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How Content and Design Support Each Other Design Doesn’t Always Come Before Content – Here’s Why

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - SEO Tips>Content Marketing

Content and design are both crucial components of any website. Content refers to any media that a visitor may consume: text, audio, video, and even interactive web elements. Design, meanwhile, refers to the elements used to present the site’s content: layout, fonts, colours, and much more.

These two website components are closely related, but how? Do content and design rely on each other? Which is led by the other?

Your first instinct may tell you that design leads and content follows, but this isn’t necessarily the approach that produces the best results. In reality, they should guide each other, and content production should be incorporated during the design phase.

Why Content Is Important for Website Design

User Experience

No matter how carefully you curate the design of your website, it won’t be the first thing your visitors remember. Content is what sticks with them. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that your site’s content has the same “wow factor” that your design elements give off.

Design Frames Content

Think of your design elements as a frame. Design can enhance your content, but ultimately, the content’s substance does not change. As a result, strong, meaningful content is necessary for your design to do its job to the fullest.

SEO

Having a well-designed website isn’t going to make your site pop up in Google searches – you’ll need to count on search engine optimization to do that. SEO is one of the most important concepts to consider in promoting your brand on line, and content is where it all matters.

READ MORE: The Basics of SEO Analysis

How Design Guides Content

Readability

As a designer, it’s important to measure the balance between creativity and simplicity. You want your site to stand out, but you don’t want to overwhelm the visitor. One key tip is often overlooked: make sure your content is easy to read. This means using reasonably-selected fonts and colours, and staying consistent for the visitor’s benefit.

Accessibility

Your content should be accessible to everyone. That means a visitor’s personal circumstances should not limit their ability to interact with your content. Consider visitors with visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, internet accessibility, or anything else that may affect how a visitor interacts with your content.

Appearance

Your content may be strong, but if it is presented poorly, it will instantly lose its magic. Professional content deserves to be paired with professional design. Choose design elements that look great, and visitors will form a more positive opinion of your brand as a whole.

Why Content Should Come Before Design

You might think that the most obvious approach to building a website is to first make decisions surrounding the design, then to add in content at the last minute. For better results, you should incorporate your content creation into the design process. This will allow both components to complement each other, ultimately leading to an effective website.

Good websites have strong design and content, but great websites have design and content that strengthen each other.

Think about it – if a visitor perceives your design and content as two separate entities that don’t match each other, they may get the sense that your brand is disjointed and lacks unity.

How to Incorporate Content Production Into the Design Phase

The key to encouraging content and design to mesh together is communication. The following techniques lend themselves to effective communication that should bring out the best in your site.

Create a Roadmap

When it comes to building a website, planning is everything. You may end up making several changes throughout designing and developing your site, but a base plan is totally crucial. That’s why roadmaps are so great. These planning accessories allow you to envision how your journey towards a complete website will unfold. By sharing a roadmap with your team, everyone will understand what role they are playing in your site’s success.

Communication and Project Management

Having a good project management system is a must when content and design teams work together. Among other benefits, a project management system will allow the design team to access content in real-time, allowing them to access tangible examples of what will appear on the site they are designing.

Develop Content Outlines Before Writing It

Earlier, we mentioned that planning is everything. That statement doesn’t just apply to website design, but to content as well. By planning out content in advance, creators will understand the larger role that each individual piece of media will play in your project as a whole.

It turns out that content and design are not as different as you may have thought. Both give your site’s visitors a strong impression of your brand, and both components rely on each other to shine. Consider how these components interact with each other as you build your site – you’ll end up with a site full of gears that turn in perfect harmony.

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

Mueller: Web Pages Should Have “Some Content” Above the Fold

05/11/2021

Content creators may wonder whether Google views content ‘above the fold’ on websites as more important for its search results. Fortunately, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller provided clarification during a recent livestream.

During an episode ‘SEO Office Hours,’ Mueller’s Google Hangout series, a viewer asked Mueller if Google paid more attention to content above the fold. The viewer shared that they were aware of a website that moved their content from below the fold to above, and found that they SERP rankings improved instantly.

‘Above the fold’ refers to what is visible instantly upon clicking on a webpage – in other words, the top of the page. Anything on the page that requires the user to scroll to view is ‘below the fold.’

