There is no getting around the fact that web design impacts content marketing. Content marketing is fishing. Users are fishing for answers. You are laying out the bait for users to find. If content is the hook, the sharp piece which captures a reader or viewer’s interest, the design is the fly – the beautiful, intricate, feathery creation which first captures the fish’s eye and draws him in. Both the fly and hook need to function optimally for the fish to be caught.
A well-considered website design is vital to the success of your content marketing strategy. Different flies appeal to different fish. Different sized hooks are used for bigger and smaller fish. The design of your website and the content you are creating needs to appeal to your specific target persona. Content marketing is not only about excellent writing skills, witty jokes or amazingly well-constructed sentences. Great content relies on web design, which compels users to engage just long enough to get them reading.
Why web design impacts content marketing so much
Web design impacts content marketing because, hey, if the design is terrible then no one is going to look at the content. If it looks boring then users won’t engage. If it looks cluttered then users won’t engage. If it looks like a mini thesis, ain’t nobody got time for that! You get the idea. Web design is the visual bait, the lure, the intricate fly to get your user biting.
The internet is jam packed with information, images, music, games, videos and more. It’s information overload and users are constantly having to sift through it all to find what they are looking for. They simply cannot read and absorb it all. Users are looking for quick answers to their problems. Your content might be exactly what they are looking for, but if you make it difficult for them to instantly see that, you will more than likely lose them.
Designing the perfect fly
Successful content marketing relies on many of the same typesetting techniques used in magazine layout. Magazines rely on big, bold, catchy headlines, sub-headings, pull quotes, stats and info blocks – all beautifully designed around relevant imagery to help tell the story. It’s the visual appeal which first attracts your eye. You glance at the headline and maybe a pull quote before you commit to reading the full article. Many may not read the full article, but rather skim read by taking in all the “interesting” snippets of text which have been highlighted through typesetting. This is how you need to think about the design of the content for your website.
Choose the right feathers: web design to beautify your content
Let’s take a look at some elements that show how web design impacts content marketing.
A basic, yet crucial, web design decision is what font to use. Think of the tone of your writing and the target persona when choosing the correct font. Is your content fun? Serious? Technological? Friendly? These attributes can all be communicated subtly through your choice of font. You can use two or even more (at a push) fonts for various types of content (e.g. body copy and headlines).
Font sizing and weight:
Another font consideration is legibility. Make sure your user can read both headlines and body copy easily. Easy-to-read fonts allow users to read on small screens and allow them to get through large areas of content more quickly.
It is also important to give text a hierarchy. This can be done through font, colour, font weight or font size. These font attributes must be set as standard across your web design to best suit your content and the type of content you wish to produce in the future.
Colour needs to work with your brand. As much as too much information can be overwhelming, too much colour can have the same effect. If you are going to be using lots of images or have adverts on your website, you may consider keeping your web design to a selective, muted colour palette. If you know you are not going to use much imagery or visual elements, use colour to add some visual interest.
You will want to incorporate call to action (CTA) buttons and links within your text and these need to stand out. Here is a fun article to read with 31 great CTA examples. Choose your colours carefully when you design your website to best compliment your content marketing plan.
Just like with a magazine article, the style and colour of the images you choose impacts the success of your content. Avoid irrelevant, boring, generic imagery in favour of eye-catching and interesting images to draw possible readers into your content. If your content is visual (an infographic or a video, for example) make sure it is professionally presented and enticing. Visual content is always a great way to incorporate your brand identity.
Your content marketing strategy is not just about creating great content. Your content is all created to gain customers or clients. Once a potential customer has engaged with your content, your web design should allow them to quickly and easily move onto the next step you want them to perform. This could be buying a product, signing up for a newsletter or registering to receive an additional piece of content. Create clear, eye-catching CTA buttons allowing users to further engage and move along the customer journey.
Get the right fish on the hook
Your full content marketing strategy and SEO plan needs to be in place before you look at the design of your website (Find out how SEO and content marketing work together here). Web design impacts content marketing by essentially helping to fulfil the purpose of your content marketing strategy. It is a step towards your goal. If your users are enticed by what they see then they will be more likely to read and then more likely to engage.
Ready to go fishing?
I’m sure you’ll now agree with me that web design impacts content marketing. They’re just two pieces in the user journey. You need the right fly for the fish you are after and a solid hook of relevant content. Do you need to make some tweaks and adjustments to your website design and user journey to perfect your fly? Or work on creating unique, relevant content to hook your target persona? Flicker Leapers are passionate about content marketing as a part of the user journey. Some of us also enjoy a spot of fishing.