Any website can be broken down into two elements, the web design, and the web content. It is essential that for a professional image, that both elements are paid attention to, and that the design should be structured around the content.
So if good web design is all about the content, what is the aim of the web design? The answer to this question is that it enhances the content, and presents the information contained within it, in the most accessible way possible. In a nutshell that is it.
The content of any site, is what the user reads, and within the content is the information any user wants to find. Increasingly, the content is used for branding, reinforcing trust, and conveying a message. Should this content not be shown in a professional light, and looks a bit sloppy and ill thought out, then the traffic will nose dive.
The content of any website should be relevant. It has to detail what the site is all about. Flash, funky, graphics are fine, but they wont hold a readers attention, or persuade them that your site is legitimate. The content does that job.
So if your website is not doing so well, have a look at the content, and ask yourself these questions.
Does the content convey what your site is about?
Does the content present information in a logical, meaningful way?
Is the content easy to understand?
Are the most important parts of the content, more noticeable than any of the others?
Does the content build trust?
We have touched upon some of these in previous articles, but lets expand further, and look at in the context of web design.
Trust is a key issue for web design. Many people have been ripped off by dubious websites, and this has often been reported in the media. When designing a site, you should think of it as one that has to prove that it is legitimate, and trust worthy.
The content for a site is where this is key. Well written professional content, that conveys what a company is about, not only builds brands, but builds an image of professionalism, which people look for when choosing where to part with their money.
Well written content will also emphasise the right words in the right places, where users will expect to see them. As a web designer it is your job, to make sure that the words are emphasised using what ever tools, and applications, you use to design a site.
If you read our previous articles, we have stated that overall you need to take a holistic approach to web design, but in the beginning stages, it is best to start with what you want to show in your site. In other words, the content.
Content is king as they say, and lets face it, it is what people look for when they surf. If content is hard to follow or understand, then the reader will be looking elsewhere. Remember people scan read, so make the important bits stick out, and catch the readers eye. This can be key to gaining website traffic, but more than that, long term customers.
Your website is your voice, so the content should be first rate, and speak to a reader to tell them exactly what you want them to hear. It is your only chance to convey a message, so I cannot emphasise how important content is in your website. Look at the questions again, and apply them to your website.
Good web design is about the content. Don’t let you brilliant design skills be wasted, make sure the content is doing its job.