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The secret ingredient to a successful web project: Content, Content, Content

Jun 23 '14

There are many approaches to designing and developing a website. Without having a strategy or plan in place a project budget can be easily derailed. The relationship to content and copy and how it fits within the design’s structure are a critical part of a project. Remembering to include content creation into the project timeline and budget is crucial to executing and completing a website on time.

The goal of a website design is to reinforce and support the content on the page. Some digital agencies and firms will not even touch upon the design before all of the copy is not only written, but signed off on. Others will design an entire website without copy and instead use our favorite language “Lorem Ipsum” in the place of actual text. For those who are not familiar with this term it is referred to as “dummy text” and is used as a placeholder when the copy has not been completed. It looks a little like this:

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras pharetra eros et nibh egestas iaculis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc posuere velit at ante pellentesque, nec fringilla mi tempor.”

Creating all of the content and copy beforehand can be a daunting task. There should be a clear understanding of who is responsible for creating the content and delivering assets. Is this the role of the copywriter? The client? The designer? For web design, content creation can occur while wireframes are being created. The designer will have every asset they need to work the design around the content. A designer is not always a copywriter, and although they might meticulously scrutinize a page pixel by pixel and spend hours finding the most brilliant font, it may be advantageous to hire a professional writer.

When creating content remember to start from the beginning with items such as titles and headlines. This will lead to the rest of the copy throughout the site. Keep in mind that by creating effective headings the user will be able to not only navigate through the site quickly, but even more importantly it will allow them to search for the site itself. A heading can be one of the most important parts of a webpage. It is the first thing the reader will see when they begin to scan through the site. If it does not grab their attention they are very likely to move on. It is important to keep headings short, clear and direct. Always ask yourself if it is speaking to the target audience. Writing headings with keyword-rich title tags and carefully embedding appropriate words and phrases into the copy is key. Spend time researching and strategizing what types of words someone would use to find your site.

When writing body copy, summaries and paragraphs, remember that a website is not a novel. If a page becomes too text heavy it will not only obstruct the design, but lose the attention span of users. By keeping summaries and sentences short and minimal, the reader will be encouraged to keep going. Relay the most relevant and important information in 50 words or less. Don’t forget to create content that leads to an action that will support the sites service or product and keep the user coming back. Make it fresh and always up to date.

At the end of the day websites are created to communicate a message. A website without appropriate messaging is merely for visual looks and will lack what truly grabs an audience. Content marketing is a very effective way to build brand loyalty and an online community. It is about making a real connection and a lasting impression with customers.