An awesome website design starts with awesome content.
Your site visitors come to your site not to view the design, but to read your content and browse your images. The entire layout of your website should therefore be designed to support your content, and not the other way around.
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – web designer and author Jeffrey Zeldman.
I think designing without content makes for bland, cookie-cutter websites. It’s really no different from purchasing a premade theme and then making your content fit the design. Content, therefore, is the most important element in every website design, and why I require my clients to submit the content together with their design brief.
What does this mean for you?
Before you even approach a web designer, you have to have amazing images that match your brand, and copy that beautifully conveys your message. There’s only so much that a web designer can do if your images and copy are not swoon-worthy. This is really important and should be given a lot of thought and care. And yes, you need to invest in it.
Even if you’re only using stock photos while you build your portfolio, make sure you curate ones that align with your brand identity. If you have the budget, hire a professional photographer to shoot brand images of your products, behind the scenes photos of you, your workspace, and other images that convey your message visually. Styled shoots are great when used sparingly – they are unrealistic, but they do show what you are capable of and what your dream project would look like. If you use the same brand colors, they will look AMAZING on your website.
Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Words are also equally important.
I know it’s hard to write about yourself. I can totally relate. Which is why I hire talented people who weave magic into my thoughts and write copy that still sounds like me, but better. If you don’t have this talent, hire a copywriter who gets you, who can read your heart like nobody’s business.
A good copywriter will not just string beautiful words together. He/she will make sure your message gets into the hearts and minds of your customers, and do so in a way that truly differentiates your business from your competitors.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Here’s a handy checklist on what you will need to prepare for your website:
- Homepage – you need a well-written welcome message that tells your visitors what you do, what your site is all about, and what makes you unique; you need a fabulous hero banner image that conveys your brand image, or several ones from your best work to showcase on a slider, a few well-chosen photos too if you want to feature important pages
- About page – who you are, where you started out, what you do, why you do it, include at least one professionally-taken headshot of you, and maybe one behind the scenes photo too.
- Staff page – not applicable to everyone, but if you want to introduce everyone in your team, you need good headshots, and interesting bios.
- Sales/Services page – who needs you, why they need you, what you can offer; include one good image for every product offering
- FAQ – anticipate common questions and answer them here; at the very least have a headline image so the page is not all text
- Contact page – aside from the contact form (plan which fields you need), try to include as many contact details as you can, a Google map of your location (if you have a physical store or office) would be useful too.
I hope you’ve found this helpful! Feel free to ask me questions in the comment section.