Hold on tight — it's going to be a good one.
First off, let's set the scene.
In 2019, I wrote an article, "Five reasons copy should come before design".
At that time, I'd recently niched my services from web designer to website copywriter, and my theory of content before design was just that, a theory.
Three years later, and after helping hundreds of web designers and their clients to get a clear, compelling and results-focused website, I'm sharing my updated thoughts.
(Second edition if you like).
So, jumping straight in with a plot spoiler.
In one hundred per cent of cases, COPY SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST PRIORITY when designing a new website.
Zero "tweaking" content (urgh, hate that word)
And zero pushing any old content into the design.
This newsletter will explain exactly why your website copy should be your FIRST priority.
To be clear (and to explain why I keep using capital letters), FIRST priority is different from top priority, and I use the word 'should' because I know not every project works out like this.
You might be in the middle of a website build now, wondering if you've given enough consideration to the copy. It happens, so no judgement. I'm here to help, whatever stage you're at.
Anyway, that said, here are your top priorities when creating a new website, in no particular order:
- Website copy
- Visual branding, graphics etc.
- Technical set-up (platform choice, accessibility, speed, etc.)
- And SEO
(Feel free to add anything I've missed in the comments).
So, now to answer the why. Out of all of these priorities, why should website copywriting come first?
To answer that, we need to look at what a website IS.
A website is a 'hub' that all roads lead back to
I've been saying this for years, and nothing has changed about that.
Think of it like this; your website is the 'hub' for your business online. It should contain your entire brand message.
This basically means everything your audience needs to know about your business/product/service before they buy from you (or at least click your call-to-action anyway).
Here's where it gets a bit more complicated, so stay with me.
All of the information above MUST go onto your website.
BUT, there's a science behind exactly WHERE it needs to be placed.
If you don't follow this science, your website visitors will get bored and leave.
You can't make them dig for information. You need to get into their head and give them what they are looking for at the exact right moment they are looking for it!
I'll say that another way, it's crucial to understand the journey someone is taking through your website so that you can give them just enough information to lead them onto the next step in their journey and ultimately into your inbox.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE SCIENCE
That's why you need to make website copy your first priority.
There's a science behind how your content is structured, and you absolutely can not just squeeze your copy into a pre-made design.
Or "tweak" while you go if you're DIYing.
Well, I guess you can, but you certainly won't see the website results you so desperately want and need if you do that.
So I'll say it again.
Follow the process and DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE SCIENCE.
I'll share more in next week's newsletter.
Dr Hannah Gibson
Director at Gibson Copy
When you join my self-study course Write Your Website Copy In 5 Days, you get an advanced website copywriting template so you can follow the science behind persuasive copywriting without getting overwhelmed.
Click here to find out more Write Your Website Copy In 5 Days