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Could a content first strategy improve your business - Castleford

Could a content-first strategy improve your business?

Internet users visit pages to check out products and services, learn new information, ogle cool images and videos, and find answers to their questions. Essentially, to consume content. Why is it then that website developers have historically overlooked content when designing or rebuilding sites?

The ‘content first’ strategy aims to fix this and – in doing so – improve the user experience as well as your marketing performance.

What is a content-first strategy?

Aptly named, a content-first strategy is an approach to website design that puts the content before anything else. That means making all decisions around the actual content you publish, as well as the team of people who regularly design, produce and update the content on your site.

In the past, websites began with the design – using dummy texts like Lorem Ipsum and other rigid procedures – and thought about the content later.

This was in part because website designers were tempted to make a site look visually appealing before actually testing out the content. While this might be satisfying, it’s not very practical as publications that don’t fit the mould would inevitably jam up the site and cause problems.

A content-first strategy starts by auditing your content – seeing what you have – and then designing your website accordingly.

You also need to think about the direction your content is heading. If, for example, you’d like to see more user engagement, customise your blog with a comments section, as well as share and reaction buttons. If you want to generate leads, ensure downloadable content is only accessible through required fields.

How can you adopt a content-first strategy?

Ok, so what does it all look like in practice? In addition to being a web design strategy, content first is a philosophy. It means asking different questions from the get-go when approaching a web design or rebuild.

To be truly content first, you need to consider the following foremost:

  • What are the goals of your content?

A content strategy will lay out the purpose of your content, as well as the marketing goals you’d like to achieve through this content. Unfortunately, this strategy is commonly overlooked during site design. Content first designers, on the other hand, understand that a content strategy can be used to inform several aspects of a website build, including how information is organised within the site and on each page.

  • Does my current content support these goals?

Take a look at the content you already have. Does it seem up-to-date? Is it relevant to what you’d like to achieve? If not, you’ll need to produce more, and be sure your website can support it. Anticipate what you’ll come up with and mock it up or test out similar content you’ve seen online. This will assure you that the site you build is truly content first.

  • Who’s who on my content production team?

If your website is going to effectively communicate your content, all stakeholders need to be included in the design process. Understand who’s who – including writers, designers, strategists and the marketing team – and then get them together with the design team.

This meeting is essential for both parties – it will give the content team an opportunity to brief web designers on what they produce and how they do it, and give the design team time to explain to the content people how to produce and manage materials on the new site.

Are content first websites better for business?

Websites are meant to communicate content, and if they don’t – whether that’s because information is outdated, content is visually boring or information is disorganised – you’ll miss out on business.

By putting your content first, you’ll design a site that:

  • Is better organised and more visually appealing
  • Tells users what’s important by presenting information meaningfully
  • Promotes your brand effectively
  • Is clear, organised and user-friendly
  • Doesn’t jam up or freeze

How important is this to your business? Very important, according to Tyton Media, who found that 94 per cent of users cite web design as the primary reason for rejecting or mistrusting a website and nearly half of people use web design as the number-one factor in determining a business’ credibility.

If you want to improve your marketing, a content-first redesign could be the ticket. If your site looks bad or performs slowly on desktop or mobile, you’re likely losing business. According to Tyton Media, 40 per cent of people will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load, while 62 per cent of companies who redesigned their websites for mobile use found that their sales increased.

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