It’s easy to underestimate the importance of content when you’re going through the process of putting an online platform in place. When you’re planning a website, you’re understandably concerned with its appearance, and the functionality it offers to the end-user. With all these issues to think about, the actual content of the site is often one of the last things that people think of.
In this graphic world of imaginative design, it’s usually the visual design elements that are given the most attention, and it sometimes happens that these elements are focused on to the exclusion of all else. This is a mistake.
More Than Design
To the user, visual design elements, although forming a strong part of the initial impact of your site, are only a small part of the overall impression. Users visit your site for a particular purpose, and that purpose is usually contained in the content that your site has to offer.
An unattractive design or layout may affect your users negatively, but not having the information they want, or even not having it easily accessible, will drive them away, never to return.
The 10 Second Rule
It’s estimated by the experts that you have approximately 10 seconds to get the attention of your user. If they haven’t had an indication that your site meets their needs in those first 10 seconds, they’ll simply click back to the search page, and try the next result.
This means that the first few headings and paragraphs are vital in capturing, and keeping, the attention of your user. And it means that navigating to additional information on your site needs to be both easy, and obvious.
Content For The User
Relevant, good quality content remains one of the most vital features of a successful online marketing presence. In part, this increases the chances of your website being found in the first place, by making it more likely that other sites will link to you. Equally as important however, informative articles and other useful content will help make your site sticky.
On a “sticky” site, users, finding your content relevant and helpful, keep coming back to find out what else you’ve added. Not only this, but they’ll also direct others to your site as well, in a dynamic process that helps generate a continuous visitor presence, simply through the quality of your content.
On the whole, users will forgive visual elements that they dislike. There are popular sites that ignore all the guidelines for a visually appealing online presence. But they are forgiven for a reason, and that reason is the quality and relevance of their content.
Even the most visually appealing site on the internet cannot succeed, unless its content meets the needs and expectations of its users.