When creating a new website, it can be tempting to think of copywriting as the last piece of the puzzle, or what slots in when your design work is over, but this is rarely the right choice. Just as you wouldn’t print and bind a paperback and then start writing the novel, vainly hoping that your story fits within the pages, it makes little sense to build a website before you know what you want it to say.
Developing content and design in digital concert not only allows you to be more focused on ensuring what’s on your website and how it’s presented are complimentary, but also helps to avoid awkward situations in which design or content have to be reworked later to fit. By thinking of your site’s design and content as a unified whole, or at least two major parts of the same puzzle, you’re much less likely to end up pulling in two different directions.
Of course, this might seem like an unwieldy amount of work to keep on top of at once. And for one person or a small team, it certainly can be. That’s why, particularly if you’re relying on graphic designers and copywriters to go the grunt-work for you, it’s ideal to have a vision of how everything will go together from the start. This means that your best bet is to think about content early in the website design process, and to leave as little to the end as possible.
Inevitably, however, something will be left to the end. About 30% if you follow our recommendations. While you’ll never be able to nail all of your content before the site is put together, we suggest that it’s best to have at least 70% of your content, at least in draft, while you work on your website. Not only will this mean you can easily brief designers on what will eventually go onto the site, it will also help you make organic design decisions about tone and target audience.
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