23 Aug Content or Design: The Chicken or the Egg?
In over 18 years of web design, I’ve worked with some clients who understand that content is absolutely critical to design. I’ve also worked with those who believe that design is the most important thing and that once they see the design they can write content that fits within the elements. Filtered through my personal experiences, I tend to lean toward content being the initial and prime priority. (It is the most important part of your website and your overall SEO.) That doesn’t mean that I think my impact as a web designer is worth nothing. I know for a fact that I can give you an attractive, beautiful, and functional website that is mobile responsive and attracts the right kind of people for you. However, it is my opinion that something of beauty doesn’t always serve a purpose by itself if you catch my drift.
Some things to ask yourself when designing a website: what are you attempting to communicate as a business owner or individual? Are you willing to accept that your business’ visage is always going to be a work in progress? Does your existing content reflect the quality of what you would expect when searching for a product or service? Is your design a reflection of your brand? How much of your content is going to change/rotate/update?
The reality of the situation is that building a successful website is a collaboration between a content writer or business owner and a web designer/developer; one that involves constant communication and honest feedback. Hence why a website redesign can often be easier than starting from nothing, as there’s already some content involved. Most of the time, content simply needs to be revisited and revamped. Also, it is significantly easier to take content away or re-word it than it is to create content from scratch.
One of the reasons I offer 30-days of web maintenance with every single website I design is because I understand that not all people know the direction of the website they are building right away. I can help, but I can’t define that for you. Once it goes live, within just a few weeks we can review your published website, ask some family and friends for input, and see how your search engine results are populating by using Google Analytics in order to improve upon and adjust for your intended audience.*
Maybe web development isn’t a “chicken or the egg” situation at all, by definition; instead, perhaps it is simply a collaboration wherein two parties communicate well and often and express needs and intentions at all times. In my final, personal opinion, however, you should write the content you want your future customers to seek and find rather than writing content that fits into little design elements. At the end of the day, all of the relevant content you write can be used in some capacity, so there is no harm in writing more than you need.
*Page and content SEO are included in my design through the use of a WordPress plugin called Yoast. I do offer SEO and social media marketing/branding packages, but ongoing SEO is not included in my base web design package. It is a lot of additional work and is considered website maintenance.