Content vs. Design, Who won?

Content or Design? – the eternal question that comes up every time we discuss about what is more important for a website to survive, be noticed and have users that would be willing to come back. I would say these two walk hand in hand, design being the body and content being the soul of a website.

It’s like when meeting people – you examine how they look first and then you get to know what they think. But then again, every rule has an exception and it all depends on the individual.

Some people would just browse websites daily in search for a dose of inspiration, looking for good design, caring less about the content; while others are interested to read quality information not caring about the look of the website. There are other people that don’t know what they are looking for and then end up on a beautifully designed website that has cool information on it, hence it is most probably this website will get bookmarked and shared on social networks.  It all depends on priorities, but website owners will have to deal with all of these prospective categories, and make sure they attract people to their website with good design and keep them coming back because of the quality content they have. It might sound hard, but not impossible.

What comes first: content or design?

But before getting to the importance of content or design, we should start with asking the question: What comes first? This is essential, because for example website owners that don’t have any idea about  designing a website or writing content for it, would have to hire professionals who would do that for them. Now, this is tricky because some web designers won’t start their work until they know what the idea of the website is and see some content, because they might need more information than just general information. Content writers might not get started once they see a design mockup so that they would know what to write about.

One thing to be done is hiring a content strategist that has an experience on this subject already. This guy will help you manage everything regarding content, from “how to say it” to “how to manage” the content you have successfully. This will help you a lot if you are not sure how to write for the web as it takes some practice to succeed in that. I personally think that content comes in first and that’s what you should start with. Starting up with some general content can get you a general insight on how it will interact with the visual part of a website and these two are strongly interlinked. This idea is then presented to the design team and discussed thoroughly leading the way to the designing process.

Content vs. Design, Who won?

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Why Content?

Content is what makes people come back to your website once they find the information they are looking for. The aim of websites is to attract Internet users in case you are selling something or showcasing something, but based on website popularity keeping the users on your website as much as possible and keeping them interested to come back is what makes it a good website.

Content is what makes a website successfully appear on the first pages of search engines, and that is what interests most of the website owners. Being first on the pages of search engines, means people will find you faster and you would be able to attract more visitors to your website. Content is what makes a website live. The life of good content is much longer than that of a good design, given the fact that this content is high quality and users find out something new and interesting while consuming it. By updating your content and other SEO tricks, you can be sure to appear on the first page of Google for instance and in the end that’s what makes a commercial website worth it and pay back.

Why design?

As I have mentioned in this article, design is what makes your website attractive. The chance that people will take a look at your cool content is smaller if the design of your website is uncool. A good design fetches traffic, but it won’t assure the fact that people will come back, unless they are interested what’s new on the website. Hence design has less chances to be renewed as much as content is.

A good design is what makes people less confused about finding the right content and finding it the easier way possible. People get “hooked” by great design, and the important thing is to keep the hook there through content so that your website gets the right attention. Avoiding heavy graphics will make your design look stylish and minimalist and remember – less is more! Better adding more quality information than creating a complicated design.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide who wins the battle in the Design vs Content battle. Both of them are quite important and have their own advantages and as I said go hand in hand in making your website unique and visited.

What do you guys think about that?

A girl that lives through the lens of her camera - as this is the best way to see things as you want them to see. Born and raised in Moldova, now living in sunny Cyprus.

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11 Comments
  1. Shannon Mølhave Nov 11, 1:00 am

    I’m sorry, but articles like this piss me off, they’re titled as such just to grab attention in a “sensational” manner. Any decent designer or writer knows it’s not a battle, but a partnership.

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  2. aledesign.it Nov 11, 11:25 am

    Content and design are important. the one and the other should to be together always. Otherwise they can become heavy or do not care about what you want to say. The view must be concerned and the mind understand it. a good partnership together.

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  3. Rachael Nov 11, 4:53 pm

    I have to agree with the above comment, neither is more important than the other, if the content isn’t good enough or there isn’t enough of it people will often discard the company/website because they couldn’t find what they wanted at a click of a mouse. Equally if a website doesn’t look good you may lose a lot of peoples interest straight away. I think key is a clear sophisticated layout with clear headings, so people can find the information easily.

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  4. frogsign Nov 11, 5:38 pm

    to me design is as important as good first impression. The rest is content. How meny people will visit good looking page, with no content? Empty page is as good as .psd file

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  5. Robin Cannon Nov 11, 6:17 pm

    This is a redundant question. It’s inherently a mistake to think of it as an either/or question. Very simple; design is the medium in which content is presented. Both have to be good.

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    +1
  6. Perry Clease Nov 11, 9:55 pm

    It is a chicken or the egg type of question, there is no correct or incorrect answer, what inspired you first doesn’t matter. You must have both good content and good design.

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  7. Corey J Nov 14, 5:59 pm

    Content is what brings people in, it’s how you get found. Search engines can’t read great design. Design is how you reward visitors, keep them coming back, encouraging shares. So if you really want to play this game, it starts with content.

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  8. Catherine Nov 22, 4:34 pm

    Content brings them, design keeps them! Sounds so simple but it takes professionals to make it happen properly! Thanks for the post.

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  9. Angel Atilio Jimenez Dec 19, 10:50 am

    The combination of the two its the killer combo, but I do believe content its on top.

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  10. DUGUE THOMAS Dec 23, 4:58 pm

    In my point of view, a good design is a way to enhance content. No content – No project. Very powerful and successful website works only with content, without design such as craigslist. So basically content is king !

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  11. Marc Gonzales Jun 7, 2:47 pm

    They are best friends :)

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