Why content should be your number one website priority

Websavers Inc

Sitting down to build a website can be a daunting task. With so many different parts of the site to work with, there’s always a big long list of items to do, from moving the menu up a little to re-wording the about page, these tasks range from design to content adjustments to typography. Just about every time I’m helping someone learn the WordPress ropes, particularly those who have not worked with a content management system before, it winds up being a challenge to get my new student to wrap their head around the very important order of operations: put in all your content first! Then focus on the design almost as an afterthought.

It certainly is counter-intuitive if you’ve ever written any HTML before, since you pretty much have to code large sections of the site before you put any content in (or at least it feels that when when you begin). Even for those who haven’t written a word of code in their lives, they’ve surely visited hundreds of websites, and their thought is, “I want my site to look like this!” And that’s a great way to think when you’re envisioning a website, but it’s not the right order of operations when it comes to actually implementing the new site.

Start with content: “Content is King”

As Bill Gates said back in the mid 90s, content is in fact king – particularly in this context. How can you build a design without any content? The content is the centrepiece of the design – it’s the entire reason why you need a design to begin with. Imagine building a museum with hundreds of show cases and beautiful areas for paintings, but not having any paintings or artwork to showcase. How do you know what size rooms you need for a collection if you don’t have the collection? How do you build security casings for artwork that you don’t have? It works the same for websites – you need the content before you can build an intuitive and classy design around it.

Templates to the rescue

With templates, and more specifically the high quality premium templates available for WordPress, why spend thousands of dollars on a custom design (or less than that on a sub-par custom design) when you can get incredibly well build templates for less than $100? “Okay, but I want my article on jobs over here and my picture over there, your templates can’t do that! So there.” Who cares? It really doesn’t matter to just about anyone exactly where your content is on the page as long as it’s readable and easy to find. Don’t get hung up on where every single detail is located, because the large majority of your visitors will not notice.

I’m not saying to forget about design and the importance of site layouts, but rather, trust that the designer who put together the template you’ve chosen for your site has a great amount of experience building websites. They’ve been doing this for years (particularly in the case of premium templates) and they know what is best for the layout and design of your site. You will most certainly have better ideas than the designer on certain elements here and there, but that’s not something you should ever be thinking about before you even have content on the site.

Your site may look stunningly beautiful after hours or days working on the design, but if you have no content, it’s completely useless.

Content defines the purpose and character of a website, so the next time you’re putting together a site, don’t get hung up on the details of the design before you’ve even defined a purpose. Go find a nice template and get writing!

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Jordan Schelew

Jordan has been working with computers, security, and network systems since the 90s and is a managing partner at Websavers Inc. As a founder of the company, he's been in the web tech space for over 15 years.
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2 Comments

  1. augenlasern on April 17, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Hey! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be
    able to fix this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Cheers!

    • jordan on April 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Hi there,

      There’s a couple of plugins that do this for you, such as this one (though it hasn’t been updated in some time): http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-mobile-edition/

      Themes that are responsive would be a better bet, such as many of the WooThemes and Elegant Themes. If you’d like more info on this, please send us an email at help [@] websavers.ca

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