Tips for designing websites content-first.

Sometimes planning out website content is harder than designing it. My rule of thumb is that if something is purposeful, it’s hard NOT to design it in a way that gets the message across, but if it has no purpose, it can NEVER be designed to look “right.” So here are some tips for planning out purposeful website content for say, a homepage.

#1. List all the things you NEED on the page.

Don’t waste space with things you only want. Most visitors won’t make it past your hero section (topmost section) much less the bottom of the page—so don’t waste their time with fluff content.

Ask yourself:

  1. Is this necessary for the success of the website or is it just something that would make my ego feel good to have it there?
  2. Is this appropriate for the page I am currently planning? For example, an “About Our Company” section should be on the About page, not the homepage.
  3. Is this something I’m putting on the page because it feels like the website equivalent of small talk? As in, it’s there to be polite and not really to deliver any important information? Be careful of this—it may feel weird to be pushy, but online, people’s attention span is so short, they need you to get to the point, aka the whole reason they visited your site. (It wasn’t to look at your pretty ampersands or make small talk with your website.)

#2. List them from most important to least important.


#3. Design them as page sections, in that order.

Let’s say you listed a pricing table as the first most important page section. It could feel kinda out there and against convention to put it as the first section of the page, but more websites should be designed that way, to get to the point. There can be a tendency to be verbose and preamble-y with websites in a way that no one likes. You can serve your customers better by giving them what they came for. Your success is only their success, right?