Design or Content who rules?

Design or Content who rules?

On the running debate between design and content, I have to come down on the side of content. Design is, obviously, a visual thing so people don’t take too long to make a decision. But you can only decide if it’s the right one after you’ve read the content.

I guess it’s the same as ‘looks aren’t everything’. Glossy sporty cars may look great but they’re not much cop with a 1200cc engine. People, both male and female, are frequently judged by how they look and the ‘gloss’ often takes precedence over personal values.

Yes, you need good design to attract people to your website. But it’s the content that will encourage them to stay – and return. The fact is, you need both if your website is going to work ie attract healthy traffic and generate leads and sales for your business. But, if forced to opt for one or the other, I would opt for content.

I have to disagree with the statement that design relieves anxiety. My one concession to this is that the design is not off-putting. I always want to read what’s what. As I’m not a designer, I don’t know if a strapline would tell me I was in the right place – or even in the wrong place. Prominent calls to action would, in fact, make me leave. I want to be the one to decide and heavy persuasion would make me decide, but my decision would be to leave.

Perhaps good design would work well on a landing page. But, at this point, the decision has been made and you just want to be clear about what to do next. Third party endorsements, accreditations and testimonials only help reduce anxiety if they are relevant and believable. Many aren’t…

Compelling content engages people and persuades them to buy your goods or services, to return and to recommend you to their friends. But only when your business is supported with great products and great service…

And then customer satisfaction and good customer service will earn you recommendations and bring lots of visitors. And the search engines will reward you with a higher page ranking and more traffic.

Great content keeps your visitors and the search engines content. Does design do that?

Thanks to Heather Haggis for this, a great copywriter and friend!

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