88% of online shoppers reported that they wouldn’t return to a website if they previously had a bad user experience. Yet only 55% of companies currently conduct user experience testing on their sites.
You may not realize it, but user experience could make or break your website. Meanwhile, many companies fail to see if their sites function properly and are easy to use. Without testing, your website could unintentionally be scaring away tons of potential customers.
So, what’s the secret to creating a website that people want to visit and explore?
You implement a content-first design that allows the high-quality content you create to be the focus.
But wait! What exactly is a content-first design? And why is that so important to the overall experience your website offers to its users? That’s what we’re sharing in this post.
What is a Content-First Design?
A content-first design is one that prioritizes the content hosted on a website. Instead of designing and building a website and then filling it with content, you need to determine what kind of content the site will feature beforehand. Then, you shape the web design around that.
This is beyond just thinking about a generic blog post. You’ll want to consider things like the photos on your site, whether or not you’ll use charts or tables, and even if you’ll embed videos. When designing your site, you’ll want to consider all of these types of content.
Think about it like building a house. You aren’t going to start building the house without first knowing how many rooms it’ll contain and where each one will go. You’d map out the interior before you begin building. Think of your content as the interior and the beautiful web design as the exterior.
When you focus on the content first, you ensure your message is effective and can stand on its own. The design is merely complementary. Whereas, if you opt to design your website before considering your content, you could wind up spending extra resources redesigning various web pages to work with your content. You may even find yourself making changes to your content to accommodate a design you already have. And, in doing so, you compromise the quality of your content.
How a Content-First Design Improves Your Website UX
Armed with a better understanding of content-first design, you may still be wondering how this is helpful. Well, there are a few reasons why prioritizing your content will improve the overall user experience a visitor has when exploring your site. Here are a few:
1. People Are Visiting Your Site for the Content Anyway
The content you’ve created is why people are accessing your site in the first place. They clicked a link and opened your web page because of the promise of valuable content. They may have come across you via a Google search because you carefully used keywords in your blog post so you’d rank higher in an effort to attract readers. Or maybe they found you via social media and clicked a link to read your latest blog.
However they found you, they went to your site to consume the content you worked hard to create. They aren’t there to admire your stunning site design. They’re on your site to be informed, learn, or maybe even for entertainment purposes. So, if a user is accessing your site specifically to enjoy your content, shouldn’t that be enough to make it your number one priority?
When you direct your attention to the reason people visit your site, you can ensure the whole experience is enjoyable. Take a moment and pull up your own site to check out your latest piece of content. Is the experience a positive one? Or could improvements be made? If you can’t be impartial, ask someone to give you honest feedback so you can fix any issues you may have.
2. Your Website and Content Will Work Perfectly Together
As mentioned above, you don’t want to design your website only to find out later that your content doesn’t fit. If this happens, you’ll wind up spending additional resources, like time and money, to redesign elements of your site. That’s simply not practical. Nor do you want your content to suffer because you had to make it work with an existing design that isn’t cutting it.
Creating a powerful user experience with a content-first design means the elements should complement each other. Done right, your site will be a joy for visitors to explore. They’ll be able to easily navigate your site, effortlessly finding what they’re looking for. They’ll be able to read landing pages, fill out forms, and make purchases with zero hassle.
3. It’s a Reminder to Prioritize Accessibility
When you focus on a content-first design, you’re reminded to make sure everything you publish is accessible to all visitors. Sometimes this gets overlooked because we forget that not everyone has the same abilities as we do. People who have vision or hearing impairments may visit your website and be unable to consume your content if you haven’t taken the proper steps to ensure accessibility.
To do this, test if a screen reader can read your latest blog post aloud. Add transcripts for audio files and include captions on videos. Taking these extra steps goes a long way in showing your site visitors that you care. Plus, it gives them a reason to keep coming back in the future.
4. It’ll Help Your SEO in the Long Run
Google doesn’t just consider your content when its algorithms decide where you’ll rank in the search results. Your web design is a factor, too. Having an SEO-friendly website is crucial because Google doesn’t want to send its searchers to poorly designed, difficult to navigate, or slow-to-load sites. And, don’t forget that it should be mobile-friendly too. A great web design built around your content will be beneficial in increasing organic traffic.
Creating Your Content-First Design
Now, the question is how do you create a content-first design? It might sound overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you start this process. But if you’ve already built your site, don’t worry. You can still implement these tips to make some changes to your site if needed.
Here’s the advice you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Map Out Your Content Strategy:First, it’s wise to conduct an audit of the content already on your website (if you have one). This way, you get a clear picture of the content you’ve previously published. You’ll also want to determine what kind of content you’ll share in the future. Will you primarily focus on blogs? And if so, what will those blog posts feature? What about your landing pages? They may have imagery, charts, or even videos embedded. You’ll want to consider all these elements so you can create a site design that accommodates that.
- Identify Existing Site Issues:If you already have a website and aren’t starting from scratch, you’ll need to spend some time to see if there are any areas that need improvement. Are there any known usability issues? Make a note of these problems so you can fix them in the next iteration of your site. This way, you won’t have to worry about them later.
- Begin Creating Content:Then, you can begin the content creation phase and develop valuable, high-quality content based on what your audience is searching for. As you do, format the content how you’d like it to look when published. This means you’ll want to add headings, lists, images, etc. This will give you a visual of what your site design needs to be created around.
- Once the Content is Finalized, Create Your Design: The final step is to move into the design phase. It should pair nicely with your content and match your company’s branding while appealing to your target audience. Make it an enjoyable experience. That’s why it’s so important to understand what resonates with your audience so you can create a site they’ll love.
Doing all of this ensures you’re providing a great experience to anyone that visits your website. If you’re not sure your site is up to your standards, ask someone to visit and offer honest feedback. It’s the best way to get an accurate view of how accessible and user-friendly everything is. Then, you’ll know if you need to make changes.
Put Your Content First With Express Writers
If you’re ready to get serious about creating a content-first design, then invest in a high-quality content agency at Express Writers. Our team is passionate about creating valuable blog posts, web pages, and more to help you serve your audience. We’re here to help with all of your content needs!