By Aulia R. Sungkar. The writer is director of Alveo
Designing an ideal website has always been a rigorous process, one that often leads to a heated debate. A website’s function is to incite the curiosity of the mass whose fingers ever ready on the mouse button to exit the site after mere seconds. Yet, there is this ever-threatening ‘blink test’—those three to five seconds that you have to convince someone to stay on your website—that many see as what makes or breaks a website. This then leads to a debate between what should be prioritized more: Design or Copy.
Prioritizing one over the other each has its merits, so, let’s break it down and see what constitutes a good and selling website.
It sure looks pretty
A website needs to look good because pretty pictures catch people’s attention. This is a valid argument. A strong, clear and impactful design takes people’s breath away, making them want to stay on the page and dig deeper. But, after all the bells and whistles, visitors will want to see more, i.e. they’ll want to know what the website is all about: what it’s selling, or what information the website can provide them with.
Developing a business website with the design-first approach helps the content writer sees what to write to accompany each visual. Thus, the writer can more easily calculate the length of the content and use the visuals to guide him write the materials.
But, what’s the story?
Getting visitors interested in a website is important; getting them interested in what you are actually doing, however, should be, if not more than at least, as important. Copy lets the reader know what you and your business are all about. They learn about the company’s vision, values, and strategies. They read about what you are selling—goods and/or services—and see whether the company has anything that can help them. With the right words, a website can still perform admirably and deliver your sales pitch to the right people.
Some clients want all the writing done before the design work. They believe the visuals should help the description, and their products and services are better presented with clear description adorned with the design as polished as possible. So, a website copywriter given a blank slate, so to speak, may have a field day in doing the project. He can decide what to put in the description, and has his writing flow more naturally as there is no visual acting as a frame that limits his creativity.
Of course, there is always the middle road. Developing a website should start with a concept, born out of a clear idea. The client should sit together with the graphic designer and the copywriter, and discuss what the website will be about. And quite often, the marketing budget the client is willing to spend influences the decision.
The graphic designer and the copywriter need to work closely together and understand how each of one’s creation affects the other’s. With good balance between design and copy, a website shines, and achieves its optimum impact to draw people in and feed them with enough information that they can utilize and ultimately bring businesses to the company.