Search Engine Journal explains that, previously, Google would prioritize content above the fold on webpages when analyzing them for SERPs. Google has since switched to AI and natural language processing to analyze the entire page – not just what is above the fold.

So, does Google really prioritize content that is above the fold?

Not entirely, Mueller explains:

“The main thing is that we want to see some content above the fold,” Mueller said on the livestream. “A part of your page should be visible when a user goes there.”

Mueller provided an example of a page that wouldn’t be received well by Google.

“If a user goes to your website and they just see a big holiday photo and they have to scroll down a little bit to actually get content about a hotel, then that would be problematic for us,” he said. “But if they go to your home page and they see a hall of fame photo on top and also a little bit of information about the hotel – for example, for a hotel site – that would be fine.”

Mueller’s ultimate answer?

“It’s not purely that the content has to be above the fold. But… some of the content has to be.”

read more

Master the Art of Email Marketing to Boost Your SEO

04/09/2021

There are plenty of misconceptions around emails. One of which is that emails are dead, having been replaced by social media. Another myth is that email has nothing to do with SEO.

Here’s a reality check: emails are crucial for your brand! They can increase engagement, draw in new customers, and raise brand awareness – oh, and they can improve your SEO score too. 

You may have never thought that SEO and email marketing were related in any way, but these two components of your marketing strategy can actually complement each other.

In this article, we’ll show you:

  • How email marketing can boost your SEO score

  • What elements every email should have

  • How you emails can make a lasting impression – and not end up in the spam folder

What is Email Marketing?

Every brand should have an email marketing strategy. This means building a digital list of customers sending them emails on a semi-frequent basis. These emails usually have an underlying goal and an accompanying format. Here are some common examples:

  • Welcome emails, inviting new customers to explore your brand’s world

  • Newsletters, released on a schedule to bring info to your audience’s inbox

  • Sale and promotion emails, intended to excite your customers

  • Important updates, like if your store is moving locations

Yes, Email Marketing Still Matters

You might be thinking, “Wait, aren’t emails a thing of the past?”

It’s true that emails are no longer as prominent as a digital communication method, and social networking sites have fragmented the audience that used to do everything through their email service.

Email is still a popular service, though. In fact, OptinMonster reports that 99% of web users check their email at least once a day – some up to 20 times a day!

For that reason, email marketing is super important. It’s easy, cheap, target-specific, and mobile-friendly. Plus, it can boost your SEO results! Learn how below.

How Email Marketing Strengthens Your SEO Score

Boosts Engagement

We know that having more visitors on your site will increase its SEO score. How do you draw in more visitors? Pull them right out of their email inbox. Any email format can do the trick as long as you link back to your site within the email.

You should keep these tips in mind as you aim to rack up engaged visitors:

  • Don’t just cast out a line and expect everyone to visit your site; target a specific audience

  • Make sure the content in your emails is compelling – give readers something to look forward to in your emails

  • Don’t use language that evokes spam – both readers and spam filters will turn away from emails like these

Types of stats I can look for here: what THING brings in clicks or opens from email users; OR how often do emails go to spam boxes

Gives You Better Insights

There’s a lot you can learn from how your emails perform. It’s easy to track their success, too. There are plenty of easy-to-use email marketing tools that can pick up on useful metrics – for example, learn what language makes an effective headline versus a bad one. You can even test specific keywords, and then use your results to improve your SEO results.

Helps You Create High Performing Content Content for Search Engines

Here’s another great thing about tracking data from your emails: if an email performs particularly well, you can use it for content on your website too.

We recommend creating a bridge between your site’s content and your emails’ content. If a piece performs well on one platform, re-purpose or reuse it on the other.

Helps You Supercharge Your Content Strategy

Your emails and your site’s content are like brother and sister.

You can strengthen your site’s content by testing out different things over email. For example:

  • Try out different topics and see what draws people in

  • Increase engagement by asking for direct responses from readers

  • Create personas and craft emails specifically for them

Gives Your Wallet a Break with High ROI

Email marketing is practically free, and think of how often people check their emails. There are very few ‘barriers’ standing in the way between your emails and the intended reader, so you don’t have to worry about throwing piles of money at a strategy that might not land.

Increases Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is key, and emails do a great job sticking your brand to people’s thoughts. Even seeing your brand’s name among other emails reminds readers that you exist, but why stop there? Strong email content can give your audience a true sense of what your brand is capable of.

