08 Jun 2012

It's always exciting for a new business website to launch. Even businesses that already have websites understand that a website is never really finished. The website is a living entity that needs updating. A website is always going through minor design tweaks and changes.

Something that happens when businesses get involved in website projects is the focus tends to lean heavily toward the design. It's understandable. We all love looking at beautiful things including websites.

There is something that gets lost, though, in the design process.

Why Good Content is Critical for Website Success

Content is commonly overlooked during website projects. We get caught up in the design elements like colors and graphics and buttons that we forget to focus on the content like descriptions, headings, and even photos. In reality, the content is just as important and in some cases it's more important than the design.

Ok. I won't say that content is more important than the design. The two are equally important for a website to become successful and achieve results. But content is often getting pushed aside and that's something that can derail your website project if you don't pay attention.

Content Tells Your Story

Why are you creating a website?

Most websites are created to represent you or your company when you can't be there. You want people to purchase something from you and when you aren't available to sell it to those people face-to-face you need something to replace you. Since people spend time online a website makes sense.

Think about how you start relationships with your customers. you probably start by asking questions and getting to know their story. Next you probably tell them your story and weave in details about how you and your company can provide some answers and possibly solutions for their problems. The process involves you telling your story, but the focus remains on the other person, the potential customer.

The story you tell in person needs to be represented on your website. In order to do this you need content.

When focusing on content most of the time we think of textual content. Text is certainly a big part of the content strategy puzzle, but don't forget about photos, graphics, and even videos. It is all forms of content and it all helps you tell your story to customers when they visit your site.

Your website is a storyteller when you're not there to tell it. Use the design and the content as your storyteller. Focus on the words that need to be shared and the images that can enhance the story. Also remember to focus on the needs of the customer. You're telling a story, but it's not always about you. It's about the issues the customer has and how you can help them.

Influential Content Sells

In the beginning, the marketing model was to broadcast as loud as possible any campaign or promotion. Since the web has taken over, customers now have the ability to interact with your content. The web is no longer about transactions, but long-term relationships.

You probably have goals for your website. Most often the goal is to sell more of something. You want to appeal to Internet users and have an entity available at all times. Thus you hire a company to design and create your website. But design alone cannot sell your products and services.

You need good content.

The headlines, descriptions, images, etc. are all working to sell to your website visitors. It makes sense to start focusing on the content as the driver of the sales on your website. Design plays an important role, but equal focus needs to be put into the development of the content.

Developing Influential Content

It actually makes sense to start your website project with the content strategy first.

Most designers will agree that a project is easier when the content strategy and the content is ready before the design is started. This means you'll have to work on the content prior to having thoughts about the design.

When developing website content you're actually focusing on a content strategy. This goes back to telling your story. Consider your current customers or your target customers. What are their issues? Use their issues and concerns to create content (headings, descriptions, explanations, photos, etc.) that builds a relationship of trust with them. It's weird to think about a website having the ability to build a relationship with someone, but really the website is just an extension of you. Website visitors read your content and trust is built. Ultimately the goal is to have that relationship lead to a sale. When people trust you and you have something to help them they are happy to pay you for it.

Focus on your story, your selling goals and remeber to consider your end user experience.

Overall be sure to think about content just as much as you think about the design of your website.

Self Examination

If you have an existing website, are you confident your website content and user experience will drive the next sale? If not, give us a call at 651-493-9285. We can help get you with developing influential content and a good website experience.