First Focus – Content or Design?

Posted by Deven at 3:16 PM on Oct 20, 2017


Whether you are in need of a website overhaul or a new one altogether the decision on whether to concentrate on copy or design is a tough one, especially for those wanting to re-design their website – you may want to keep the old copy but go for a smarter or cleaner look and feel to the site. A design led approach is often quicker, as the designer can decide on colours, layouts and even fonts and use placeholder text to fill in the spaces where the copy will go. While the designer is working the copywriter can also be using that same time to write and polish the website content, with the two coming together in the final build stage to create the finished website.

Opting to write the copy first can mean that the whole process takes longer from start to finish, as the designer will need to wait for the copy to be finished before they can design around it. Of course, the two disciplines can work at the same time, but it is much better for the designer to have some finished copy to work from in order to develop a design that complements the content. If there are important bullet point lists on the home page or subsequent pages the designer won't know this, and will not have designed the layout with this in mind.

If a copywriter has to write content to fit in with an already finalised design this hampers their ability to craft the most compelling and informative content as they have to fit around design elements which may not favour the copy they want to write. It is especially important when re-designing a website that the copy is also looked at and reworked before the design stage, as there is no point in putting under-performing copy back into a flashy new look website. A good designer can learn a lot from the content provided and use this to ensure that the most important points are integrated well into the design and not shuffled around just to fit in with a particular design. By letting the designer have free reign over the site in effect you are also handing the copywriting job to that same person, as their actions will limit the copywriter's scope for creating content that works.

There are plenty of examples of ugly or clunky looking web pages outperforming flashier and sleeker rivals, and this boils down to the quality of the copy. Of course, a first impression goes a long way and if a website looks the business it will certainly grab the attention of potential customers. However, if your website visitors find that the content is lacking or seems half-hearted they will not remain on your site, but will return to the search results and try one of your competitors instead. People tend to opt for the company that seems the most informed and which has the most useful content rather than the flashiest, who may have left the site content as an afterthought.

You may have an idea of how you want your website to look, and an idea of what you want it to say to potential customers, but it is vital to remember that while good design will make a fleeting, albeit excellent first impression, good copy will make a better lasting impression and keep customers on your website for longer. At Parua we work closely with you to ensure your ideas are listened to and acted on by our designers and writers, with great copy informing an effective and beautiful site design.

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