It isn’t hard to see how content marketing became an integral part of digital marketing by relying on storytelling to build brand trust and encourage users to try a company’s product or service.
A recent HubSpot study confirms that content marketing can help you achieve impressive results. Companies that run blogs have 55% more visitors and 434% more inbound links than companies without blogs, so it’s no wonder that over a half of B2B marketers use content marketing as their main strategy. In fact, they create content on a constant basis!
However, the success of a content marketing campaign depends not only on the quality of content but also on the quality of your website design.
Why Content Marketing Dictates Website Design
Having a website is an essential part of running almost any business. The main purposes of every commercial website are lead generation, marketing, and selling. Doing any of that becomes infinitely harder if your website design, to put in bluntly, sucks.
Why content marketing, and in extension content marketers, want to have a say in how your website is designed is obvious – nobody is going to engage with the content they make if the website looks horrible and has non-intuitive navigation. It would be like asking a pastry chef to serve a beautiful cake on a dirty plate.
Probably the first sign of the power of content marketing on website design was the rise of “blog/news/resources sections”. Today, it is hard to find a website that doesn’t have a dedicated section for publishing content, even if it is a single-product company like MySingature:
MySignature blog example
…or an e-commerce website like DressUp:
DressUp blog example
So it doesn’t matter if you plan to create a service selling website or start an online store, having a section to publish interesting content will probably be on your list of design requirements.
With that out of the way, let’s explore some other ways in which content marketing dictates website design.
Putting the Readability First
If you want prospects to stay on the page and read your content, that content has to be readable and visually appealing.
Choosing the right fonts, style and spacing will go a long way in achieving that. Among other essential things in making readability higher, which you can see used on many reputable blogs are:
- good color contrast (in most cases, white background with dark text)
- plenty of white space
- properly spaced paragraphs
- distinctive titles and subheading that make the text easier to follow
Smashing magazine blog example
This above is a screenshot of the famous Smashing Magazine design blog. You can see here that headline is big, that the body text is separated from the title, and the summary is italicized. Additionally, they use large images, subheadings, and bullet points to make it easier for readers to digest the articles.
Now, take a look at a website that, suffices to say, doesn’t follow the above-mentioned guidelines:
Bad website design example: This page looks cluttered, too bright, and is not readable. An extreme example to prove a point.
CoScheduled discovered that only 10-20% of website visitors read to the bottom of your page. People don’t always read text line-by-line on the web; rather, they scan the page looking for the information they need. Thus, distinctive headings, separated paragraphs, negative space, subtitles, and images help them to scan articles faster.
This is why you often see people who use old WordPress themes investing time into creating custom headings and doing other HTML and CSS tweaks.
Using Attractive Visuals
Visuals captivate us and, when used correctly, give us a better understanding of the message we want to send over.
It is not a secret that content containing visuals gets more views. And that’s why rich content, such as images, custom graphics, infographics, and videos are an integral part of content marketing and, as a result, website design.
WebsiteToolTester homepage example
On the picture above, you can see how we use a custom-made illustration on our homepage that immediately draws attention.
Visuals can not only help you quickly catch the attention of visitors, but they also get people to remember the content you share and drive leads.
A video introducing your product or service can dramatically increase the time people spend on your website, and beautiful graphics and CTAs can also make users explore other parts of your site. This means lower exit and bounce rates and higher time on page – all welcome improvements to your SEO metrics too.
So if the first thing you see on a website is an animated header or an explainer video, you can bet that was implemented with a specific purpose in mind, driven by content marketing demands.
Providing seamless User experience
Good user experience, smart navigation, and appealing design are very important. If one of those areas is lacking, you will have trouble earning leads and closing sales as:
- people won’t stay long enough to download your lead magnets
- they won’t bother to read the content and let you earn brand trust
- they won’t have the patience to search for pricing, scheduling a demo, and other money pages
To ensure this doesn’t happen, content marketing forces you to manage all space on your website as efficiently as possible, with a lot of effort put into user experience and website navigation.
One of the ways in which this is best reflected is in the design of previously mentioned blog sections.
Limble CMMS blog navigation example
In a world where people find pop-ups annoying, marketers have to search for other ways to nurture their leads.
In the above example, you can see that the right sidebar isn’t empty, nor does it contain generic social media links or lists previously published posts. Instead, the sidebar is populated with rotating customer testimonials that lead to their case study pages and the option to start a live demo of their product.
It is an interesting design choice, one that probably wouldn’t be made if the site was designed without any strategic plan in mind.
You probably noticed how we didn’t even touch on SEO requirements. The main reason for that is because the SEO perspective is widely covered all around the web and it actually deserves its own article. So we are going to leave that discussion to someone else 🙂
At the end of the day, you can look at this as a theater performance – website design sets the stage and content marketing performs the show. When they work well together, they will never leave your audience indifferent.