Content-Driven Website Design

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Content is King”. That is applicable to many forms of online media, and your website is no different. Building content-driven, as opposed to application-driven, websites is the first step in designing a high-converting site. When you build a content-driven website, content, not the layout, is the most important success factor.

The process to create a content-driven website consists of four basic steps:

  1. Define your goals. What is the ultimate action you want visitors to take? How do you want your peers and clients to view your brand?
  2. Organize content into a prototype. Then review and re-evaluate. The best way to save money is to not waste it on a poorly built site. Take the time to triple ensure the direction of your site aligns with your customer’s needs and company goals.
  3. After most of the website is built around content, then the design can be chosen to best support your goals and content. Design touches the eyes and imagination. Content touches the mind and desires. It’s not either or. It’s both, with content as the driver.
  4. Make the website live. The golden rule of all marketing is to test and measure everything. This is how you discover the secret recipe that makes your visitors convert and your clients rave. A golden high-converting site will always be under constant revision, review and refinement. Set it and forget it only works for infomercial cookery. Your site is an asset that has the potential to pay long-term dividends if it’s engineered strategically.

The first two steps are the most critical and difficult, so it’s important to spend as much time as needed on them. Rush the process and pay triple later (your web designer will thank you).

Benefits of Content-Driven Web Design

The content-driven approach to web design tends to be easier in the long run, cheaper, and the results will be more attractive, impressive and relevant to your goals. Content-driven websites have many advantages, among them:

  • They are built with high-quality and pertinent content that engages visitors versus non-converting flashy designs.
  • They get more traffic through SEO-friendly content and keywords. Google rewards those who play by their rules.
  • They are conducive to branding, since the design enhances your content, as opposed to cramming content into the design and hoping for the best.
  • Because the design happens after the content is finalized, there are fewer modifications needed (i.e. less revision costs; you’re welcome).
  • It is easier to structure content to mobile devices if it is considered before the design is created. Mobile-friendly design forces the designer to decide what elements are the most important because screen space on mobile devices is limited. Taking inventory of and prioritizing the site content has to take place at the beginning of the design process, not at the end.
  • The web designer knows the content before the designing starts, forcing the designer to make important decisions that otherwise may not have been considered. This encourages uniformity in tone, layout, colors, etc., as it correlates to the content.
  • They are designed around the preferences and desires of the target audience in order to keep them engaged and address their needs.
  • The code needed to create the website after the content is determined is easier and quicker to revise, as it’s only the content that usually needs changing, instead of redesigning the entire page.
  • They encourage unique and more original design. It’s easy to just pick a pre-existing design template and shove the content into it. It’s more challenging and creative to take the content and create a fresh design to accommodate it.

Why Design-Driven Websites Fail

Sometimes website design and development start with the physical design in a rush to complete the project. Slap up a design and just cram the “details” in later. Sometimes even the client wants to see the design layout first. When those detailed contents are delivered, it is often discovered that the design doesn’t fit.

Sure, the design can be modified accordingly, but it takes more time and effort to go back and forth to verify and modify the design based on the content. When the content is known up front, the design must accommodate the information from the start.

The design-driven approach costs more money as a result of this additional time and effort. But there is another negative to it, as well. Usually, when designs are submitted to the developers to code, the developers expect to be able to just add the content into the spaces.

Unfortunately, the content details are often such that they don’t easily fit into the boxes, so the end result looks rather disorganized and clunky. Again, costing more time and money later to fix.

The most harmful aspect of the design-driven approach is that it is not engineered to capture and convert visitors. They also struggle to rank on the first page of search engine results. If your goal is to have a flashy digital business card, then congratulations–mission accomplished.

However, If your goal is to turn visitors and prospects into long-term paying clients…if your goal is to rank on the first page of Google for targeted keywords…if your goal is to build domain authority in your niche…if your goal is to build a social media following…if your goal is to attract, engage, and convert, then a strategic content-driven approach is your best chance.

Colorado Springs SEO for Growth Builds Content-Driven Websites

Colorado Springs SEO for Growth believes that designing websites based on content is the most efficient and effective way to strategically design a site. We take the time to dive deep into our client’s sales and marketing process in order to develop content rich, SEO-friendly websites to get them in the top of search-engine results. Contact us today for a complimentary website audit!

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