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Why a content first approach is best in web design

Posted on 20th March, 2018 by Greg Doyle


In this article, we’re going to look at why you should take a content first approach when creating and designing a new website. This approach may sound strange and unfamiliar but we’ll show you the benefits and how by focusing on content you can ensure your website is geared to the needs of your users. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the reasons to start with content during a web design project.

Design constraints

One of the problems of writing content after you have designed your website is that your content is constrained by the design you have chosen. Your design may tick all the boxes in terms of usability but if your content hasn’t been included from the beginning then you could end up compromising on this.

Trying to fit content into a design is much harder than building a design around your content. Not limiting yourself to a design means that you are free to create content that meets the needs of your users and won’t get stuck into the trap of writing your content around the limitations of your web design.

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One of the first jobs in a content first approach is to find out as much information as you can about your target audience. Getting to know who your audience is will help to inform your content strategy and help you create content that will resonate with your target market. To help to understand your audience ask yourself about your customers.

What frustrates them?

What problems are your products or services helping them to solve?

Why do they choose you over your competitors?

What language do they use?

Once you have as much information as possible about your audience you can start to create content that focuses on their needs, speaks to their frustrations and is tuned in to their desires.

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Tone of voice and language

The next step in the content design process is to work out what tone of voice is right for your audience as well as the natural language they use. Your tone of voice is how you want your audience to perceive your business and gives your business a personality. Whether you choose to write in a professional and direct manner or a more open and friendly tone will depend on your target audience and your business goals.

Remember, your content needs to resonate with your audience so make sure that you talk to them like real people. Where possible simplify the language that you use. This will help to make your business more approachable. Just because your industry is boring doesn’t mean your content has to be. Instead of using jargon and technical terms, focus on simplifying your language and making your content easy to read so that it will resonate with your audience.

Added value

One of the benefits of a content first approach is the opportunity to add value to a website. By mapping out the needs of your audience you can look for opportunities where content could be used to improve user experience and the user journey. With a free reign, you can write the content that you need without being limited by elements of your design.

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Fewer revisions

Another key reason to choose a content first approach is that there will often be fewer revisions needed to get the website completed. The content and design can be paired together in the best format possible to create a website that is tailored to the needs of customers. Providing content first helps designers understand the needs of customers and create a design that is easy to use and great to interact with.

Design and content both go hand in hand but creating the content first lets you focus on meeting the needs of your customers by giving them the information that they want. Have you tried a content first approach? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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