Content Or Website Design: Which Should Come First?

Content or Website Design – Which should come first? It has been an ongoing debate in the website designing industry for years. Some agencies consider the layout-first approach to creating websites a blessing, while others view it as a burden and prefer the content-first approach in all projects. It is crucial to decide whether to go layout-first or content-first. This can make a huge difference in web development time and how quickly a site is up and running.

While a site's design may attract more visitors, it is not enough to keep them coming back. Your content will. Your website cannot have either one or the other. If it comes down to which, which should you be focusing on when designing or creating a new site?

This is why we created this article: to answer the age-old question – Content or Website Design, and to help you choose the best approach whenever it comes up. This article will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each approach, and help you decide which one is best for your web development strategy.

Content Or Website Design

It’s an equal discussion for both sides. Join us in this article as we discuss Content or Website Design – Which Should Come First?

Why choose content-first strategy?

Content is King. While we believe content is the cornerstone to online success, it's only one cornerstone.

Content is key to any website's success. This is the idea behind the content-is-king adage. Text, in particular, is content. Interacting with content is a way for web visitors to learn more about the site's purpose. A website is useless without content.

Visitors will be impressed by a website's visuals and aesthetics as soon as they visit it. Visitors will not convert or return to the site unless they are provided with value. This can only be determined by the message conveyed on the website's content.

All users require content and design is only possible with it. Your website may have a striking design but you shouldn't expect many returning visitors if the content strategy is poor.

Designers have a lot of work to do if they start with the content. With the content, designers can create layout elements (colors buttons, fonts, etc.) that match the content. In some cases, copywriters prefer a layout before their content — this makes it much easier for them to insert their content in the layout.

The content-first approach does not necessarily require that every word be prepared before designing. Only the most important elements of the content should be present. Web designers can use the primary elements of content to help them plan how to structure their site.

content or website design

If you want to adopt the content-first approach, consider your content as a strategy to persuade your visitors to take desired actions — download, sign up, subscribe, purchase, etc. — the site. You should also conduct user research to accomplish this.

You can use user research to find the language your target audience speaks and generate more leads. These are the benefits of starting with content first before designing:

Content provides guidelines for layout

While most people view content as just text, in reality content can include audios, videos, images and gifs. You'll know from experience that not all websites can support every media format. Web designers must know what content they will be using before designing a site layout.

Content can be thought of as a compass that indicates the direction of voice, tone, brand, and design. Designers may struggle to create a flow that leads to call-to-action buttons and customizing vectors. Designers can influence the style of the UI Design by the type and tone of the content.

Content first saves time

Website design that begins with no content is most likely to lead to endless changes later. You will quickly fall behind schedule if you start with a layout. The designers will have to adjust their layout to match the copy. This is not only frustrating for designers but also leads to additional costs.

You will be able to see the end result of your website even before you have it approved by Webflow if you start with content. It is guaranteed that your content will fit on every page. Webflow makes the process much simpler and quicker.

Content aids in charting the user journey

It is easy to see what elements are needed for design and how to structure the product story. Designers can identify the elements they need to help the user reach the main goal by analyzing the flow of content from one screen.

What can go wrong when you use the content-first strategy?

We discovered that the majority of web developers prefer the content-first approach. While the reasons are valid, this approach has its flaws. Below are some of the dangers associated with the content-first strategy.

Incompatible Content

You don't know how much or what type of content you should be putting on the site if you have not seen it. This knowledge should guide all aspects of your content creation, including the content required on a page and the screen layers of navigation. If designing is only decoration without content, what is content without design? 

Possibility for visual glitches

If you adopt a content-first approach, there's a high chance that your copy will not match the design. This is the biggest problem with the content-first approach. This can lead to visual problems if the content is too small or too large for the design.

Let's take, for example, the Homepage layout that you designed allows 250 words, but your content pitch has 400 words. Because the extra text is not compatible with the layout, you will have to significantly edit your content.

Why choose web design-first approach?

Layout-first advocates the creation of a wireframe, sitemap and other elements prior to content creation. While content is key to turning visitors into lifetime customers, a compelling layout/design can increase a site’s conversion rate.

Great design layouts can attract visitors to your site. It is no surprise that they make it easier for them to navigate around the site. It has been proven over 80% of web users skim the content they consume online – the rest is brand exploration.

If you're a content-first thinker, how can you determine the type of content that you need? Without layout and navigation to guide you? Although user research can tell you what language you should use, it will not help you with navigation.

Online research on trust found that design elements have a greater influence than content when it comes to building trust. This conclusion was based on the fact that people trust what is shown to them more than what is told. It makes perfect sense, if you think about it.

content or website design

The content is determined by the design layout

Layout can also shape content in the same way as content. Site layout determines the content and types of content that is included. If your homepage layout has five layers of headings, copywriters will need to create the necessary number of headings, rather than just writing blindly.

The layout can be used as a guideline to inform your copywriters about the text required for your site. It helps your copywriters avoid creating redundant content that could make your site messy.

A layout design can tell a story with no words

Before your visitors even read your words, your website layout design will be their first impression. A well-designed layout will grab a visitor's attention, and help you brand stand out. It can communicate trust and confidence about the products or services offered.

Visitors may not be interested in reading the text on your site if they know what they want, or can identify it quickly through the visual elements of your site. How many websites have you abandoned because you didn't feel confident?

What could go wrong when you use the website design-first approach?

The web layout design is, at its core, a form of art. This type of art requires web designers who combine form and functionality to create a pleasant user experience. Web designers need to follow certain rules, but when they focus on the layout-first approach with no content, some of these rules are ignored.

This is a discussion about some of the pitfalls associated with the layout first approach-

Inconsistency 

Every element of the layout must support, communicate, and reinforce the content's meaning. If you start with the layout, how will you ensure that the layout is compatible with the content? It's almost impossible. It's not easy to design a site without knowing the content.

Although you don't need to know all the details, knowing the meaning of the copy can help you design for a great user experience.

Unplanned Redesigns

Designers tend to use the Lorem ipsum standard filler text when taking a layout-first approach. These filler texts can be misleading as they may convince you that your layout is more balanced than it actually is with the final content. The section could break if the actual content is not placed correctly or the final content is removed from the page. This can lead to costly redesigns and may increase your budget.

Conclusion

Content or Website Design. Content is the reason why people visit a website. The website design exists to present this information in an organized way as well as add functionality with theme and style. Content writing services and web design are two different yet connected aspects that every website owner, web developer, business, or agency must deal with at one point or another. The difference between successful and unsuccessful website is often defined by the strategy and organization of both as a whole.

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