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Web Development 101: Put Content First

Web Development 101: Put Content First
web designer, content marketing

What story does your website tell? Building a new website for your business is a chance to craft content that conveys the purpose and priorities of your business. By putting content first in your web development strategy, you focus on what they need to know to say yes to your company.

In Web Design, Form Follows Function

Have you ever seen a movie that seemed to be more about the special effects than the story? Where you walked out of the theater wondering what you just saw? It turns out websites and movies share a lot in common. Both rely heavily on look and feel to make a good first impression, but when the credits roll, the real question is what story did they tell?

When you sit down with a custom web designer to start a new project, your natural inclination may be to start with the look and feel, then worry about what the site’s content says later. But if you focus on looks at the expense of your company’s story or priorities, your website will turn out to be nothing but special effects.

Instead, your new website’s design should be informed by what you want your website to do – the story you want it to tell – and that boils down to content. Before you start hashing out features and layout, take the time to put content first.

For Professional Service Companies, the Story is All About the People

Let’s look an example. Delta & Tau is a law firm with 5 lawyers. Each lawyer has their own specialty, but together, the firm can handle most individuals’ legal problems. The partners, Sue Delta and Tom Tau, pride themselves on having the right person to help every client. Their current website is 7 years old, missing a couple of the firm’s newer lawyers and focuses mostly on listing the company practice areas.

Delta & Tau have shopped around and they know some of their competitors use pop-up chat programs, introduction videos, and black-and-white stock pictures to make their firms feel big, powerful, and available. That’s what Sue and Tom are looking for when they sit down with the web designers at Provisio Technology Solutions to build their new site.

But Sue and Tom’s ideas are missing the story of their firm. They are focused on features, rather than putting content first. It may be that some features they like do highlight the story of the firm. A pop-up chat program, for example, connects well with the idea that the firm has someone available to help visitors with their problems. But some other priorities may just get in the way.

Shining a Spotlight on Your Company’s Best Assets

When you put content first, you and your web development team can be sure that the design you choose is well suited to the way you want to tell your story. Depending on your industry and your needs, this could mean:

  • Building a homepage that features an explainer video
  • Designing navigation menus that flow naturally with how visitors use the site
  • Leaving space for photos and stories of your products or people
  • Putting your most important work right up front

When Sue and Tom work with the web development team to put their content first, they decide that the best way to feature their firm’s story is to put the people who work there right up front. Rather than an abstract header image, they choose a portrait showcasing the attorneys and staff. They hire a videographer to create a short video showing their team in action, and they pay a content writer to create services pages that explain the breadth of what they do.

With all that great content to work with, the web designers can go to work putting the “special effects” in place to make the most of the content. They can connect each practice area page with the lawyer who handles those cases, and build a homepage around the introductory video. They can even build in that pop-up chat program Sue and Tom were looking for. Now, the law firm has a website that sells the company’s purpose, not just their services.

Don’t let a template push your company’s story to the background. By putting content first, the web developers at Provisio Technology Solutions can help you meet your marketing goals and build a web solution that works for you and your business.  Contact us to set up a free consultation.