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Content-First Design Methodology

By: Chris LaFay on June 14, 2018

There are a lot of websites out there that look fantastic – there’s no question about that.  With so many options, how do companies take a potential customer from “I’m just looking around” to “This company understands me – and I want to buy.”  The difference between having a simple “brochure website” and one that constantly works for you is one where the design of the website is dictated by the content.

Knowing what content is going to get visitors to interact isn’t always clear.  There isn’t a formula that will output well-written content for you.  That’s where having a clear understanding of your business and your customers will help simplify your content goals.

Your Business’s Goals

If you are about to overhaul your company’s website, the design and creation of “Version 2” can be an exciting time. You and your employees have numerous ideas for improvements that you can’t wait to implement. But first, answer the simplest question:

What is the main goal of the business?

The goal here is to define your business in a short snippet that illustrates how you make a difference for your customers.  This is what the content plan and site’s layout will be built around. This idea may be communicated in different ways across the website to connect with a variety of customers. To generalize, here are some well-known companies’ main goals to give you some ideas:

Google Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Blue Apron Provide families with high-quality ingredients and make dinner time more about the food and less about the hassle.
Amazon Be the everything store where people can rely on good customer service and fast delivery.
StubHub Help fans have fun.

A well-defined business will provide you the direction needed to stand out in the marketplace.

Your Customer’s Goals

Now that your core goal are clear, it’s time to figure out how you communicate your value to your customers.  Your company isn’t just about the services or products you sell, it’s also about the problems that you solve.  People want to buy from you because what you do makes their life better.

Let’s take a construction company – Bob’s Construction – as a quick example. Let’s keep their scope simple – Bob’s Construction build houses from the ground up and repairs current homes.  They could have a list of Services on their website’s homepage to display all the different things they do:

New Construction
Roofing
Home Remodeling
Siding
Bathroom
Kitchen

Having that list is fantastic as it shows the breadth of what they do.  However, it doesn’t make a connection with potential customers, and it doesn’t show how Bob’s Construction can solve their problems.  They still have to figure out what they want and how to get in touch with you.  What if Bob’s Construction phrased these in a way that made a connection with their potential customer and solved one of their pain points?

  • New Construction: Let’s take your architect’s sketches from dreams on paper to your real life home. (Call to action button: I need a home builder)
  • Siding: Painting your siding can double its lifespan. (Call to action button: I need help with my siding)
  • Kitchens: We can take the kitchen you hate using and turn it into a place where family and friends come together. (Call to action button: I want to create a kitchen I love)
  • And the list goes on…

With these simple tweaks and helping to identify pain points, Bob’s Construction is now meeting people right where they are.  Those who click on these links are now more qualified because they have identified with that problem and the call to action, or the “solution,” works alongside the content.

What You Want To Target

Now that your goals are defined, there is one last question to answer to help your website come to life.

What do you want to be known for?

If you want to be known for “Atlanta Homes”, then you shouldn’t be wasting your time putting content out there about plumbing in Nashville.  That is rather farfetched, so let’s bring it to a micro level.

If you owned a wedding venue in downtown Atlanta,  what are some key areas of your business that you want people to know about?

  • Let’s say you own a high rise in Buckhead.  You might want to center your content around Atlanta Skyline Weddings
  • Because you own the only 2+ acre plot of land with a farm inside the perimeter, Atlanta Farm Weddings might be more fitting

What you want to be known for will drive your website’s added-value content. These would be blogs, podcasts, and videos. This will ensure that you are focused and don’t lead your customers on tangents or discuss topics that are irrelevant.


Content is what connects you with your customers. It provides them with insight into your expertise and how you can bring your skillset to solve their problems. Designing a website with an established content plan will expand your customer base through well-thought out solutions.

Written By:

Chris LaFay

Chris founded CCC after trying to figure out how to have the work-life balance that everyone dreams of. Not only does he get to enjoy designing + implementing websites, he also gets to play with his dog, travel, enjoy family dinners, and keep up with baseball. Check back with Chris for articles on web design, user experience, and project case studies.