The best website design in the world is no good without the right content. However, the right content is about more than just the right words. It is about having those words in the right places and the right format that fits with and complements the design.
This takes some forethought and not a little bit of practice. One you have chosen a domain name and your hosting company, and set up the basics of your theme and design, it is time to think about what is going to fill all of that white space. Here are some tips for creating design complementing content.
What is Content?
First, content is not just the words that populate and surround the other features on a website. It includes things like photos, graphics, logos, advertisements, and anything else that appears on your page.
This content includes what is on your landing pages, your home pages, and every page of your website including your blog. Knowing what, exactly content is makes it much easier to discuss content that compliments you design.
Know Your Purpose
To create the right design and the complementing content it is vital to know and understand the purpose of your website, your blog, and each individual page. Each page has its own purpose, and that reason for its existence determines what content goes where. Here are some examples of the purpose of pages and the types that fall into those categories.
- To Inform: These pages, like your homepage, your about us page, and your personnel pages tell the reader something about you, your business, your site, or the people that work for you.
- To Educate: Often your blog, white papers, or case studies are designed to educate your audience about your product or service, how it will benefit them, and the features that provide this benefit.
- To Convert (Sell): These pages exist for the purpose of selling the product or service to the individual. These include landing pages and product pages. These pages can also exist to get users to subscribe to your newsletter or download a free e-book that will lead them to buying your product or becoming a regular customer.
- To Check Out: The final step in the process is for the user to check out. This is the shopping cart phase, and while not often thought of as content, the content and function of these pages is very important for customer trust and longevity.
Knowing the purpose of the page sets the tone for the content: casual for informative and educational posts, and content that creates a sense of urgency for conversion pages, and content that conveys feelings of security for check out and shopping cart pages.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience also matters a great deal. People of different ages respond differently to certain word choices and vocabulary. Some photos appeal to a younger audience, some to an older one. Hero photos make a difference, and video causes even more engagement.
Women like some colors and content more than men do, and vice versa. The questions are simple ones to answer, but essential for creating the right content to complement your web design:
- How old is your audience?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they shop most often?
- Where do they look for answers to questions?
- How much disposable income do they have?
- Wo often do they use coupons?
- Are your customers primarily men or women?
There is a lot of big data out there, and you can easily determine most of this information fairly quickly through social media listening, industry data, and enterprise data you have gathered yourself.
Choose Your Fonts
Here is something that every graphic designer and content manager will tell you. Fonts matter. The fonts you use convey meaning to your reader, and whether you mean for them to or not, they react to them in a psychological way.
This means that you need to be intentional and choose them wisely. A simple, clean font is usually the best choice even for headlines. Something clever will usually put someone off. At the same time, a creative font can set you apart from your competition and what they are doing with their website.
The thing to remember is that your font needs to be relevant and convey the same message you are trying to with the rest of your website. Bleeding Cowboy is not the font for you site selling baby clothing, but it might be appropriate for selling your thriller novel.
It is vitally important that as you are creating websites, you pay attention to color. The psychology of color is something every marketer should pay attention to.
Softer colors give the impression of warmth and comfort. Reds, oranges, and yellows are used for caution and danger. Combined properly, they can create a sense of urgency, but used in the wrong place on your site, they can create unease, and cause a user to leave and find another site.
These colors include those used in the photos that you use, your logo, and every part of your site. Remember the purpose of each page, and what you want the reader to do. Use color accordingly to create the right mood and theme.
Design is important, but in order to be effective, the content you add to any site needs to complement that design. This means in purpose, audience empathy, fonts, and colors. Every aspect of content is essential to the user experience and the way a design actually works in the real world.