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Why a content-first approach is better for web design

4 min read

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We’re big believers in prioritising a content-first approach ahead of any web design project we undertake, largely because of our commitment to user experience.

We take great care in the planning stages, understanding audience personas and the journey users aspire to take online, and that all feeds into site mapping and component planning, which empowers our clients to write their web content before design takes place.

A content-first approach serves audiences and provides designers with what a user needs to read and know about your business and brand—that way, a web designer can tailor website design around user experience and key messaging.

Sometimes it’s better to look at web design as a well-thought-out ‘decoration.’ Alongside the aesthetic, web designers deeply consider the content and how to showcase said content on a website to move audiences through a journey to convert them. Choosing the right component for the right content is everything!

Nikki Taylor — Head of Digital

Component planning is a crucial stage in website design that leads to a content-first approach and is led by user experience design. When we architect a sitemap for a client, it leads to component planning for individual pages, creating a blueprint for content writers to follow to provide pertinent content for each page based on audience personas.

Sometimes clients think this can delay or slow a project, but it’s a much more agile, sprint-based approach. Clients can work through the content in sprints and feed it into the design, and that doesn’t mean no design is happening, either. Suppose an agency (like we do) works with component-based design. In that case, they can kick off the project by creating a digital design guide and UI kit and preparing to take your brand and develop it for digital with steps such as accessibility testing.

Content-first approaches are so much better to work with. A lot of inspiration can be taken from content, and it can change the whole flow of design in the way we allow content to breathe or position components and elements in such a way as to divert attention.

Jamie Robinson — Lead Creative Designer

Another problem with not taking a content-first approach is sometimes content doesn’t suit the design. It’s not been considered in a way that fits the content, calls-to-action, call-outs or other components needed for an audience. That can make it much harder for a content writer to write engaging content, and often, it can cause projects to pause to rethink design or wait for content to be written.

As a content writer, it’s so much easier to write the content first and brief it in to a designer. Sometimes trying to shoehorn content into predesigned components is frustrating and not intuitive to a user's experience or a writer’s.

Lauren Irwin - SEO Lead

Content-first approaches also allow content writers to prioritise SEO and header tags so that when it goes to design, content is arranged for maximum keyword optimisation and will flow through to structural development to get the most out of content visually on-page as well technically for search engine crawlers.

That’s why we’re so keen to design and build bespoke at Abstrakt; templates and site builders like Shopify and WordPress are great for bloggers or startups cutting their teeth but really getting into user experience and how hard a website can work for your business, that’s where the planning stages come into their own when designing and building websites bespoke.

UX design impacts website navigation, usability, accessibility, engagement, user flow, journeys and conversion—that’s why it’s so important to get it right with engaging content pre-written before it moves into web design.

In Conclusion

A content-first approach can save a lot of time, money and energy for all involved, and a good agency that champions your business won’t be afraid to challenge you if the content isn’t working for the audience's needs digitally or for Google ranking factors.

It’s a whole ecosystem that eliminates redundant components, improves design for mobile-friendliness, empowers writers to create quality content, keeps content and tone of voice consistent with component planning, improves everyone’s productivity, and so much more.

If you’re looking for a website that works hard for your business and drives real results with a digital agency that will champion you and your audience’s needs, get in touch—we’d love to discuss your project.

OG Article

Lauren Irwin

Lauren is an SEO Lead specialising in SXO and optimising websites for user and search. In a nutshell, she makes websites work hard to be found.

She has specialist knowledge in digital brands and SXO.

Connect on LinkedIn.

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