‘Copy First, Design Second’ Is Key to Successful Web Design

If you’re not starting every website project with the copy first, you’re losing money and time. 

Not convinced? 

It’s an emotive topic for both copywriters and designers, but honestly, copy first is the key to successful web design — not just from a result perspective but also from a process perspective. 


In this article, I'll explain. 

Speed and Efficiency

When it comes to web design, time is everything. Clients want their websites up and running as quickly as possible, and designers want to sign off so they can move on to the next project. 

By having the copy ready first, designers can speed up the process and avoid delays. Plus, having a clear brand message and tone of voice makes it quicker to create a design that fits the brand's vision and goals.

Since 2019 I’ve worked with countless web designers, and all of them have said the same thing: Having the copy ready to go before the design process starts makes life so much easier!

Copy Leads Design

Copy is the foundation of any successful website because it sets the tone and voice of the brand. When designers clearly understand the brand message, they can create a design that complements and enhances it. Therefore, designing without copy is like trying to build a house without a blueprint - impossible. 

Time and time again, the web designers that I’ve collaborated with say that working with my copy from the start of the project improves their designs. Because copy leads design, without it, you’re simply designing blind. 

Copy Sells

Good design is crucial because it attracts attention and builds authority, but it’s the copy that does the heavy lifting when it comes to sales. The right words on a blank page can be more persuasive than a pretty website with no substance. It’s the copy that connects with the audience, tells the brand's story, and encourages action. By starting with copy, designers can create a website that not only looks good but also drives real results. 

For example, one of my consulting clients tripled their sales in just 24 hours after making some copy tweaks to their homepage. Something we see consistently across every industry. 

It's Not the End

Starting with copy doesn't mean that design takes a back seat. Designers can still use creativity to bring the brand's message to life. However, having the copy in place first allows designers to make more informed decisions and create a more cohesive design. 

Pre-2018, when I was still designing websites, I took the copy I was given and shaped it into place. Better quality copy needed less tweaking, meaning projects were more likely to go live on time. 

In conclusion

Copy first, design second is a critical step in the web design process. By starting with copy, designers can save time, create more strategic designs, and ultimately create websites that connect with the audience and drive results. 

The key takeaway? If you're a web designer, remember the power of words when you get website copy for your next web project.

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