Content, Content, Content

…And why the C word isn’t just for copywriters.

This is a blog I produced for bcsAgency on the importance of that illusive C word. 

Content – for designers and developers across the globe, this tiny seven-letter word can strike the utmost fear. For them it can destroy the design of a webpage and cause endless sleepless nights attempting to fit that last paragraph of text onto a homepage. Content can seem like the enemy, but essential if you want to get the best out of a website. But why, we hear you cry, why can’t you get rid of that last sentence or ‘accidentally’ fall on the backspace bar until that pesky copy fits?

Because, content is actually very important to a webpage. And I’m not just talking about using content just to fill the blanks in the site you’re building either. Copy, not only has the power to make or break a website, but also persuades that customer to go through with their transaction or to come back to your site over your rivals’. While we have seen huge revelations in the big, wide WWW over the past few years, with mobile phone browsing, mCommerce and the use of tablets massively on the rise too – the way we write our content has evolved significantly.

 

Copy on sites today is less about the hard-sell, and more about tapping into the emotions of the audience. It also comes hand-in-hand with the design of a site to further engrain a brand’s message and allows the user to connect entirely with what that brand is all about. To complement with the vast increase in mobile consumption of the web, content also needs to be precise and able to speak to the user within the five minutes they have on their morning bus commute.

Imagine yourself as the user… you’re looking to buy a shark outfit for your cat – (Much like this one here.) You search and find the perfect site. Cleanly designed and fully responsive to your Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5. But then something stops you in your tracks. You begin to read through the product description:

“This is a cat costme it is very nyce and will fit any size of cat & it is machine wasble and it will fit any size of ct and it is stain-resistant and….”

Point proven? You can guess the fate of this particular purchase.

Now this is an extreme example but when it comes to purchasing items from the web, trust has a big part to play. No matter how smoothly the site’s functionality works or how beautifully it is designed, if you were to stumble upon a sentence like the above within the transaction process, doubts over the product’s quality, or even whether the brand is genuine, will start to set in. As you have no existing emotional connection with the brand, you will probably choose to shop elsewhere.

Robert Mills, author and Studio Manager at Bluegg, words it beautifully in this article (and provides some great examples of how copy works within a project lifecycle):

“Ultimately, care about content, put it first where you can. Let’s work together with clients to make the web a place full of great stories.”

As we strive to craft and create beautifully designed sites that move towards bettering the web as a whole, we must also use the same careful crafting process when choosing the words we produce for the content. Occasionally, a site may need to take a content-first approach and as designers and developers, we need to let it dictate how we build and design.

Ultimately, an emphasis needs to be placed on good content to convey the right messages to your audience and allow for your brand message to shine through.

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”

― Ernest Hemingway

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