How Website Design Impacts Content Marketing
To state the obvious: consumers are conducting their own online research about products and services before making a buying decision than ever before.
Traditionally, the role of content marketing has been to expand a business or organization’s “keyword vocabulary” to better enable them to match the very phrases their customers are using when they search.
There are two primary benefits to this content strategy:
It helps the company to be discovered by customers by boosting their SEO via keywords and regularly-updated quality content
It allows the company to provide value to the customer at the earliest point of contact, which in turn builds loyalty and trust
A poor website design will result in a higher bounce rate as customers literally click away to another site as quickly as possible. Content requires at the very least a low-level time commitment from visitors. If they don’t like what they see upon arrival, not only will they leave, but now they will be frustrated and seek out your competition.
On top of that, the content that you have already invested in has been squandered.
When the website design is engaging, elegant and clear, visitors will spend more time exploring your content, immersing in your brand and – the holy grail of content marketing – sharing it throughout their own community.
What Is Content Marketing?
According to our research, 7-10% of internet users say they prefer to gather information about a company through articles and blogs as opposed to more traditional (and “salesy”) marketing channels. This is because content marketing differs from traditional marketing in important ways like providing the potential customer with immediate value.
Content marketing educates customers, showcases products, explains service features, highlights a brand’s selling points, and more.
For example, one of LaunchUX’
Their content strategy involves very little self-promotion. The value of the information they share secures their place as an authority.
Consumers want to be educated and entertained, and content marketing makes it possible to do both simultaneously. Companies that can articulate their information effectively will see their credibility and engagement soar.
Consumers don’t want to be sold on something. They are extremely resistant to advertising and efforts that strike them as insincere. Rather than just being a “work-around” to reach more customers, content marketing gives everyone what they want: information, value, entertainment and SEO.
In order to be effective, customers need to be able to actually find the content they need on the website.
A content-friendly website design includes highly-visible features like a menu bar, a search bar, an archives page, a dedicated space for blogging, and more. The goal is for visitors to find the information they are seeking with as few clicks as possible – ideally, just one. They do not want to spend even a few extra seconds digging through pages of irrelevant information.
An intuitive website design, including drop-down menus under each header in the navigation bar, enhances accessibility. As a result, visitors will be more likely to find the content they need with confidence.
Having examined thousands of websites, we have discovered that the placement of blog content is often poor. Typically, it appears as if it was an afterthought used to fill gaps in the website’s design. Often, that is exactly how its placement was determined.
Consumers aren’t likely to take the initiative to search for additional information on your blog, so having an intuitive design that automatically displays relevant content is incredibly useful. For the customer, it is as if the website is able to accurately anticipate and fulfill the customer’s needs.
Imagine a customer is searching for information about stump grinding. If they arrive through the homepage, the section for “stump grinding” should be easily identifiable upon arrival. Once they have clicked on that section, they will immediately access the core information about stump grinding, but they will also receive sidebar and footer recommendations for additional blog content and FAQs that are related to the stump grinding process.
If the customer begins with a Google search, they might access the site through the blog entry, and here, the website will automatically suggest the core website content and other additional information.
No matter how customers enter the site, their questions will be answered before they are even asked through a combination of website design and content marketing.
Web designers might hate to hear it, but content really is king. The role of design might be secondary, but it can still absolutely make or break a project.
The website’s design elements – font, colors, alignment and branding – make an important statement about a business. More than that, they should support and reinforce the content’s message, and they should directly relate to the consumer’s first impression of the business.
Quality, trustworthiness, professionalism and more are all subtly introduced and displayed through a website’s visual design.
However, the opposite is true of poor design. When we talk about “poor” design, we’re not just talking about whether it is “appealing” or not. Poor design is design that detracts from the content’s message. When the user is not impressed by the aesthetics to the point of becoming “aware” of them, the momentary distraction is all the reason they need to click away from your site.
If the design quality is poor enough – aesthetically speaking – it can cause your business to come off as unreliable.
All too often, poor design invalidates otherwise great content.