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The Best Time To Create Content

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John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

The best time to create content is before you begin building your website.

Most site owners and web design studios get this equation backwards, and focus on visual elements and logos first. While a professional logo is important to have, a site without great content is not useful to anyone.

Having content prepared for your website shows that these questions have been answered or at least considered:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What problem are you solving for them?
  • How does your product solve that problem?

An Analogy

Your website is the container for your message. Aligning the design with the content makes that message and your website more effective. Misalignment of the content and the design may confuse customers, and the effectiveness of the message can be greatly diminished. This is one reason design follows content.

Imagine your website is a vehicle, and your content is the driver. What would misaligned design look like?

  • If the driver spoke about environmental issues or green energy, they wouldn’t drive a gas-guzzling Hummer! They might drive a Prius instead.
  • If the driver was targeting the wealth accumulation crowd, they would not drive a Neon or a Focus, but they would drive a Lamborghini or a Bentley.
  • If the driver was talking to ranch owners, they wouldn’t drive a Escalade, but they would drive something rugged, like a Dodge Ram.

Mismatched Content and Design

This analogy illustrates why the design process is more focused when the content has already been produced. But there are other reasons as well.

Testing For Real World Use

Websites that are designed without real content often rely on lorem ipsum text, Latin text that serves as a placeholder. Stand-in content is often optimized for best case scenarios, where headlines, paragraphs, and images are the perfect size. Real content is often nothing like that.

Having real content allows the web designer to make adjustments if the headlines are especially long, or posts are extremely short. Preparing for scenarios such as these may not occur to your web designer if they are using perfectly sized placeholder content.

Knowing how you will produce content also helps your web designer plan for those conditions. Will you be embedding videos, images, or widgets from third party sites? Do you usually write new pages in Microsoft Word first? If you are formatting fonts and brand colors in Word first, cutting and pasting into the WordPress visual editor can sometimes cause glitches in your layout. Microsoft Word adds tons of unwanted formatting code — so knowing this ahead of time can be useful.

Good Content Takes Time and Effort

Every website has a purpose, usually it is to get people to take some sort of action. If you want customers to buy something, you must convince them that your product is right for them. How do you convince them that what you offer is superior to your competitors?

If you already have an army of customers who recommend you to their friends, then that will help a great deal. But if you are looking to convince people who haven’t heard of your product yet, the content on your website needs to deliver the goods.

Great content will take more time and effort than you anticipate. It is not something you should plan on cranking out the week before your site launch. When the content is rushed, less thought and concern is put into it. Branding, design, and content are all important, but if you only choose one thing to devote your efforts to, make sure it is site content.

Customers who hear of you will invariably head to your site. If the design is beautiful, but there is no compelling story that convinces them to make a purchase, will they still make the effort to give your product a shot?

Give yourself time to collect the content you already have and produce new content. This extra effort is what will help separate you from your competitors online.

We Are Experiencing Delays

When content is the last thing to be produced for a website, bad things happen. Site launches get pushed back, budgets get blown, or the site is forced to launch with the content only half done. It’s bad times all around, yet another reason to work on content first.

Design Is The Sizzle, Content Is The Steak

Design is the supporting cast, your content is the starring role. They need each other to work well, but only one of them is the reason customers come to your website.

What If You Don’t Know What To Say?

If it is a struggle to find something to say with your website, perhaps a smaller site is a better first step. Websites are always evolving by nature. You can always start with something small and build the story of your business as it grows, and you learn more about what you want to say.

Writing or creating is not easy for most people. It takes practice like any other skill. If you are thinking about launching or revamping your website, start thinking about who you want to reach, what you want to say to them, and what you want them to do once they hear your message. The more laser-focused of a goal you have in mind, the more effective your content will be.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

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