Content marketing is a lot of work, and you definitely want something to show for your efforts when you’ve been chipping away at it for awhile. A fair question business owners ask is how web design comes into play with content marketing.
To answer that, let’s also look at what can work against content marketing efforts.
Visual Elements Play Largely Into The Grabby-ness Of The Content.
A crisp, modern looking website design sends the message that your website is current and that you care about the information you’re sharing. Missing the mark here, either with a design that looks dated or crowded, decreases the odds a reader will stick around long enough to read everything you have to say.
After all, it’s super easy these days to simply hit ‘back’ and find another answer.
A Stanford University study found that a whopping 75% of users made almost immediate assumptions about a website’s credibility based on the design. The time it took to reach that decision was sometimes less than a second, meaning that a dated design could mean 3 out of 4 users aren’t interested in what your website has to say. (And that they make that decision very quickly.)
That’s a significant loss for all the hard work that went into the content marketing, otherwise.
This is just as relevant when you’re deciding where else to put your content besides your own site. Even if you have the design part nailed down, is it just as solid on other platforms? Forums? Guest blogs elsewhere?
Great Images Hold Attention.
The Nielsen Morgan Group, a well respected research company, found through their studies on web design that users often spent 5.94 seconds staring at a page’s main image. That demonstrates a high degree of importance people tend to put on images — especially strong ones that are legitimately interesting.
With how often people talk about limited attention spans, anything that holds attention this well practically demands that we take it seriously.
The choice of strong images that complement the overall page’s look? All part of design.
Typography: Nothing Is More Directly Connected To The Content Than This.
Typography is literally the way your text looks. As screen resolutions get bigger and sharper, using a large enough font with a type face that befits the brand is the next determiner of held attention.
Years ago conventional wisdom was to use plain fonts that weren’t so fancy they were difficult to read.
The downside was that a lot of websites ended up looking pretty plain-Jane trying to follow that advice.
These days it’s a bit easier to be creative with the great variety of web fonts available on most builder platforms. While that old wisdom holds to a degree, it’s still useful to balance a font that carries your brand’s personality as long as it doesn’t give your readers eye strain.
And while some folks may have felt that large fonts look juvenile, a lot has changed.
Not just that a font size that worked at 1080p causes headaches on your latest 1440p/retina/4K screens or somewhere in there that most devices are now. But also because of what websites are and set out to do are different than they were prior to ubiquitous social media channels.
These days, big, eye-catching text is useful, and even the body copy requires larger sizes to be comfortable on modern screens.
If you’re writing on a website with small text, it will immediately look dated.
Sans-serif fonts with rounded letters can project a fun or casual vibe that works for a lot of websites, which is why they are so common. But Serif fonts like Georgia or Lato aren’t simply for legal sites or “serious” topics. They are also easier to read because the tails on letters better distinguish them and are easier on the eye to read at length.
Ever notice how most books are printed in that style of font?
If you have a lot of short pages, either is fine. But if you have a reference/resource site, or a blog with longer information, bear that in mind.