When thinking about your new website, it can be easy to get distracted by all of the fancy functionality and pretty layout you’ll soon be the proud owner of. But if you’re not careful, you can put the (shopping) cart before the horse. You see, content should always come before design.
To be clear, I’m not saying that every last word of your content must be ready before the design phase can start. That would drag the design and development of your site to a snail’s pace. Rather, the primary portions of your content should be mostly finished (home page, important internal pages). Little tweaks here and there are still perfectly acceptable, but the over-arching message should be solid.
Content Provides Structure
It’s important to remember that the purpose of a website is to deliver content. All of your spiffy new design is just a wrapper for that content, in order to make it more palatable to the people you want to receive it. If you put your design in place before you have your content ready, you kneecap the ability of your website to perform its essential function, because the content will constantly need to adjust itself to fit into a design that wasn’t intended for it.
Time is Money
When you have your content ready before the designer begins, you can rest assured that the final design will fit your content perfectly. You’ll be approving mockups based on the way the final pages will actually look.
If you design without content ready, then mockups delivered will only be approximations of what they might end up being, and it will be much harder to envision what the final product will look like. It might look good at first glance, but as you then try to slot content into it, you will inevitably discover that your content doesn’t fit into the section designed for it, or that a particular layout doesn’t serve your company or your audience.
Redoing design at this point will cost time and money. You don’t want to re-write your content to fit the design, that would undermine your website’s primary purpose. Instead, you’ll have to pay for the designer to redo their work, which is expensive, frustrating for you and frustrating for the designer.
Keep the Designer Involved
Just because you don’t want the designer working on layouts until the content is done, doesn’t mean you don’t want them involved at all. Your designer has all sorts of knowledge about different ways you can organize content on a page, so as you work on your content, it can be useful to bounce ideas about how you are structuring it off of them.
There you have it, the primary reasons why content should always come before design. I know the design phase is the most exciting, everyone wants to put their eyeballs on the sexy new digs their content is going to live in, but without good content to fill those digs, everything is for naught. Need to get your content finished or want a designer who understands how to work with your copy? Give the team at Solamar a shout, we can do it all!