When you are a business owner, the first thing you will think about is how your website looks. A website is a way to show off your business online.
A great website is more than that. Content and organization are critical to your website. It is true that websites need to reflect who you are as a business, but they should also reflect your customer. Your customers are the ones who will be spending the most time with you.
Content-driven web design is when you craft your website around your customers needs.
What is Content-Driven Web Design?
Content-driven web design involves using content and page structure to inform visual design on a website Which is what? Before you send your web designer photos, graphics, and color choices, you need to think about what words you want on your website and what order those words should appear.
The Principle Behind Content Strategy
Content hierarchy is the guiding principle of creating strategic content. A potential customer will look for the most important information. We always go back to the person. What are they looking for when they visit your website? What are they interested in or what questions do they have? Your company history and photos of your staff are good, but they aren’t the main things a potential customer is looking for.
You have a new location on Main Street. The primary goal of visitors is to find hours of operation and daily menu, not to meet the chef or read the history behind your concept.
To determine what information should be prioritized on your site, it is best to refer back to what your target audience is looking for in order to determine what information should be prioritized.
Why Use Content to Drive Your Website Design
It’s important to use a content-first strategy.
You have to think about what pain points you can solve for customers. The reflection helps you keep your business goals top of mind, and keeps the mission and purpose of your organization clear. You have to prioritize the needs of customers over those of other departments. Each department wants their information highlighted on the website. The most important information is what the customer is looking for. It can save you money. You and your web designer will have an agreed-upon plan if you develop a clear strategy of how many pages you will have. It will protect you from vague agreements about how much you can have.
The Method of Content Driven Design
You know what you need to know.
Developing a content strategy is not difficult. The process can be broken down into three steps. There are no steps in a vacuum. They are all related and should be seen as building blocks.
You will want to start big.
You need to come up with a functional site map before you consider the words on a page. The map will show how each page is structured. You can nail down the actual content once you have decided how each page is structured. The content guides the designer.
Let’s define some of those terms.
What is a map? A site map shows the pages on your website. A numbered list can be shown. The graphic below is a reference.
A page structure is an outline of what content is on a page. After the map, it should be created.
What is it? The actual words you use to fill in your outline are referred to as content. The last piece of the puzzle should be created last.
The Process of Website Content Strategy
To create a customer-centered, content-driven website, we need to explore how content hierarchy fits into the site structure.
Let’s check out an example to understand what site structure is and how it fits into a customer first design.
The video shows an overwhelming menu and a homepage that doesn’t direct the visitor to any particular action cowlick studios web design. Visitors to this page don’t know where to go. If they hover over an item, they have hundreds of other options. There isn’t a clear path to take. When decision paralysis sets in, they leave your website.
What does the structure of the site look like? Let’s look at it again.
A new version of the website has a very clear direction for the customer to follow. The most important actions users on the website want to make can be found on the homepage. The new navigation at the top of the page makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Good site structure doesn’t mean eliminating a lot of pages Many websites have a lot of pages. The key is to organize them correctly. There isn’t a magic formula for the size of a website. You don’t want to say “nope, it’s too big, let’s nix it all” when looking at all the content on your site. The site still has the same content, but it is organized better.
The City of Mauldin is an example. We didn’t recreate exactly what they had in the same format when we first got the project. Instead, we went through each page, audited it, and reorganized the content into categories for the audience. If you speak to many people, you can identify important user paths and create an effective website structure.
Page structure uses the principle of content hierarchy to prioritize the most important information and make sure it shows up early on. The train station on your website is what you want to start with. Think about what messages are most important to get across as you create the structure. The priority should be based on the needs of the customer.
A clear path to action is what each page should have. You don’t want a customer to get to the bottom of the page and not have anything to do. You must call them to action. If you had a customer walk through your store and fill up their cart, you would want your associate to ask if they are ready to check out. If they can’t find anyone to ring them out, they might leave their items and head home.
You should apply the same idea to your website. As you think about what each page needs to say, think about what makes the most sense, and keep your customers moving towards that checkout even if it is a symbolic one.
Let’s take a look at another example to get a clear idea of effective and ineffective page structure.
In this first example, there is no clear call to action on the page. The buttons on the right are large, making the visitor think they are important, but it isn’t clear what those buttons are for.
A potential customer is left with nowhere to go after looking at this website.
The newly designed homepage for the same company gives users direct calls to action and guides a potential customer through important information.
- Visitors can either view a printer or explore IT solutions immediately.
- Visitors have the option to learn more about the company.
- They are asked to look at printers and other equipment.
Visitors will be able to explore your site on their own terms if you give them clear, concise actions.
Filled with actual content, the fun part is now. When you first start redesigning your website, you may feel overwhelmed. The content writing will be easy if you have properly laid the groundwork.
At Engenius, we write content for our clients, keeping in mind things like clarity, conciseness, and best practices. Are you interested in learning more about how our process can help your company? Let our team know about it. Even if you don’t plan on working with a writer, you should have a good place to start.
Content Writing Tips
Content on your website should be user-focused. Explain what you do and how you do it. This seems like a no-brainer to us. It’s easy to get caught up in the jargon of your industry. It might seem like common sense to your customers, but it isn’t. Take the time to explain what you do and how you do it if you want your audience to understand. Consumers like to be in charge of their own purchases.
As you write content it’s important to consider:
- What does a client need to know about you?
- What industry terms might be confusing?
- What can you simplify, clarify or rewrite?
- Are your writing easy to understand by a potential customer?
- Does your writing encourage the reader to take action?
- Is your writing grammatically correct?
You will be prepared to engage with the world’s internet-savvy consumer with a content-driven website.