The meaning of a successful website has evolved over the years. Today, it means having well-written code, an appealing visual experience, and content that truly connects with its intended audience. Being present is not enough to build a powerful online presence; therefore, businesses of every size need to make sure their web strategy is comprehensive and up-to-date.
Development. Design. Content. Each has had its day in the digital spotlight, but these three essential building blocks of a successful website cannot work independently anymore. Today, they must be developed in collaboration to create a comprehensive customer experience. If any piece of the puzzle is on an island, the whole suffers.
Website Development & Design Overlap
- Responsiveness: Websites need to be flexible in their design, understanding that visitors will see them on a variety of screen sizes from desktop computers to laptops, tablets, and phones. The content needs to be more than simply available on varied devices; it needs to look polished on each. With 60% of internet access presently coming via mobile devices, responsive design is not just recommended; it’s required.
- Ease-of-Use: From a company’s homepage, everything visitors need should be at their fingertips. The visual layout and the coding need to support each other in this regard. If customers have to click through multiple pages to find what they are looking for, they’re already gone. Aesthetics must meet intuitive functionality.
- Accessibility: Developing a website to be accessible for all users is an oft neglected practice, but a number of steps in both the coding and visual design can aid users with disabilities. Optimizing menus for the use of screen readers for the visually impaired, being thoughtful with color contrasts for the colorblind, integrating a font size adjustment tool, and more can make a big difference to many. 508 Compliance is the ultimate example of accessibility, but even small steps are helpful.
Website Content & Development Overlap
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Developers used to be able to trick search engine algorithms with code practices that made some websites look more impressive than they actually were. Now quality content optimized for search is an essential piece of the equation from updated meta tags to organically embedded hyperlinks to the fluid integration of a well-researched keyword portfolio.
- Site/Content Building: To create a robust online presence, a business cannot just produce lots of text and lots of website pages. The days of quantity over quality and keyword stuffing have passed. Today, real communication—not just content—is king. Writing for the human audience is more important than ever, and the depth of these discussions is crucial to convincing customers and search bots alike that your company deserves their attention.
Website Content & Design Overlap
- Brand Identity: A company’s brand is more than just their logo and more than just their page design. The voice and substance of a website’s writing is what builds the relationship with customers and clients. In a time when 50% of consumer time online is spent engaging with custom content, allow your business to be part of the conversation, standing out uniquely amidst all of the noise. Be sure to create a specific, consistent voice for all content—where the design elements and text set the same tone.
- Audience Connection: True communication—connecting with audiences and delivering expertise, entertainment, and/or enlightenment—is essential to effective writing on the web. Whether a business appeals to logic or emotion, delivering data or telling a story, finding the approach that will best reach its target audience is important. Both the images and content need to work together to this end.
Building or updating a company website has always been a complex pursuit, but it is now essential that the individuals tackling this project are working collaboratively through the entire process. The days of independent departments completing independent checklists are over. The definition of a successful website has changed. Make sure your company is ahead of the curve.