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Website Development – Create your Content Early

Posted 19th February 2018 by Lawrence McCrossen

A conversation we have with clients at the beginning of a website development project is about when the copy will be written. One common misconception is that you can design the website, with sections full of “lorem ipsum”, in the knowledge that this can be filled out later with the real copy. The most important thing being that the design looks beautiful, and the structure of the website is easy to navigate.

The problem is that this is like building a box before you know what’s going to be in it. The eventual content might fit, or it might not. Sure (unlike a physical box), you can put in scroll bars if the content is longer than expected, but this already starts to compromise the design, as the layout starts to become unbalanced. And what if the content is very small, within a box that’s quite large?

Add in links and maybe even some images, and you can see how the design might need to be changed to accommodate the content.

The problem is sometimes exacerbated because the copywriter is a freelancer, somewhat external to the main project team, and brought into the project in an ad hoc manner. By the time the copywriter has been briefed and is available, time pressure on the project deadline has necessitated the main website design and development has already started.

There may be lessons from the world of printed magazines, where it would be even more difficult to accommodate a change in page layout after the copy has been written. Consequently, magazine designers must make their pages content-centric.

The world of software is of course much more flexible, but our recommendation is always to generate content very early in the project. If nothing else, it means that the that copywriting (and reviewing of copy) doesn’t end up causing delays in go-live because it’s been left to a later stage.

If you'd like to discuss your website or software development options with The Bridge, feel free to call Lawrence on 02 9993 3300 or email lawrence@thebridgedigital.com.au

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