Do you know which comes first when building a new site – content or design? This is like asking which came first – the chicken or the egg? Ask a web designer and the answer will be design. Then ask a content writer and the response will be content.
So what is the correct answer – NEITHER. Let’s review each side’s arguments on how this will help build a new website.
It is a little hard to design an entire site when you have not the slightest idea as to what the message of the site and brand is going to be. You could design and entire site leaving large areas of space for content only to find out that the client has a small straight to the point message that will now be lost in a sea of white space.
As a designer, you might insert images and graphics which will most likely lack content to describe what they are and how they are important to the customer.
You might build out 10 pages only to find out there is enough content to fill 25 pages. So without content, a design can only reach half its potential.
A writer can sit down and hash out 15 pages worth of straight text, no problem. Yet, there is a problem because the designer will most likely NOT develop a page where a writer can just plop in a ton of content. The look of the site will most likely call for the content to be broken up so it is easier for the customer to read in small chunks.
The writer will not know which pages have been designed so there will be some pages that will lack content. Also if images or graphics were added to the site, the writer will not know to write descriptions or captions.
Tackling Both in Tandem
There is a way that both design and content can be tackled simultaneously. Information architecture (IA) is the art – and science – of understanding user behaviour. Considering the role that content and design have to play in driving conversions, IA is responsible for mapping out your website using what’s known as a wireframe.
Where should this button be placed?
What wording is most likely to encourage a click?
Should there be a sidebar, what should it contain, and why?
IA joins the dots – meaning you do not have to choose content or design first. Instead, the design is created with content in mind, and vice versa. While the designers are being creative, the copywriters are generating content – and both have the same end goal in mind.
The best sites exist because the content writer and the designer worked hand-in-hand from conception to completion.