Is it possible to build a successful website with only one or the other?
We often hear about copywriting and design when discussing websites and what makes one good or bad when it comes to engaging visitors and guiding them along the buyer journey, but is one more important than the other? Can a successful website rely on either good copy or design alone and, if it could, for how long?
A lot of people say that a well-designed website is the most important part of any online presence. Other people say that content is what attracts people to a website. So, who is right? Is it possible to have an online presence without design or copy? Is it possible to have a highly effective online presence that doesn’t rely on either one? The team here at Jezweb have written this article to help you through this problem and through the other side, towards website success.
Every website needs to have a purpose. Your visitors need to be able to understand why your website exists, what problems you can solve for them and why they should pick you over your competitors. The copy (the words) on your website helps you to define this purpose and communicate effectively with your visitors.
Copywriting forms the basis of the conversation with site visitors, as they scan your web pages to learn more about you. It is important to remember that people often don’t actually read the content, rather they scan it. According to an eye-tracking study completed by Missouri University of S&T, the average user will spend a total of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content. This data supports the notion that site visitors do not read through every paragraph of copy on your site, but they will search for what they are looking for specifically before settling in to read the content that is specifically relevant to their use case.
If your copy is difficult to scan through, or is difficult to understand, you increase your chances of your visitors simply clicking away from your site, which could result in loss of revenue for your business. Good copy encourages your user to spend more time on your page and take an intended action.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a term that often arises when talking about the various factors that made websites successful. The term refers to the way in which search engines, such as Google and Bing, view and understand your site and the level at which they rate your site in terms of being able to answer user questions.
The primary aim of a search engine is to deliver answers to the people who use it, which means that a search engine will recommend sites that it understands as having helped users well in the past. When a person enters a search term into Google, for example, “red t-shirt”, the engine will look through all the listed pages for references to the keyword, identify sites it thinks will answer the user’s query and displays them in order of what it believes to be the most relevant for “red t-shirt”.
SEO copywriting, therefore, is about creating content that is comprehensive and useful for the reader but also incorporates identified keywords with the aim of increasing the organic search ranking: The more quality copy you can have on your site, the more likely it is that search engines will place your site in a higher position in the organic search results for an intended keyword.
It can then be argued that without effective, targeted copy, your website could potentially remain firmly planted amongst thousands of other sites where it will not be seen by your audience. And a site that is invisible to your audience might as well not exist at all.
You can think of your website as your online storefront and sales staff. In a bricks and mortar store, you would want to make a great impression on your customers when they walk in for the first time. You would ensure the floors and windows were clean and that your establishment feels warm and welcoming in order to put your customers at ease and make them as comfortable as possible.
Your website is exactly the same.
Your website is an opportunity to put your best foot forward and position yourselves as industry leaders and present your brand to the world. Therefore, don’t allow your authority to be discredited by publishing a site with poor quality content. Well-crafted, correctly formatted copy portrays your business in the best possible light, highlights your points of difference and influences your customer’s perception of you.
We are reminded every day that, as humans, we are incredible visual beings. We are drawn to compelling photographs and videos and they have become staples in the design of any website, no matter the industry or purpose. But videos alone won’t convince your customers to buy.
Part of the process of guiding the customer along the buyer journey is providing information about your product or service. Consumers today are more empowered than ever, utilising the internet during their decision-making process to gather information and feel confident in their purchasing stories.
Your copy should inform your visitors of all the information they might need as well as any unique selling points that differentiate you from their competitors, giving them everything they need to draw their own conclusions. Good copy will effectively communicate everything you have to offer and convince them that they want what you have. Quality web design companies such as Jezweb know this and put a lot of resources into their copy projects.
We’re often told, “Never Judge a Book by its Cover.” Unfortunately, though, we often do. We make snap judgements about businesses or services, based on what we can interpret. We do the same thing with websites; we pay attention to the most obvious elements such as visual design, font or formatting and make a decision as to whether or not they want to spend further time on the site.
All of this happens in our minds before we are even aware of it, which is why businesses with online presences want to ensure they are putting their best foot forward and making a good impression.
Design leaves a lasting impression for return business
Several studies have been conducted into how people interact with websites and the subsequent data is very telling. For example:
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive (Adobe).
- 88% of online visitors and consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience (Gomez Report).
- Judgements on a company’s credibility are 75% based on the company’s web design (Web Credibility Research from Stanford).
- First impressions of websites are 94% design related (The Effect of Aesthetics on Web Credibility, Farah Alsudani and Matthew Casey).
- 46% of consumers base their decisions on the credibility of a website from its visual appeal and aesthetics (The Effect of Aesthetics on Web Credibility, Farah Alsudani and Matthew Casey).
Web design vs copy: The conclusion
Based on what these facts, it is very clear that good design is a fundamental component of a successful website. It is apparent then, that you cannot in fact create and run a successful website using exclusively web copy or SEO alone; we must instead utilise both elements to create a web experience that can be easily found and understood by your target audience.
Ultimately, you need both SEO and web design to create an engaging and effective site that your customers can find and delights them when they arrive. It is for this reason that a lot of web agencies, such as Jezweb, have both copywriters and web designers working collaboratively on client websites to deliver on project goals.
Jezweb gains consumers for your business in multi-faceted ways
In many ways, the two actually borrow elements from each other to create quality content that pleases both the people coming to your site and the search engines that crawl it. SEO specialists and web designers come together to develop web aspects such as navigation, information architecture and page layout in an optimum way. If you want to take advantage of the expertise of the Jezweb team for your website, give us a call on 1300 024 766 or simply click here to send us an online message and we will get back to you right away. Take your business forward with Jezweb.