Very few marketers will argue against the sheer power of content marketing, and even fewer will underestimate web design. As Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continues to dominate organic digital marketing, content marketing continues to thrive on demonstrable content value. However, where content marketing offers substance, web design offers form – and SEO values both. With this in mind, here are some of the most substantial ways web design impacts content marketing:
The Relation Between Web Design and Content Marketing
While the two delve into very different aspects of marketing, they both overlap principally and share the same ultimate goal. To support this assertion, here is a brief definition of both – and their goals.
Content marketing entails using content to attract audiences and market to them. Instead of traditional, increasingly ineffective salesy material, content marketing centers on the customer and hinges on offering informational value.
In doing so, it attracts audiences by answering their queries’ intent and then retains them by enriching their customer journeys. Thus, it spans across the entire customer acquisition process, from traffic generation to conversions.
Conversely, web design focuses on perfecting one’s website and pages. Far beyond just visual appeal, robust web design ensures functionality, accessibility, and readability. Thus, it offers a better overall User Experience (UX) while optimizing pages to better serve their purpose.
Of course, web designers will approach each type differently, as each serves as a different step in the customer journey. However, they very rarely limit their scope to individual page types, for the same reason.
Content Marketing and Web Design Goals Overlap
So, the two overlap fundamentally. Content marketing seeks to attract audiences, and web design seeks to make content functional, digestible, and appealing. One suffers without the other; poorly designed content will not impress, and web design only pushes your message through content.
5 Ways Web Design Impacts Content Marketing
Having established their relation, in no particular order, here are specific ways web design affects and informs content marketing:
Perhaps most important for solidifying the fundamentals, web design directly impacts SEO. Content marketing heavily relies on SEO for search engine visibility itself, so the three synergize harmoniously toward the same goal.
Of course, SEO in itself is a topic too vast to do it justice in a single article. It includes on-page, off-page, and technical subsets, and a plethora of SEO myths to avoid. Here is a quick rundown of how web design affects SEO, and in turn, content marketing:
Enhancing the User Experience
First, web design ensures an impeccable UX through speed, functionality, visual consistency, and responsiveness. In line with Core Web Vitals, these qualities enhance SEO and support optimization efforts. In turn, great SEO expands content marketing’s reach and effectiveness alike.
Producing Engagement Signals
Then, these qualities help leverage content marketing and allow it to produce better engagement signals. These notably include time on page, pages per session, and others. As signals, these further boost your SEO efforts, engage potential customers, and help assure search engines of a website’s value.
Preventing Duplicate Content
Finally, technical-minded web design also helps websites avoid harmful duplicates. A basic example of this lies in product pages maintaining product variations, such as sizes and colors, within the same URL.
This too benefits both SEO, as it prevents content penalties or competing content in search engines, and the user, as it eases their navigation down the sales funnel.
2. Page Loading Speed
Having touched on loading speed and SEO, web design plays a pivotal role in ensuring fast loading speeds. In turn, web design impacts content marketing by directly informing all three customer acquisition phases:
First, poor loading speeds will harm your website’s user experience, and thus visibility, diminishing your lead generation efforts.
Then, with poor page loading times inhibiting their navigation, even fewer leads will be captured by your content marketing.
Finally, with fewer acquired leads and a poor overall UX, the above will culminate into lower conversion rates and revenue.
Why is Page Speed Important?
But, why exactly is loading speed such a crucial metric? The answer lies with both audiences and search engines.
Modern audiences value their time very highly. Google/SOASTA research has confirmed this, finding a clear correlation between loading speeds and bounce rates. Understandably, even disregarding SEO, high bounce rates don’t favor content marketing at all.
As visitors navigate through your site, persistently poor loading speeds hamper their UX. This factor alone can chip away at your content marketing’s effectiveness, as it increases the likelihood of pre-conversion exits.
Finally, search engines will gauge your page’s value based on relevancy, authoritativeness, and these metrics; bounce rates, pages per session, and so forth. Put differently, satisfying your potential customers will satisfy search engines as well, and vice-versa.
3. Ease of Navigation and Accessibility
On the subject of navigation, web design impacts content marketing substantially in this regard. That is, the easier your website is to navigate, the better your content marketing will perform. This is also why the navigation is one of the most impactful webpage elements.
