When many website owners (and even web designers) think of web design, they often think first and foremost of the overall look of the website – its graphics, layout, colour scheme, etc. While this is important as the “total” look is the first impression visitors will get of your company, what’s even more important today is great content.
In years past, web design for the most part was focused on aesthetic or visual appeal rather than providing the user with information and answers to their questions. Content was developed almost as an afterthought, mostly written to pack in keywords so that the page was optimised for search engines. Little thought was given to what the reader would think of that content! Today, it’s all changed – Google demands that users are rewarded for their search efforts in the form of valuable, engaging content.
Content marketing is the most talked about form of marketing on the Internet today, for good reason. From here forward, web designers should take a content-first approach, as it will be the centre of the galaxy. More than an eye-catching website, people in search of products and services want valuable information; they want to find real solutions to their needs, rather than pages garbled with keywords that hardly make sense.
Content should be searchable, accessible, and most of all, relevant. Sure, graphics and colours are important to the visual appeal of a website, and even a company’s brand – but getting the message across without compelling content is an impossible feat.
How to best get the message across to potential customers who arrive at your website? Content – it’s really that simple. Naturally, visitors don’t want to arrive at a website that is so packed with columns of long content that it all runs together. This is what headers, bullet lists, and graphics are for – to break up the content so that it is easily digested by the reader.
Web design and SEO go hand-in-hand as well, and while today’s content is quite different from that keyword-stuffed of not so long ago, it’s still essential in terms of SEO – only in a different way. Google favours websites with content that is engaging and informative enough to be “shareable.” In other words, those who visit your website will want to share the information they have found with others via social media. Other relevant websites will want to link to yours, because the content is informative, engaging, even humourous or controversial. Ultimately, good web design + outstanding content equals effective search engine optimisation.
What do we suggest? When it comes to web design, content should be the forethought, not the afterthought. Content is what informs the reader, compels him or her to read more and even share that content with others, important for SEO today. The verdict is clear: both search engines and real, live people demand great content!