How Quality Web Design and Copywriting go Hand in Hand
Good copywriting is often an afterthought in the process of building a website.
It’s common for web designers to fill the website with placeholder content. From there, either the client or a professional copywriter replaces everything with the real content.
Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT the optimal workflow when designing a website.
The better method is to design the website and write the website copy simultaneously.
Yes, this means that the best web designers are also copywriters themselves and part of their job is to get a comprehensive understanding of the client’s business to write quality content.
Asking your web designer if they’re also familiar with copywriting is one of the key questions to ask your web designer before hiring, and can benefit your digital marketing strategy in the long run.
What’s the ideal copywriting process for web design?
Before starting the design, it’s best for the client and the web designer to assemble a rough outline of the website.
This outline should identify the different pages, types of sections, and a rough draft of the content within each section. The web designer should play a large role in writing that content.
From there, once the web designer has an outline of the website and sufficient knowledge about the client’s business, they can start the design phase.
During the design phase, the web designer will inevitably edit, expand, consolidate, and rearrange the rough draft of the content to craft the perfect website from a design perspective, an SEO perspective, and an engagement perspective.
Let’s break each of these perspectives down, individually:
Get a better design
One of the most important factors in website design is creating a clean, modern, elegant design is to ensure that the length of the text in every section isn’t too long, too short, misaligned, or inconsistent.
To achieve the optimal text length, it’s almost always necessary to make tweaks to the content during the design phase (on the fly).
There are tons of sloppy-looking websites out there, and they’re often caused by having the wrong length of content in many areas.
Finding the right balance is essential. If your content is too long, it will look overwhelming. But if your content is too short, it might seem unprofessional. Finding the “sweet spot” takes effort.
Another key component to a good design is ensuring that all of the elements (including text) have proper alignment and consistency.
For example, let’s take a look at this section here:
You’ll notice that the first two icons have equal text length for the descriptions, but the third description is much longer and looks sloppy.
It should look like this instead:
The designer might also come up with new design ideas while they’re in the process of designing. For that to work, they might need to alter the content (or create new content) so that everything can fit nicely with their new design idea.
If the web designer is not working hand in hand with a copywriter themselves, they wouldn’t have much flexibility to come up with new ideas or good copy on the fly–unless they use placeholder content to be replaced later.
However, the problem with placeholder content is that it forces the client or copywriter to conform to the design. This often results in subpar content, since it’s secondary to the design.
Doing the design and the content together ensures that both are prioritized and that there is a strong synergy between the design and the content.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Get better Search Engine Optimization results
Great written content is a major factor when it comes to getting results from search engine rankings.
For the process to be as streamlined as possible–while keeping the design of the website intact–it’s ideal for the web designer to be an SEO expert as well.
This allows the web designer to write content that search engines will rank at the top of Google, providing their client with the results they and their potential customers are looking for.
The first step is for the web designer to perform keyword research, allowing them to find relevant keywords with the right intent and that get an adequate volume of searches at a reasonable level of competition.
After the keyword research phase and once the web designer has identified the target keywords, they will proceed to write and edit content while keeping the target keywords top of mind.
Tools like Surfer allow the web designer to analyze the content compared to other websites that are currently ranking for the target keywords. This enables them to achieve the optimal keyword placement, density, word count, etc.
It would be nearly impossible to achieve strong SEO results without having a copywriter on board.
Even if you do have a copywriter but they’re not also your web designer, this means that your online presence might suffer due to a lack of synergy between the design and the content creation (your design might take a back seat if the content is dictated by someone else).
Get more engagement from your visitors
Last but not least, it’s important for the content on your website to engage your site visitors and motivate them to take the action(s) you want them to take.
Even if your design is flawless, your website visitors won’t be convinced unless your written content is appealing to them and keeps them “hooked” into reading more.
If you’re building a website and you don’t consider yourself a copywriter, it might be best to find someone else to build it for you (or at least work hand in hand with you so that you can ensure that the design and content have good synergy).
Here are some key copywriting principles to keep in mind if you’re trying to write great content for a website:
1. Avoid jargon and write in simple terms so that everyone can understand and not get overwhelmed.
2. Use short paragraphs, short sentences, and a lot of spacing between the different elements on your website so that it’s easy on the eyes.
3. When writing content, always use the AIDA formula–which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Learn more about the AIDA formula here.
4. Write as if you’re in a 1-on-1, in-person conversation with a friend so that all of the text comes out sounding natural and approachable.
5. Use “social proof” such as testimonials and statistics to earn the website visitor’s trust.
6. Use a very clear and enticing call-to-action throughout your website (and try to keep your different calls-to-action to a minimum – don’t overwhelm the visitor with tons of options).
If you follow the six steps above, your website will have the valuable content your target audience is looking for. As a web designer, you’ll be able to offer a higher-caliber service if you refine your copywriting skills make it a part of your process. And as a client, you’ll likely receive a better website if you choose a web designer that will also write your content!