Why the Fuss? Form and Function
Among the factors which dictate the success of a website, content and web design are the biggest players. According to Richard Branson, the Chairman of Virgin Group, nothing beats design in telling the world that you care about the minute details. It says that you wish to add fun and bring meaningful value to the customers’ lives.
We are all aware that a successful website is determined by a combination of several elements such as layout, design, usability and navigation, colour scheme, graphics, and content. A beautiful site with carefully planned usability and enticing graphics will leave a great first impression.
Content is King
But what about content? The significance of the website content and copy may be underrated, but it is crucial than any other element that makes a site great. An eye-catching website will give a great first impression, but a site with great content will make you come back. In our books, that matters more in the long run.
Marketing experts at Forbes Magazines have gone as far as asserting that ‘content is king’. The main reason people design websites is to act as a communication medium and this means that when you publish something on the website, you have something of some value that you wish to pass across.
What Happens When You Lean too Much Towards One Side?
As a web designer, you know (or assume at the back of your mind) that in this technological age, people rely so much on the internet as a source of information. Therefore, offering valuable content is the foremost thing your site should have. If your visitors find tip notch copy on your site, then there is high chance that they will leave happy and come back for more some time in the future. When a person reads your content and say, ‘Wow… this is what I wanted’ – you can sit back knowing that you are doing the right thing.
What if you focus only on content and leave design to ‘its own devices?’ You theoretically end up with a flat site. According to Steve Jobs, Design is not only about looks and feels, but how it works.
Pros of Having Great Content
With Great Content, You Can:
- Convince potential clients that you understand your business.
- Turn leads into sales
- Increase traffic to your site
- Assist in generating a positive return on your investment.
- Improve the popularity of your site by convincing your clients to come back.
- Increase your page rank in the search engines.
Due to the benefits that come along with great content, you should, therefore, learn how to design a great copy so as to enjoy the benefits of it.
Designing Great Copy
You should first find out what your customers are looking for and then strive to give it to them.
Before putting any content on your site, it pays to do some extensive research. First, think about what you should search for if you wanted to buy your services or products and then look them up. You can use the word tracker and find out if there are other keywords that you can use. You should also look who your competitors are and what they are doing.
Use your imagination.
You should think of the reasons why people might be looking for your services or products and then write for them. For instance, if your site is designed to advertise the rental cars in Atlanta USA, don’t simply advertise for car rental agents in Atlanta but provide a relevant article about renting a car and then point out to them your rental car agency.
What we are trying to say is that your content should be well written. There are a lot of good websites with lots of rubbish and if people find genuinely relevant article they will always remember your site.
Here are some tips for writing a great piece of content:
- Write succinctly and clearly. People are turned off by huge blocks of text so just make your content short and exciting as possible.
- Use reference to help strengthen your views and also add the links for people to get the information easily. Don’t shy off from linking to sites that are not yours. This will actually make your clients trust you.
- Don’t explain everything to your readers but again do not assume that they know everything you know. If they did, they wouldn’t be reading your content.
- Don’t overuse colloquialisms since people from different countries will read your article and you may lose them on the way.
- You should use an informal tone. People usually like feeling that they are listening to someone. You are not writing for a robot to read but a human being. However, this doesn’t mean that you ignore grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Design for ease of use
You should realize that people don’t like reading a long wall of text without getting what they are really looking for. You should, therefore, make thing easy for them by being brief and straight to the point. You can as well split your text into more digestible chunks by using short paragraphs and sentences. You should also use sub-titles which summarize what you are going to talk about.
Using lists and bullet points makes thing even simpler. You can emphasize the important points by using bold or header tags to make them stand out. The big idea here is to make people more inclined to read your text so try to break things up into to smaller portion.
Design for accessibility
Always strive to make your content visible to all your readers keeping in mind that not all of your readers can see perfectly. Some are totally blind and still use the internet while others are visually impaired. Make sure that your fonts are re-sizable. Don’t use images as a source of information but to reinforce the information.
Up to this point, you have realized how important your website content is. If you put more emphasis on your web design and layout over copy and content, your users may get bored and go away, and the site will sink back into anonymity. The success of any website is determined by the quality of content published, and this is why website copywriters put more effort on content development.
On the other hand, the web design and layout is the door to your site. All the same, don’t ignore the web design as this is what will attract people to see what your site has to offer!
Content/Copywriting without great design will lead to a flat, tasteless website. Design without great content will likewise lead to a site with lots of cool elements but no much to offer in terms of value. Where content is the Ying, design is the Yang.