Last week, we discussed the importance of planning the technology of a site ahead of time. But planning ahead is extremely valuable in other areas as well.
A flashy design can only take a site so far. Customers don’t visit a site to see the shiny header you made; they visit sites to find information, products, or entertainment. And if the information they find isn’t accessible, they aren’t going to stick around.
Good Copy Can Make or Break a Site
Few people realize the importance of effective web copy. The tone of voice of your about page, the kinds of information you present and the way you present it all have a huge impact on your brand. The best kind of copy is the kind that you don’t even notice, because the writing style takes second place to the information being presented.
Often the client is the last person who should be writing their own content. They approach the information from an owner’s standpoint, meaning that they focus on the detail that are important to them, and not necessarily the details that are important to their customers. They can become too attached to the information, and end up unable to edit from an objective standpoint.
When starting a project, talk to your client about their plans for their content. Part of a successful brand includes making sure that the content on their pages is interesting, informative, and effective.
Coordination is Key
Sometimes, it’s not the kind of content that affects a project, but the lack of any content at all. Sure, we can design an amazing looking site, but if we don’t have anything to put in it, it won’t be ready to launch. This extends to everything from page copy to photos of merchandise.
Lack of planning doesn’t just affect the site launch, either. How can you design a header when you don’t have the image? Placeholder imagery only goes so far. Entire aspects of a project can be delayed waiting on content. The more placeholders there are, the more you have to go back in and re-format once the content is actually provided. It saves time for everybody involved when the content development is coordinated with the actual site design.
The point of all of this is to make sure that all aspects of a project are working on a similar time frame. Plan ahead for photo shoots, copy writing, video animation, or anything else that you might need to finish before the site is ready to launch. The extra time you spend at the start of a project will save everyone a huge headache later.
Check back next week, when we discuss the importance of promoting your brand with marketing integration.