Words or Design: What Matters More?

by Chris Goldman


Making Sure You Get First Things First

In the world of digital marketing and website design, an ongoing debate between good copy and good looks creates a healthy tension worthy of exploration. The SEO experts and expert designers often find themselves coming at website design, Google Ads, and Social Media posts from opposite directions. 

Designers naturally want a website to look great, be somewhat unique, and impress people from a visual standpoint. The content creators understand that people search for a product using words and won’t make their decision based on the cool look of a site. 

Here’s the point: Both words and design are part of an effective website and deserve a high priority. However, language is what draws a customer to your site in the first place. But, if the site – from a design standpoint – is challenging to navigate, embarrassing to look at, or undercuts the perceived value of your professionalism, it can cost you customers. That’s why bizmktg.com believes all great designs begin with crafted language and the two work together for optimal function. 

Here are some important factors to consider when designing or reworking your website. 

  1. What Are You Trying To Communicate?
    Begin your redesign by working with a strategic communication session to uncover the important information your future customers need. This usually should be facilitated by someone trained specifically for this starting point. At bizmktg, this Strategy Session often includes our messaging specialist, designer, and even our social media consultant. Why? Once you clarify the core marketing message, the overall layout and design will need to flow in that same direction. By having the right people in the room, you can now work faster and more effectively.
  2. Who Are You Building the Site For? Answer: Not YOU!
    One major mistake businesses make when having their website redesigned is forgetting that their website isn’t for them, it’s for the customer. Many of the plug-and-play templates offered by DIY services aren’t designed for actually selling your products or services, they are designed so you’ll say, “Hey, that looks cool!” The problem is, you’re not buying your products and services, other people are. They are only concerned with functionality, accuracy, speed, and ease of use. That leads to the next point…
  3. Predictability Is A Good Thing
    The basic layout of effective websites isn’t a mystery. Actually, effective layouts can often lead people to say, “But that looks like most websites I see online.” Yes…and that means people will know how to navigate it quickly and give you money more effectively.

    A couple of years ago, the top of websites were getting so crowded with menu options that designers made a major change and put most of the links for existing customers at the bottom of the site (what we affectionately call the junk drawer). It caused confusion for many people. They had to scroll down to find what they were looking for and lost interest.

    Here’s the point: When people have to think about how to navigate your website, they are likely to find another solution for their needs. When they search for your product or service, click on your site, and in a few minutes are able to sign-up, purchase, get information, etc. this is a good thing. When your design or layout forces them to waste energy just trying to figure out what to do, who you are, and how you can help, they will go somewhere else.
  4. Finally: This Is A Both/And, Cart-and-Horse Conversation
    Unbounce.com recently did an extensive, data-driven look at this topic. They concluded, As it turns out, design may not be as impactful—or as worthy of stressing about—as you may think. Our results showed copy has twice the relative importance compared to design.” (READ ARTICLE HERE)

    The bizmktg team would agree with a couple of points: The content/copy needs to be well written with the deeper psychology of your preferred customers in mind. And, the copy needs to be supported by a clean, easy, professional design that supports the messaging. 

Redesigning your website can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time. But it’s rare for a business to take this on internally and complete the project in less than 24-36 months. That’s why – at the end of the day – hiring a digital marketing team is your best bet. Just remember this: If you were to have an employee take this on, at their pay rate, what would it actually cost you to get it done over the months ahead? And, what expertise do they actually have? Chances are, the cost of a digital marketing team is going to save you money in the short run, and make you significantly more money in the long run.

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