When you’re planning a new website, you have two fundamental elements to consider: web design and copywriting. While neither copywriting or design are more important for an effective website, the two creative disciplines must work together.
As a copywriter I have seen my fellow writers over-emphasize the importance of written copy. At the same time I have seen that some designers often neglect the importance that well-written and structured copy can have on a website. Great copywriting assists the design elements of a website by highlighting important information to drive conversions.
Let’s take a look at how website design and copywriting work together to create a great experience for readers and increase conversions!
How Great Copywriting Helps Designers
A professional copywriter can bring a lot of analytical and creative elements to any project. Without a doubt all digital marketing professional agree that getting ranked on search engines is essential to convert customers into buyers. To do this you need optimized web content, and great copywriting accomplishes several goals, including:
- Catch the attention of your audience and keeps them reading more.
- Moves your audience toward a conversion by using a strong emotional appeal.
- Talks directly to the reader, making a personal feeling associated with your brand.
- Describes the benefits and results of your product.
- Demonstrates the value of your products by showing how you are the only solution the readers need to address their problems.
- Establish a strong value proposition.
- Builds trust and authority with your customers.
To this extent, website copywriting should be optimized for readers, enhanced for search engines, and formatted to meet the aesthetic layout of the website design. While it is vital to establish the right message and tone, website copy needs to match the visual layout created by a designer.
What Comes First: Copywriting Or Website Design?
My wife loves to bake. She makes delicious cookies and pies, and each of her tasty recipes requires a precise amount of ingredients added together in a specific order. You have to make the crust of an apple pie before you can add the filling if you don’t want the pie to fall apart in the oven.
The same requirements exist for a successful website development cycle. If you start with the copy before you know how it will be formatted and presented, then you are essentially adding the filling of a pie before you bake the crust.
The first step in the website development process is to design layouts and wireframing visual designs. The designer needs to define available space before a copywriter can create content to match the physical space and message.
I work with businesses across the U.S. with my partner, Alex Alexakis. As a leading Orlando designer, Alex knows how to create website designs that inspire and excite visitors to take action.
The first thing Alex and I do when creating a website is to understand the goals of the client and understand the needs of readers. As we learn more about the audience we begin drafting concepts and layouts for the website design. This includes looking at general placement, sizes, and ratios.
Once we have a general layout of the main elements for the website, I begin crafting copy to meet the needs of the audience and fit in the given areas. Over the years, Alex and I have worked out a process that results in high-powered content that drives qualified leads and increased conversions. Here is a brief overview of the three-step process we go through as we develop a website for our clients.
Purpose, Audience & Goals
The first step that every designer should take when building a website is to understand the purpose of the website. This step will look different based on your industry, client, and goals, but in general some of the questions you can ask to understand the purpose of your website includes:
- Who is your audience? Building user personas for the top three segments of your audience will help you.
- What are your business goals? Knowing the goals of a business helps you build a website that meets the needs of the audience and drive valuable conversions.
- How will your readers consumer the content? If your audience consists mainly of single mothers then you will need to optimize your website for iPads or mobile phones.
One of the things that I respect most of designers is their ability to use psychology to build a relationship and trust with visitors. The type of feelings that design fosters in readers (positive or negative) can have a huge impact on how well the website message is received.
This aspect of the User Experience is entirely in the hands of a web designer and should not be overlooked when designing content. However, when you are creating layouts be sure to anticipate the needs of your copywriter so you don’t create visually appealing pages that can’t house the necessary content to complete your vision.
An engaging site should match the personality of its audience. This will increase conversions and help a company meet their goals. Using the right font, colors and white space bridges the gap between the reader’s screen and their heart. Tapping into the unconscious side of website design helps a company appeal to their audience on a deeper level and copywriting can by itself.
Copywriting For A Purpose
While professional-looking website design is vital for success in today’s online world, it is only half the battle. Copywriting helps readers understand themselves and allow them to identify their needs. This intraspective process allows your audience to find value in your products, and drive online conversions and sales.
Once the design of a site is sketched out, your copywriter can begin adding the filling of the site. Instead of wasting time writing content that does not meet the spacial requirements of a page, a copywriter can use the layouts as a framework as they write. The audience and website design also influences the messaging a copywriter will drive through their content, so having a general understanding of the design ensures that the copy meets the needs of your audience and business goals.
Chris Giarratana is a professional freelance copywriter and digital marketing consultant with 13 years of experience helping businesses reach their audience with copywriting, PPC, and conversion optimization. You can learn more about him on his website.