Search engines are looking for useful, informative content and users are expecting the same. We all know by now that poor web design can drive customers away. We are also aware that content can make or break an online sale. So why aren’t we doing more to bring copywriters and web designers together? There are times when failing to do so can go wrong, but generally it just means that your website isn’t the best it can be.
Mistakes We Are Making
When the copywriters and designers working on the same website are operating independently, one of two things happens:
- Web copy is written first and the designer must incorporate it; or,
- The website is finished and the copywriter has to ‘fill it in’.
Content and design needs to be incorporated with one another. Either method of creating a website usually means someone has to compromise their work in order to accommodate the others – and that always leaves room for improvement.
How to Bring the Teams Together
Copy and design are just as important as each other, and they are most effective when completed together. Here are a few tips to help bring the two teams together:
Develop a strategy
Get your content and design teams together to brainstorm an overall “look” for the website. Is your brand in need of more content or more visuals? Will there be a lot of content or short, pithy sentences? Both teams should come in having researched the target audience. That information should allow them to align the copy and the design with the end user, as well as to each other’s vision.
Organise a system for checking in
The incessant back and forth that can happen between the two departments can distract from the end goal of the project. Instead of wasting time, set a number milestones with specific dates during which the designer and copywriter will send each other their work. Once both sides are happy, they can proceed to the next milestone.
This method will also avoid the dreaded ‘change two weeks of work because you forgot this’ problem. Instead, it breaks it down into sizeable chunks.
Give equal weight to their recommendations
Regardless of how much planning is done, it’s hard to really determine what the end piece will look like. If the designer thinks the copy needs a line cut or headline removed, run it by the copywriter – but don’t just let them make the decision. Your content team has likely planned the finer details and a small change can throw it off, so give them a chance to find a compromise.
Similarly, if the copywriter wants to highlight words with certain colours, it’s worth it to see what the designer thinks – perhaps that fresh eye could be just what your design needed.
Test, test, test
In the end, the effectiveness of design and copy is measured in real-life data and results. If you have the opportunity before the site goes live, have a real person from the target market review the site and provide feedback. If not, make use of Google Analytics to get a better idea of which pages are doing well and which ones are not doing so well (consider bounce rates and exit pages).
From there you can do some troubleshooting to determine whether the products need more information or if the checkout process is too lengthy. Perhaps it’s that the checkout process needs more details and users want better product photos!
Copywriting and web design are complementary processes and a collaborative process is necessary to create a website that users keep coming back to. Ultimately, both teams need to determine what’s best for the user experience, and that means readable, persuasive copy that flows seamlessly into a beautiful web design.