your company, or your brand.
Without good content, you won’t have a good message.
So, just like we first talked about, when redesigning an old website or designing a new website, you’ll want to make sure that your message is solid and then design around that.
Is your company message simple? Then you might need a much cleaner and concise website. Is your company message lengthy and verbose? Then you may need a website with several calls-to-action, links, blocks of text or images.
Not all designs work for every website, client, or user. And designing around content is the first step that will help you find exactly what works for your needs.
Why should you work with a team that uses Content-First Web Design?
No matter how big or small your business, nor how simple or complex your website, you should work with a team that is focused on telling your story and spreading your message to your users.
To accomplish this, your content needs to be paramount to the process and not an afterthought once everyone thinks the placeholder content or blank text boxes look pretty.
At 247highway, we focus on who your business is and what your site visitors need to know while designing and developing your website.
We want you to be able to be proud of how your website looks and what information people are able to get when they visit it. This keeps people coming back to your website rather than just looking at it once for its visual appeal.
Most Clients Need Help With Writing Content for Their Website. Do You?
We've been in the digital marketing industry since 2000. The number one problem our clients had with their websites was always one and the same:
delivering website content on time.
Sometimes, it took our clients years to create all the content. Waiting for months was the norm.
We completely understand and know why this is happening:
- You are busy with your everyday tasks which simply must be done.
- Writing website content is not your core competency (there are no copywriters in a typical B2B company).
- You don't know what is important to write about.
- Content creation as a service is rare, because most web development agencies only offer design, programming, and internet marketing services - not copywriting.
- Content creation is hard, because it takes at least one subject matter expert within your company to create content. Subject matter experts are usually the busiest people: company owners, directors of marketing, directors of sales, CEOs of small businesses, etc.
- Because professional copywriting services are costly, companies such as yours usually choose to produce content on their own.
Ask us about our services ...