Website content is perhaps the single most important part of website design and should be your first consideration when embarking on a new website.
When we say content, what do we mean? Images, video, copywriting… GIFs? All of the above!
Whilst visuals draw the initial attention of consumers, it’s the quality of your content that keeps them hanging on. But well-written content means nothing if the ideas conveyed seem at odds with the core message of your brand.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
First impressions are important. Statistics show that you have 1-5 seconds to retain a visitor which is hardly enough time to read and process any content.
This means that you need to make an impact to hold a visitor’s attention. This is where the design and appearance come in. Design must work in tandem with a companies’ branding and content to emphasise the strengths and core business values; ultimately directing users to take action.
‘Content is King’ is a term many of us have heard before. As content quality and curation has not only evolved but improved, it has also led to readers becoming more perceptive into what is ‘real’ content and what is not.
Most consumers can tell when they’re being taken for a ride and when content is to merely please a search engine. If your content is there simply to boost traffic, it probably won’t result in the engagement you were hoping for versus using natural language.
Consider the persona of your audience and how your content can steer them to take action. Without your customers, there is no business, because they are your business.
A customer wants to know who you are, what you stand for, and how you’re going to make their lives better, easier or fun. UI and UX can considerably help, but it’s the power of your brand that can change a consumer’s values, empower beliefs and can go beyond a one-off purchase.
‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you did it’ - Simon Sinek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UedER61oUy4
Building a successful brand can seem like a mammoth task. Companies such as Apple, Spotify, Patagonia and Airbnb have achieved a reputation for instilling ethics and values through their brand, whilst being incredibly profitable. But what makes a successful brand?
There are 4 Key Areas to Consider Here:
- Brand Expression: your visual identity, personality and tone of voice.
- Brand Development: your mission, values, story and positioning statement – are these up-to-date and still relevant to your business today?
- Brand Authority: asserting your knowledge and expertise in your sector or specialism through events, awards, accreditations and speaking opportunities.
- Brand Expansion: external promotion of your brand through digital marketing, social media, paid media and PR.
More than just a logo and some colours! A sixpage PDF that shows a logo, colours, font and a short description of a dream customer is not how to create a brand.
To dig deeper into your personas and target audience try using an empathy map. It’s a great tool to get you in the head of your customer, and it’s a preliminary step in crafting their journey, as well as helping to understand your brand’s values.
For more information about building a brand, we recommend reading ‘Let’s talk about how to build a brand’ by Felicia C. Sullivan which provides further insights into many of the themes we’ve discussed here.
You can’t fake authenticity. The best way to appear authentic is to be authentic. You can cut corners by hiring a content writer as long they maintain your identity and your brand shines through.
As website content is written from your perspective, consumers will only have your word to go on at first. For this reason, it’s vital that you make every word count, giving your audience every opportunity to see that you’re the real deal!
A note on imagery: avoid using stock photography as much as possible. You may think a stock image perfectly fits your website, but there are feasibly thousands of other websites using that exact same picture.
Nothing complements and represents your business more effectively than original photography of your team, products, locations, facilities etc. Using your own crafted photography allows you to incorporate your unique brand message into the photographs, as well as offer content for social media marketing, win-win!
If you must use stock photography due to lack of budget or as a ‘quick win’, try using Unsplash - a stock photography website which doesn’t feel as cold and ‘corporate’. Plus, it’s free, providing you credit the photographer.
Alternatively, it’s always good to question why does this page module need a photograph? What does it add to the page and is it needed at all? Sometimes no image is better than one that is not truly relevant or quite clearly not curated for your brand.
Your website is your greatest brand asset and content hub. Ensuring you get this right is essential to your business’ online success.
Working with an experienced agency who understand how to convey brand and content within website design is paramount. At NetConstruct we strive to better understand your business and what makes your customers tick. Combining design and user experience with persona and stakeholder research, our in-house design team immerse themselves in our client’s businesses, allowing us to better understand who you are, what you stand for and how you want to be perceived by your customers. We work with you, crafting and honing these concepts and curating original content to form a website that embodies your business and engages with your customers.
We aren’t a brand agency; however, with more than 20 years working in web development we understand the impact brand has on your business. Our extensive experience in website development means that we are perfectly placed to provide guidance and expertise in how your brand can be conveyed online. Without a clear brand and great content, a website is likely to fail. It needs to be crystal clear why users need your product and why you should be their first-choice destination.
Content is key and can only strengthen the final outcome of the project at hand, making your customers, as well as your competition, take notice. Building a brand and curating bespoke content takes a lot of work and consideration and it’s important that the brand values and content are never sidestepped, especially within a web build.