Web Design and Content - Working Together From The Ground Up

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It's been common knowledge for a while - since Google rolled out its Panda algorithm, to be precise - that quality content is a vital component in SEO. Having an impressively designed website to accommodate that content is also extremely important. Here, we look at the relationship between the two, and why it's important to develop both simultaneously.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to recent developments, you will be well aware of how important good content is for SEO. (Oh, and apparently there’s a royal baby on the way too).

Developing an interesting website, full of helpful and informative content, is absolutely vital if you’re looking to impress visitors.

Similarly, having good content has become imperative – more so than ever before, in fact. But without a well-designed site, that content won't get you anywhere, with visitors having to scramble around to find it.

A website should be designed from the ground up to be attractive, fast-loading and easy to navigate. It should also have these attributes regardless of whether the user’s visiting from a desktop PC, a smartphone or another device.

The Content Management Challenge

For relatively small websites, updating each page annually shouldn’t prove to be too complicated a task. However, larger websites utilising more complex, outdated content management systems (CMS) can find the process far more difficult. With these systems, uploading time-sensitive content and rich media can easily become the source of much frustration.

Planning Your Content

One way to get round the issue of publishing time-sensitive material is to put together a content marketing plan. This could detail what content needs to go on the website and when it needs to appear. For example, an eCommerce site could plan a series of seasonal articles which would promote its best-selling products at certain points during the year.

Aside from the plan, all that’s required is good time management – it’s simply a case of getting the content written, uploaded into the CMS and scheduling a date for it to be published.

Organising Your Content

Having written and published the content, it needs to be easily accessible to visitors – or else what’s the point?

Regular visitors to a website will most likely use a search feature, categories or post tags to find the content they’re interested in.

However, regular visitors aren’t a site’s only audience.

To reach the maximum possible audience, search engines must be considered. Google relies on sitemaps to ensure that it indexes every page on large websites.

Therefore, it’s important that webmasters install a sitemap plug-in within their CMS, and make sure that new pages are added to the sitemap automatically.

If a site has more than a few thousand pages, it’s probably better to break up the sitemap into multiple files to ensure that it loads quickly.

The Design Challenge

Sitemaps are great for search engines, but human visitors need more user-friendly options and ideally should be given multiple ways to find the content they need; for example, breadcrumbs, page titles, tab highlights and even different headers for different sections of a site.

Rather than trying to shoehorn these design elements into site design after the fact, the development of a new site and a new content should go hand in hand.

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