Content marketing

How web design impacts content marketing

how web design impacts content marketing

How web design impacts content marketing

Despite its importance, it’s sometimes hard to tell how web design affects content marketing. If your website looks like it’s from the Stone Age, people won’t stick around to read all your good stuff. On the other hand, a conversion-optimized website will give you the best return on investment (ROI) for your content marketing campaign.

Being part of the content team for one of the world’s largest companies, I have seen what goes into designing UX and UI, and its impact on the user. It’s safe to say that poor web design hurts your content marketing efforts.

In this blog post, we’ll look at how web design impacts content marketing and how to design a website that maximizes visitor engagement and conversion rates.

Why do you need to look at a website’s design?

There are several ways a poorly designed website can negatively impact your digital marketing strategy:

  • Your visitors don’t receive the intended value from your content
  • Your visitors have a difficult time finding information on your site
  • An overly complex website design can reduce engagement among users
  • Poorly coded websites will be slow, forcing users to wait unnecessarily, negatively impacting your content marketing campaign

A successful content marketing strategy must be complemented by the right web design. So it’s only fair that content marketing dictates web design for content-heavy sites.

How web design affects your content marketing positively

Designing a great website makes a positive impression and makes it more appealing. It’s the first impression that your visitor gets of your business.

But it’s not just about having a pretty face. An effective web design should be easy to navigate and comprehend. Let’s examine some of the positive effects in more detail.

Branding benefits 

A brand story is crucial in today’s crowded online environment. Effective web designers convey your brand’s message through their work. A thoughtful design isn’t about “sticking logos on the pages or using flashy colors.” Every single line and cross on your site should serve a purpose. The typography, images, videos, colors, and other visual content should communicate your brand message. The visual content should reflect your brand’s essence.

It doesn’t mean you have to go crazy with the colors or design. A professional web designer will convey a client’s core values through simplicity rather than complexity. 

Your audience will heavily influence the branding and style of your site. That’s why a site selling kids’ clothes look very different from a luxury resort. 

Credibility and trust

Trust impacts content marketing strategy

People judge a book by its cover — the same holds for websites. 

An online company’s design is the top factor in determining its credibility. 

According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not.

Your website design will also influence customer’s perception of the value and quality of your products. An Unprofessional design may lead users to believe that the product is of low quality and not worth their money.

Higher conversion rates with better user experience 

Good design helps to improve conversion rate

User experience matters. 

The better it is, the more likely someone is to return and convert. A well-designed website will increase a website’s conversion rate.

What is the conversion rate?

It refers to the percentage of visitors who convert into buyers. For example, if a website has 100 visitors, but only 10 buy the product, or service the conversion rate is 10 percent. If the same website has 50 visitors who buy the product or service, it has a 50 percent conversion rate.

A user-friendly website helps the user find what he is looking for increases the chance of a conversion. A well-structured site will have clear calls to action that guide the user through the site, from top to bottom. 

Your web page should not overwhelm users with a lot of information or choices.

Good web design helps SEO

Effective design help search engine optimization

A good web design and SEO go hand in hand. 

Good UX is essential for several different reasons, but one of the most important reasons is that it encourages users to engage with your content, which helps your SEO. Search engines can read your content better if your website is error-free and well structured.

The better the site’s user experience, the less likely visitors are to bounce. Low bounce rate and high time on site will help boost your SEO. 

Several factors determine whether or not your website shows up in the search engine, but it all begins with a good design.

Strategic content placements and relevant content suggestions

A well-thought-out site will have strategic content placements and recommendations. Each piece of content suggested should be the next sensible step for the customer. Your website should guide the customer seamlessly through the sales funnel, making your content marketing efforts a success.

Tips for improving the user experience 

The website you create is your online salesman, so if you want it to do its job, you need to make it as seductive as possible. Here are eight tips for creating a website that complements your content marketing efforts. 

Make sure your website is responsive

Responsive web design is beneficial for content marketing

The mobile revolution has transformed the way we surf the internet. People are now no longer tied to their desktops when looking for information. 

Mobile devices allow users to access information on the move wherever they are. You should be able to deliver the same experience on mobile as on desktop. That’s why it’s essential to consider a site’s responsiveness in your content marketing campaign.

A good web design should be compatible with any device. 

Responsive web design (RWD) is the process of creating a website that will look great on any screen size. Another name for RWD is adaptive design. Whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop, the pages adapt to fit the screen size, and the user experience remains good.

The mobile web is the future, so think mobile-first when planning your site.

Make your site accessible for everyone

Accessibility should be part of digital marketing strategy

What is Accessibility?

With accessibility, you ensure that your content is easy to find and read for anyone — regardless of their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. A poorly designed website, application, technology, or tool can create barriers that prevent people from using the Internet.

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor
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“The power of the Web is in its universality,” said Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web inventor. “Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” 

It’s time to start thinking about accessibility in your content marketing strategy. 

Why is accessibility important in content marketing? 

Well, for starters, it’s the law in some countries. And while the law isn’t a great reason to make accessibility a priority, it’s an excellent place to start when looking at the benefits of accessibility across all of your content.

“When speaking of disabilities, the blind and their needs are most often used as an example. It is deceivingly simplistic since accessibility is something most of the population can benefit from.” – Marcus Österberg.