Offers a Chance for Link Building 

You know that relevant backlinks can improve a site’s SEO score. Why not apply the same approach to your emails? In your messages, link back to your site or other channels of media whenever possible.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Brand’s Emails

Use HTML

Ultimately, there are two kinds of emails: plain text and HTML-based. Only HTML-based emails can display compelling photos, graphics and other kinds of media, and these are things you’d want to use to engage readers.

If the word ‘HTML’ makes you want to runaway, relax. These coded emails are easier to send than you might think. In fact, there are free email templates all over the web that make the process easy from start to finish.

Here are a few things to consider with your HTML emails:

  • Don’t overdo it – too many components will make your emails take longer to load, and readers will stop clicking them

  • Make sure your emails work on the web AND mobile, and that they can fit screens of any size

Timing is Everything

The day and time on which you launch an email makes a huge difference. You may have read ‘rules’ online, but ultimately, it all depends on your brand and your audience. Here are some tips:

  • Tuesday through Thursday is considered the ‘hot spot’ for emails, drawing in the most engagement

  • Friday is a hard day to gain your audience’s focus, unless your brand involves something they can partake in on the weekend

  • Email marketers and Garfield have one thing in common: they hate Mondays. That’s because audiences are usually too work-focused or dreadful to engage over email

  • Time based on your audience; target mobile-based or younger audiences in the evening, and desktop-based audiences in the morning

There is no universal ‘correct time,’ so think carefully about your brand and when your audience will likely open your emails.

Keep a Newsletter Archive

You may keep a campaign archive for various aspects of your marketing strategy.

Your emails should be no exception. This will help you:

  • Collect data over time to see what’s working and what should change

  • Refer back to older archive to reuse content

Avoid Spammy Language

Here’s something that search engines and email systems have in common: neither of them like manipulative ‘junk’ language. While it’s important to SEO that you don’t overuse a keyword or use repetitive text, email systems have strong filters that ruthlessly hunt down spam.

Avoid aggressive terms, oversimplified claims, and desperate pleas – otherwise your mail won’t make it to the inbox.

Track Your Results

We can’t stress this enough: track your email campaigns! There are so many useful metrics to check, including:

  • Conversion rate

  • Clicks per link

  • Unsubscribe rate

  • Bounce rate – we’ve elaborated on this below

Check Your Bounce Rates

This tip isn’t as much about SEO as it is about your audience, though it’s equally important. One of the most important metrics you should check from your marketing emails is the bounce rate.

The term ‘bounce rate’ might be confusing because it is used in other contexts. Your site’s bounce rate is NOT the same thing as your emails’ bounce rate:

  • On a website, the ‘bounce rate’ refers to how often users click on your page and exit right away

  • On emails, the ‘bounce rate’ refers to how often your email does not reach the intended target’s inbox

In other words, if you’ve ever gotten an error message explaining that an email you’ve sent was ‘returned’ to you, the email has bounced; this is what the bounce rate measures.

If your bounce rate is high – let’s say, 2% or higher – you need to give your email subscriber list a refresh.

Create Beautiful Emails That Are Still Functional

Should you focus more on making your emails look great or making them work well? You don’t have to choose, and you actually shouldn’t.

Your email’s design doesn’t compromise its purpose – strong design enhances it!

Make sure you include each of these important features in every email:

  • A subject line that sparks curiosity

  • Carefully chosen pre-header text, which will be visible in the subject line

  • Strong, bold images

  • A refreshing colour scheme

  • Calls to action, including links to your site

  • An info-dense footer

Bring on the Links

Your emails should be more than just a block of text. Give your reader plenty of links to click on! There should be clear paths from your emails to other channels of your brand: social media, website pages, subscriptions, and any others you can think of. Make sure to tell people WHY they should click on your links, rather than simply choosing to display them.

Another tip: Place social media links on your ‘unsubscribe’ page! While a reader may no longer want to see your emails, they still might want to check out your social media pages.

Put Your Best Content Forward

Emails are a great place to showcase your content, but make sure it’s actually good. You don’t want to end up in the spam folder or get swiftly deleted. Besides, what appeals to readers doesn’t always come down to an exact science. Quality content is the best organic way to reach new people.

The Takeaway

In this article, you learned:

  • Why email marketing is more important than ever

  • How good SEO and email marketing strategies can be combined

How to make high-quality emails that readers and marketing strategists both love

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