Now, using the terms “ease of navigation” and “accessibility” separately is for a specific reason. Colloquially, “accessibility” often conveys both, so analyses might just use this one term. However, that’s not entirely accurate in marketing contexts and doesn’t fully cover web design’s value.
Ease of Navigation
This term refers to the general ease of navigation. How well can users find what they need and explore your website? Web design-adjacent elements that ease navigation include, among others:
- Drop-down menus
Of course, ease of navigation directly translates to a better UX. It will allow visitors to stay engaged longer, letting them navigate across your content and down your sales funnel. As they do, your SEO efforts will also benefit from user engagement metrics, fueling further lead generation through better visibility.
Notably, this quality holds increasingly more value, as mobile traffic soars. Indeed, Statista has found that mobile traffic continues to surpass desktop traffic. Understandably, due to less screen real estate, these users require even easier navigation to remain engaged.
In contrast, accessibility typically refers to accessibility to users with visual, physical, and other impairments. This aligns with W3C’s WAI definition of accessibility and concerns different design and content elements, like:
- Keyboard focus; the ability to navigate a website using only a keyboard
- Image and media alt texts
- Clearly distinguishable color choices
Understandably, accessibility in this sense is both an ethical and often legal imperative. That aside, however, both it and general ease of navigation also tremendously benefit content marketing. Practically speaking, they make websites more accessible to larger audiences and consolidate their design and function into a more pleasant, cohesive whole.
4. Readability and Comprehension
Equally important elements of content marketing material come in readability and comprehension. These, along with visual appeal, concern web design by definition. They too differ from one another, however, so here’s how they are different and how they relate:
First, web design impacts content marketing directly through content readability. This refers to elements and factors that make content more readable, such as:
Depending on a website’s theme, style, and visual identity, one may experiment with different fonts for body copy and titles. However, certain fonts are more readable than others, and the two must synergize to use fonts effectively in web design and make sure your content is accessible.
Colors are among the most notorious design elements to tackle, and overlap somewhat with accessibility. Here, web designers must ensure that colors don’t bleed into one another, don’t hamper text readability, and don’t tire the eyes.
Finally, white space holds equal weight as regards readability. IDF distinguishes between macro and micro white space, and identifies the benefits of both.
Namely, micro white space resides between lines and paragraphs, affecting content legibility, while macro white space resides on pages’ edges and between content blocks, affecting overall appeal.
Conversely, comprehension addresses the ability of visitors to comprehend content; its value, its proposition, and so forth. Comprehension does rely more on content than design, but the design still plays a significant role.
A fitting example of this lies in media use. Media type and distribution across pages do hinge on content creation itself. However, web design will bridge the gap between media and copy, letting a website’s layout leverage them more effectively.
5. Visual Appeal
Finally, web design impacts content marketing through visual appeal. This element is highly subjective, so each content marketer will gauge it differently. However, some objective website metrics can help measure it, such as:
How Far Down Visitors Scroll
A metric that scroll heatmaps can reveal, how far down visitors scroll, can indicate a page’s appeal. As you monitor this metric, remember to also examine your content formatting. Large, unformatted blocks of text won’t incite engagement, and this element precedes web design.
How Visitors Behave on Pages
Similarly, you may examine how visitors behave on pages using click, touch, and hover heat maps. If they examine a visual element, for example, it may offer notable contextual value. If it distracts them from your nearby CTAs and links, however, it may be best to revise its placement.
Finally, overall content engagement may serve to help gauge content’s visual appeal. This is not exclusive to web design elements, of course, so you may A/B test different ones across web design and content creation to solidify your findings.
In all cases, visual appeal offers substantial benefits to content marketing and overlaps with many of the above qualities. After all, readable, media-rich, well-formatted content will resonate with audiences far better than bland, poorly designed pages.
Make Sure Your Web Design Supports Your Business
To summarize, web design impacts content marketing in various ways. Initially, it directly impacts SEO, which fuels content marketing via lead generation.
Then, it facilitates a better UX through faster loading speeds, easier navigation, enhanced readability, and visual appeal. Finally, satisfying users in these ways also satisfies search engines, which enhances SEO and completes the circle.
If you need help with your web design, contact us for a meeting of the MINDs. We can talk about your business goals and how we can help get your website updated and performing for your business!