To me, the Internet has always been something of a living thing—constantly changing, evolving and rewriting the rules in which it abides. Because of this constant state of change, the competition between those peddling their services has grown fierce. This is especially true with regards to physician practices where everyone wants to connect with new and potential patients by offering a variety of treatments, services and personalized care.
With so much going on, how do you ensure that your information gets seen and absorbed by your target audience? Do you lure them in with pretty words and promises (content)? Do you dazzle them with flashy web illustrations (design)? This conundrum reflects an age-old question:
What comes first – content or design?
Well, I’m here to tell you that these two vital components are not to be placed in any kind of chronological order when it comes to website creation or expansion. They are, in fact, two pieces of the same puzzle that conjoin at the same time to complete the big picture for the audience.
Therefore, there needs to be a strong working relationship between the design and content teams in order to create an effective website. One cannot come before the other simply because one doesn’t grab attention without the other.
Consider this: At a single glance, a consumer can typically tell how “legitimate” a website is by the way it looks. The color scheme, the seamless design, the visual brand representation – all speak to validity. Without a professionally designed website, the content on the web page will go unnoticed. Regardless of quality, content will be dismissed as junk or spam. Conversely, you cannot have a successful website that’s purely visual without substance. The words are the meat and potatoes of messaging.
So, if these things can’t function the way you want them to as separate entities, why would you create them as if they were?
In order for a website to be as successful as possible, designers and writers need to be on the same page. Simply put, they need the same information in order to deliver consistency for the brand. If content and design are saying the same thing, the consumer will have a clear understanding of the practice and a positive, productive user experience, ultimately leading to a conversion.
To ensure content and design are on the “same page” the following questions need answering:
Who is the target audience?
Both the designer and the content writer need to know who they’re trying to reach, a profile of sorts to understand what the audience wants. This profile can be pieced together via client-supplied data, such as patient demographics. Once the audience is established, it’s easier to speak to them.
What is the message?
Both departments need to know what message the client wants to send to their audience. For example: if you’re a physician who specializes in family medicine, your messaging should focus on personalized family care. The site would, therefore, reflect a warm and friendly staff who comfort worried parents and soothe children. A designer may accomplish this with a soft color pallet and stock photos of happy smiling families or children interacting with physicians that appear pleasant and trustworthy. The content writer would use comforting words and phrases, such as compassionate care, warm and friendly staff and welcome.
What’s the tone?
Designers create a tone with a color scheme, fonts and carefully chosen images that best reflect the client’s brand and message. A content writer expresses tone through word choices, grammar and sentence structure.
If the two tones fail to match, the messaging fails altogether. For example, an orthopedic website catering to athletes or an older demographic probably wouldn’t want a hot pink website covered in rainbow–laden dancing unicorns with captions reading “totally awesome service”.
The long and the short of it is this: In order to successfully create a website, these two important cogs in the marketing clock need to be on the same page and work together to deliver the right message to the right audience. Each department needs to utilize their own unique hooks and cohesively bring them together for a flawless site and clearcut messaging that will have consumers always coming back for more.
If you’re ready to have an awesome creative team bring your website to life, contact Points Group today.