When you’re given the go ahead from a client to start designing and developing a new website, it can get pretty exciting. It’s time to start making all those awesome ideas you’ve proposed a reality and get your design team working on something truly special.

When it comes to designing a new website, you often come across the hurdle that is content. Is it worth using the existing content? Do you fill it with Lorem Ipsum text as placeholders? What about just waiting for the client to send you over new content?

Here at Evolutionar, we’ve tried all of these options resulting in very different outcomes; some good, and some not so good.

Designing websites content first should always be a priority. Opportunities can be missed by ignoring a content audit or inventory. Waiting until the final stages of design for content can also prove to be difficult as it can often impact the overall look and feel.

Putting content first in the design process considers all of the available opportunities, the constraints, and anything else related to content and design working together. Here are a few of our thoughts on why you need to be designing your projects around content:

Lorem Ipsum Can Be Dangerous

Okay, so we all know Lorem Ipsum text is useful to plug holes and help us to visualise better, but using it can be problematic.

Whilst it’s great to place it across the designs so that the next page or template can be designed, it does lack context and doesn’t show much about the relationship between the design and content.

Many clients often spend a long time perfecting their content, delivering it at the final stages of a project so in the meantime, ‘Lorem Ipsum’ is used. Why not try out some ‘work in progress’ content instead of latin nonsense?

Try Existing Content

If you’re waiting on new content from a client for a project, why not check out the existing website? There’ll undoubtedly be a plethora of content that could be used throughout designs and wireframes.

Some of it may be outdated and in dire need of a rewrite, but things such as news/blog posts, product descriptions, and company information could be copied across to help a client really visualise designs.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Using Your Own Content

Remember that you’re working on designs and concepts for your client. If you don’t currently have any suitable content for something particular that you’ve proposed, why not create some of your own?

Whether it’s just a few titles, or even some paragraphs, it can make all the difference in helping a client understand the direction that you’re taking the website. Writing your own content will take longer than just copying and pasting some Lorem Ipsum, however the rewards will be far greater.

If you’ve got a content team or a copywriter in house, fully utilise them. Get them to throw a few ideas together to help fill the void. Doing this can quickly result in a happier client and a faster sign off.

Why Not Take Inspiration From Competitors?

Throughout the scoping phase of the project, you’ll have almost certainly looked at several competitors. If you’re struggling to create some content, or just don’t have the resources, why not take inspiration from them?

What titles are they using? How do they display their news posts? What kind of lengths are their paragraphs?

If their objectives and target audience are similar to your clients’, then why not rework some of their content into designs and wireframes as an example (Make sure you use this as just an example, NEVER plagiarise) until you get some finished content across?

Use The Content Audit To Your Advantage

This is where a content audit or content inventory will really become useful. Every project that we undertake here at Parallax, we thoroughly review all of the content on the existing website. With a decent content inventory in front of you, you’re able to see what content currently exists on the website and where, the website navigation and structure, as well as what content has been popular and what hasn’t.