26.10.2016 by Mike
As we stressed, it’s an aspiration, and it would be bending the truth if we said every single website design project that comes out of Studio 18 conforms strictly to this principle – but we do know that if we can persuade clients to embrace content-first it a) makes the design and build process much easier, and b) significantly lifts the quality of the finished site in every respect.
Almost a decade of experience designing websites has made us acutely aware that there’s one content area in particular which presents a recurring challenge – copy.
We’ve found that all too often in a website design project, copy is left to the last moment, usually because, while our client had the very best intentions of drafting their own copy, they found it far more of a struggle than they’d anticipated. The temptation then can be to press on with design, simply leaving space to backfill with text at a later point – but this is to step onto a slippery slope that will almost certainly lead to a second rate website.
We’re not saying it’s essential that you have every single word signed off before your designer starts work on your new site, but what is important is that both these creative processes are co-ordinated.
You may be drafting copy yourself, or engaging a professional copywriter, but whoever has responsibility will need to have a clear understanding of the creative approach, how the site will function, how navigation will work, which areas require populating with content, and what the approximate word count for each area is. To achieve this, the web designer and copywriter will need to work closely together, agreeing project stages and key deadlines at the outset, communicating regularly throughout, and sharing work as the project progresses.
Every project will be different of course, but if design and copy are progressed alongside one another, it will ensure they integrate seamlessly, make the production process far easier, and improve both the visual aesthetics and effectiveness of the finished site.
There’s absolutely no reason why not, after all, no one is going to have the knowledge or passion you do about your business… but just before you start sharpening up your pencil, we recommend you ask yourself two crucial questions:
By this, we don’t just mean can you put a sentence together, or do you have a basic grasp of the rules of grammar; you’ll need to be able to create copy that:
We’re not saying copywriting is rocket-science, but drafting sales and marketing copy is a science of sorts. It requires you to put yourself in your customers’ place, and write from their perspective rather than your own. Doing this, and focusing on benefits (why your customer needs your product or service) as opposed to features (how your product or service works) is something that some business owners find difficult, but which will be second nature to a professional writer.
It’s easy to underestimate the time that can go into drafting and revising written content. Perhaps this question is better rephrased as ‘would your time (or indeed the time of any other team member you delegate this task to) be better spent working on other areas of your business and generating income?’
If you need words for your new website, but writing’s not your thing, or you simply don’t have the time, Studio 18 can support you with a fully integrated solution that combines design and professional copywriting.
It’s a service we provide for many of our clients who, when commissioning a new website, want to be certain they’ll be free to focus on their work, that their project will be delivered on time, and that with design and copy perfectly integrated, the effectiveness of their new website will be optimised.