Endeavor Creative Blog

Website Empowerment, Digital Entrepreneurship, & The Power of Design

Taking a Copy First Approach to Designing Your Website

“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design; it’s decoration.”

Jeffery Zeldman

Copy First Approach to Web Design

Most business owners who need a new or improved website start the web design process somewhere in the middle: rather than getting clear about their business goals and their customer, or thinking about the messages that will inspire their site visitors to act, they start by:

  • looking at websites they like to get ideas;
  • shopping for WordPress themes or Squarespace templates;
  • hiring  a designer to create a beautiful layout who will have no choice but to use empty boxes filled with lorem ipsum.

“I’ll figure the content out later.”

Creating a website that will benefit your business in a big way means developing the content first

This approach will not only help you turn more visitors into customers, it will help your designer create a better website for you. Or if you’re going the DIY route, it will help you choose the right approach (template, platform, etc.), because you’ll have a better idea of what content you need to accommodate.

A template — no matter how pretty — is not designed knowing your story, your goals, your customer. When you have a content outline and draft copy, you’ll know what you need and what to look for.

If you’re planning a new website, hold off on worrying about color schemes, fonts, and mood boards too — instead, start with a blank page.

I know that colors and fonts and mood boards are the fun part, but I promise you, it’ll be even more fun once you get the content sorted out.

Write your content outline first. What are the main pages you’ll need? What content elements need to go on every page?

Then start writing.

Even if you’re working with a copywriter or editor, creating an outline and thinking things through as far as you can will help you get more out of your time working with them.

Why Start With Copy First?

Because that’s your persuasive argument for why people should trust you, hire you, buy from you. Treating your copy like an afterthought means it just won’t convert as effectively.

And when working with a designer, if you come prepared with copy in your hands, they won’t waste their time making guesses and choices for you. They’ll be much better able to use visual design and layout to enhance your message and create a more effective hierarchy — one that will better guide your site visitors to action.

Work with me to create a content plan for your website design project — I’ll guide you through it and we’ll have fun doing it. 

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I help entrepreneurs, do-gooders and micro-brands get clarity and solve business problems using the power of the design process