If your website is badly designed, then fewer people will get to see it – and those that do will have a frustrating experience. That makes Website Design a key part of any good content marketing strategy.
Getting control of how your site looks and functions gives you a better chance of winning the content marketing game. Creating content for your site and implementing best practice Website Design is where you plant your own flag. It’s when you stop renting and start building something you own.
Why Website Design and Website Rebuilds make sense
It’s likely your content marketing strategy extends beyond your website, but it’s worth remembering that while you might have lots of exciting content on your Facebook Page, you don’t own it. And perhaps more importantly, you have limited access to the user data.
Social media sites are dead keen for you to do all your content creation in their backyard. Rather than just sharing links to your site or blog they want you to help them keep users within social media’s walled-garden by using their long-form publishing tools or their native video players.
And while sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn may offer huge reach and clever targeting, they are not yours. You have only a very limited say in how users experience your content when it’s happening on someone else’s platform – and that experience reflects on you and your brand.
On your website, you have full control. You can set the user experience from the moment visitors arrive on your site and you can capture information from them and decide what to do with it. This makes Website Design and Website Rebuilds a crucial part of Content Creation.
If you provide users with a smooth, simple and enjoyable experience on your website you’ll have a better chance of getting repeat visits, ranking in organic search results and converting your visitors into customers or leads.
Website Design will have the biggest influence over user experience, ahead of your Content Writing or even your Graphic Design work. Here are just 5 examples of how user experience can be improved by good Website Design:
- Retaining plenty of white space on your pages will avoid users feeling overwhelmed and make your content feel more accessible;
- Using consistent design and colours for calls-to-action (CTAs) will help them stand out, increasing the chances of users clicking on them;
- Checking that your site and any new pages or features work on mobile devices will ensure you don’t lose traffic from smartphone and tablet users;
- Making room for logos from big clients, certifications or testimonials on key pages will build trust and improve your conversion rates;
- Investing in at least some form of user testing will help you make design decisions from the perspective of your users, helping to balance out your inherent bias.
The role of UX in Website Design
When it comes to Website Design, everyone knows what they like. And good design doesn’t mean telling them they’re wrong so that every site can look the same. A successful Website Design project is one where the client’s preferences can be combined with some evidence-based rules around what users respond well to.
UX in Website Design is about creating a functional, simple, logical online experience for your target audience. If you get your UX right, you’ll have a site that users understand and enjoy. That means there’s nothing getting in the way of your content and a much better chance of converting visitors into leads and sales.
One of the ways we try to ensure that Website Design projects that we work on follow best practice UX is by having our designers work closely with our developers. A benefit of having full-time teams that work across the content marketing landscape is that everyone is under the same roof, reducing the silo effect you can get when everything is split up.
We also put a project manager on our website builds. A project manager is great for holding everyone (including the client) to agreed deadlines and making sure there’s a properly joined-up approach. This means that important considerations, such as UX, don’t fall between the cracks.
Our in-house designers, developers, strategists and writers, supported by a project manager, can turn around a website design and rebuild in 8 weeks.
Website Design for SEO
A website that provides an experience that users love will also tick a lot of your SEO boxes. Over the past 5 years or so, building websites and creating content has become much more user-focussed. Sites that achieve sustainable success in search do so by providing real value to humans, rather than doing neat tricks for robots.
SEO got a bad reputation due in part to the activities of the black hat community, but also due to a lack of understanding, even among some marketers. If SEO is about tricking Google into thinking your pages are more useful or your content is more worthy of higher rankings you’re only an algorithm update away from losing your traffic.
Good SEO is about making it easier for Google to crawl and index your content. Just as you would remove hurdles between your users and the actions you want them to take on your site, you need to do the same things for Google’s little robots.
At Castleford, we look to our strategy team when it comes to SEO advice. Whether it’s a presentation at our weekly Search & Social or a question from a sales prospect, our content strategists are expected to be in the know when it comes to optimising sites for search.
And because our content strategists work alongside our designers, developers, writers and project managers they’re able to make sure that our Website Design projects follow best practice SEO. Even if Google is not the main source of your traffic, getting your SEO right during a rebuild or redesign of your site is the least disruptive and most cost-effective time to do it.
If you’d like tips on UX, SEO or website design in general then you might be interested in one of our Whitepapers.