Companies use digital marketing to attract and convert customers online, and content marketing is often at the heart of these digital strategies. Recent findings put out by Lyfe Marketing show that over 70% of the digital audience prefers to learn about a company and its products through blog posts and articles rather than via ads.
One way to look at this is to say that your web design should be flexible enough to facilitate your curated content marketing efforts. From the customer’s perspective, engaging with the company’s content first makes the customer feel they are making informed decisions down the line. Hence, your web design has to be both user and content-friendly.
Let’s look at five ways your web design can amplify your content marketing strategy.
1. Offers greater accessibility to your content
A good web design offers users easy access and navigation on your website. The best-written white paper or blog on your website is useless if your audience can not find or access it. An intuitive web design enables the viewers to reach pages of relevance easily instead of spending mental bandwidth and time searching for them.
The goal for both e-commerce stores and business websites is to help the viewer find and access the relevant content quickly. Some must-have and visible elements on your website include:
- Menu Bar
- Search Bar
- Archives Page or Button
- About Us Page
- Contact Us Page
Put the user experience front and center while finalizing your ecommerce website design. Let’s say a new user lands at a random page. How many clicks does it take to find and get to a page with relevant content? Ensure that your web design allows you to place breadcrumbs to guide them to pages of interest.
The Zendesk website, for instance, is a great example of website design enabling content marketing.
Notice that the Resources section is very visible on the homepage. In fact, it’s just one of six options visitors have when they get to the page. When you click on the Resources link, the Blog option is the first thing you see. In other words, in just two clicks, you can easily access the website content.
Even when you access an article of interest, the website allows you to access other articles related to it that you might be interested in through its Related Stories section:
You’ll find that section at the bottom of the page. The placement makes sense if you consider how people read. They do not typically read another article until they finish reading the first one. Another option would be to include a link to a related article within the article. It should make sense for the link to be there, though. For instance, if the original article is about email marketing and one paragraph mentions the importance of email response rate, you can link that word, “email response rate” to your article on that topic in the website.
In sum, you need to align your web design with your content marketing and how your target audience consumes the content.
2. Enhances the aesthetic appeal of your content
Your website’s appearance shapes the way people perceive your content. No matter how good your content is, it will just go to waste if your web design is clunky and visually unappealing. People will just bounce away from your website without engaging with your content, never to return.
Here’s an example of how your website should look:
The web design is simple and more intuitive. The most frequently searched topics have direct links, while the search bar allows visitors to search for specific topics not listed on the home page.
Although you want to make it easy for your visitors to access all possible content, you do not need to include absolutely everything there. This is what happens if you try to put too many elements on your site:
The visitor has access to practically everything from the homepage but it becomes impossible for them to decide where they want to go. There are just too many options. Besides, just one look at this page and you’d probably want to leave already. The cluttered website just makes your eye exert too much effort.
Pay attention to maintaining a consistent overall look, which comes from consistency across the fonts, colors, background, alignment, and the use of white space. The page should be neat and cohesive, but it’s also important to use enough white space so the text does not look cramped. When in doubt, just remember that simple is always better.
3. Improves the user’s reading experience
Visual elements like font choice, spacing, colors, and graphics help improve the readability content on your website. Better readability helps build a higher engagement level with the viewer, which results in higher conversion rates.
Check out the this BambooHR blog post:
Notice the use of white space to ensure readability. The use of different font sizes also helps the reader navigate through the page easily.
The visual elements do not interfere with the reader’s experience either. Your eyes are directed to the title of the blog post in the screenshot above despite the existence of an illustration above. That’s because the colors used in the illustration are light. The title font is black and therefore stands out from the white background.
As discussed earlier, visitors to your website want to find the content or information they need in the shortest possible time. That means your content also needs to make its point quickly, and the web design templates you use should help your content achieve that goal.
Good readability applies to all content pieces, including blog posts, landing pages, service pages, and pricing. A simple way to test the readability of your content is to run it through online readability tools like Hemingway Editor or Grammarly. These tools evaluate the readability level of your content and offer tips for improving the score of each piece.
Here are some web design tips that help in enhancing the reading experience of your website viewers:
- Use reader-friendly fonts like Arial. Using a font size of 16px-18px also improves readability.
- Set the line height to 100% of the font size used.
- Aim for color contrast between the background and the text on your page. Black text on a white background is an example of a high-contrast combination.
- Create content that search engines can scan. This type of content uses shorter sentences with appropriate formatting, including headers and bullets.
The formatting of your content should align well with the website design to provide the optimal reading experience for the viewer. Aligning your content and web design will help build customer engagement with your content and brand.
4. Amplifies user engagement
A user-friendly web design is more than just a pretty website. It also needs to account for human psychology and how it influences purchase decisions. The use of visual elements like images, animations, infographics, videos, GIFs, and forms will help create user engagement with the pages on your website.
Let’s say your website is an eCommerce store. You can drive user engagement with detailed pictures of your products on the product pages of your website, just like what Amazon does:
In this page, the picture occupies more space than the text because Amazon correctly assumes that potential buyers will want to see for themselves how the product looks. They’ll want to see for themselves the specific product details, not just read them.
Amazon also ensures engagement by giving the visitor the opportunity to interact with the pictures. Users can zoom in and out of a picture, for example. They can also switch to other pictures if they get tired of engaging with the first one.
Ensure that the web design accommodates any additional visual element or content blocks that may be required. Avoid having the design shifting or moving as the element loads.
Remember, online audiences prefer digesting information through visual elements like images and videos when seeking information about a product. These visual elements simplify the information and appeal to the eyes.
5. Evokes emotions that drive user behavior
Emotional design deals with creating designs that evoke positive emotions in the reader, and the resulting positive user experience helps convert the browser into a customer.
Designers aim to connect with the readers on three cognitive levels — visceral, behavioral, and reflective, and use design to build positive emotions on all three cognitive levels.
Research shows that consistent use of colors helps boost brand recognition by 80%. In addition, 92% percent of viewers claim that the visual dimensions constitute a significant factor influencing their purchase decision.
Before you write content and design your website, you need to understand your customer and identify the factors that drive their decision-making process. Behavioral factors, such as the links they click on or where their mouse pointers linger, are important clues you can use while designing a website.
Check out this example from the Scoop homepage:
The page design is based on how customers think before they take action. The calls-to-action stand out on the page, which means they get the visitor’s attention immediately after they land on the page. Since people are not likely to click on CTAs without valid reasons, right above the CTAs are the benefits users can get from clicking. That content can be the final nudge visitors need to take the desired actions of signing up for free and of getting a demo.
Let the web design evoke emotions and let the content convert those emotions to purchase.
By now, you would better understand how web design can complement and amplify your content marketing efforts. Most businesses widely use Internet marketing, and it suits the users because it gives them more options while learning about a new product or service. Technological development and tools help digital marketers keep pace with rising user expectations.
Content marketing and web design go hand in hand. Look at it as inviting the user to your home. You will want to create an atmosphere that helps them relax and feel welcomed. Changes in your web design influence your content marketing initiatives. Last but not least, ensure that the web design is content and user-friendly across all platforms, including desktops and mobiles.