People with disabilities are not a minority. They should neither be a charity case nor ‌an‌ ‌afterthought. Accessibility, a.k.a. universal design, is a good business practice and a moral imperative.

Ensure findability

Findability in design impacts content marketing

To ensure visitors have a good experience with your website, you should make everything easy to find. One way of doing this is by having clear navigation and search bars at the top of every page. 

Ensure the navigation elements are reserved for the most important details and use a drop-down menu to avoid clutter if you have many options. Another thing you can do is include icons next to important links, so they’re easier for users to identify.

Links should be placed within the page content, not just at the bottom or top of the page.

Use descriptive page titles. The title of the page should accurately describe the content of that page. Be clear and concise. 

Optimize for user journey and goals

Findability in design effects content marketing

The user journey is a critical part of the user experience. It is the path your potential customers take to make a purchase. As a web designer, you must understand the user journey, their typical questions, and their goals.

It’s no surprise that the goal of many websites is to convert visitors into customers. One way to help achieve this goal is to map out the customer journey for each of your website’s pages.

The first step is to understand the user goals and sketch out a rough draft of your website. Knowing your customer’s objective will allow you to design a site architecture that ensures goal completion with minimal clicks. Using a pen and paper (old school!) or a specialized tool, map out the customer journey. Make sure there are clear call-to-action for each goal. 

Use colors and contrast to direct visitor’s attention to important elements.

Choose your colors wisely

Color is one of the most critical aspects of design. It can make a website pop or blend in. The color scheme of a website can significantly impact the way people perceive the product or business.

You can improve the user experience is by building a website that’s easy on the eye. You’ll want to get rid of any distractions, including unnecessary flashy colors and animations. 

The color scheme of a website is one of the most important factors in the user experience. When a website is easy on the eyes, visitors can concentrate on the content instead of being distracted by flashing animations, bright colors, and other elements that might annoy them.

The color scheme you choose for your website should be based on the brand personality and the user experience you want to create. 

Scannable content

An effective design will make information more scannable.

An experienced designer will use headings, subheadings, lists, and text formatting to organize information into easily digestible chunks. This way, your visitors can get the information they’re looking for by skimming through your content quickly.

Research shows that 79 percent of users always scan new pages; only 16 percent read them word-by-word. Compared to the control version, scannable content showed a 47% improvement in usability.

Site Version

Sample Paragraph

Usability Improvement (relative to control)

Promotional writing (control condition)

using the “marketese” found on many commercial websites

Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).

0%

(by definition)

Scannable layout

using the same text as the control condition in a layout that facilitated scanning

Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were:

  • Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors)
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166)
  • Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000)
  • Carhenge (86,598)
  • Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002)
  • Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).

47%

Content Readability

If you’ve ever spent time trying to read a website with an awful design, you know how crucial the readability of a website is. 

Many factors play a role in the readability of a website, like typography, paragraph length, and color.

But there are also things you can do to make your website more readable by your visitors. One thing to think about is the font you choose. Sans-serif fonts are generally easier to read. 

Line spacing and reasonable font size would reduce strain on the reader’s eyes.

Another thing to consider is the structure of your paragraphs. It’s best to keep your paragraphs to two to three sentences. If your website is full of long paragraphs, try breaking them up into shorter paragraphs.

To make your text easier to read, choose a font color that contrasts with your background. 

Use ample white space, so your page doesn’t feel cluttered.

Ignoring these basic UX principles can hurt your content marketing efforts even if you produce the highest quality content because your visitors won’t take the time to read it.

Keep these best practices in mind when you’re publishing content.

Site Version

Sample Paragraph

Usability Improvement (relative to control)

Promotional writing (control condition)

using the “marketese” found on many commercial websites

Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).

0%

(by definition)

Concise text

with about half the word count as the control condition

In 1996, six of the best-attended attractions in Nebraska were Fort Robinson State Park, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum, Carhenge, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.

58%

Site load speed

Potential customers can drop off if site is slow loading

When it comes to website loading speed, every second counts; no one wants to wait for a page to load. This is especially true in the case of mobile visitors.

According to The Akamai study, published in September 2009, 40% of people abandon websites that take longer than three seconds to load.

I’d imagine that’s even lower now.

It would be best to optimize for speed when designing a website; this includes selecting the right web hosting and tech stack.

Page builders are great for visually appealing layouts, but beware that these will increase load times if not used correctly. 

Nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.

If you’re using WordPress, consider using plugins like Flying Press or W3 Total Cache that will cache the page to ensure it’s ready before the user visits- thereby speeding up loading times. 

You can also compress images beforehand with tools such as Photoshop, Kraken, or TinyPNG — this will decrease file size without compromising the quality of graphics (you want them crisp!). 

If you have a global audience, you may want to consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN). With a CDN, your web page is stored and delivered through a network of worldwide servers. The result is fast loading speeds for everyone viewing your website!

Use animations and videos wisely. If you’re using animated videos and animations, make sure they’re optimized for quick loading. 

Of all the people surveyed, half said they’d be willing to give up animation and video for faster load times. (Unbounce, 2019)

Conclusion

Effective content marketing demands a positive experience for the users. Many factors shape a positive user experience, but web design is one of the most fundamental. By taking a few considerations into account when designing your site, you can ensure the best experience for your users and maximum ROI for your content marketing efforts. 

The effort and time it takes to design a great website are worth it. Having a good website is a good business decision, and any serious business owner should prioritize it.