A Content Strategy Approach to Web Design

Content Strategy

It goes without saying that websites have changed from the early days of the internet – not just in terms of design, but also of importance. They have evolved from simple informational companion pieces to an organization’s primary lead generating outlet. But you knew that already – this article is actually about the change in how websites are now being designed with that in mind.

Content is more important than ever

With the evolution of a website’s influence and importance, more emphasis has been put on what exactly companies are putting on their website and how it is being presented. To this end, long gone are the days of designing a website and then shoe-horning the content into some predefined layout. We are now in an era where the way content is displayed can make or break a website’s visit – if it is not optimally laid out for the user, they will quickly become frustrated and lose interest.

Our take on this approach

At Baytek, having been around for over 20 years, we have obviously seen this progression and had to adjust our process accordingly. For the last few years we have taken a content first approach to how we are designing our websites. This article is an attempt to explain how we now focus on the content in the earlier stages of a project, and how it ends up informing the design.


Before we can even think about the content, we take a step back and think about who the content is being produced for – who are the customers? Who are the key audiences? Once these groups are defined, we can start to think about what key messages we want to get across to them. In general, key messages are those points of pride that set your organization apart from the competition, highlighting your service or product offerings. They need to be included in the content, as they define your brand and what you are saying to your customers.


You are a software company in the health sector. Examples of your key audiences may be as follows:

  • Health service organizations
  • Health authorities
  • Private health organizations
  • Potential employees

And examples of your key messages may be as follows:

  • The software is intuitive and easy to use
  • The software is cloud-based and platform independent
  • The software is cost-effective
  • We have over 2,000+ happy customers
  • The company has twenty-plus years of experience in the health sector


So now you have the key audiences laid out and what you want to say to them, the next important part in these early stages of the process is to set some business goals for the website. This will not only indicate what features should be on the website, but how visible they are and how often they appear. It helps to build a hierarchy of importance for elements of the content. It also allows us to measure the success of the design post-launch, checking down the road to see if we met those goals – and if not, do some updates to fix it.


Using the same software company as the previous example, here are some potential business goals you might have for the website:

  • Increase leads
  • Increase sign ups to our email newsletter
  • Increase quality of employee applications
  • Increase information requests to the sales team
  • Increase downloads of our white papers

Content Structure


At this point of the process, we start to think about what the users of the website will want to accomplish when they land on the homepage. They might want to learn about a service, download a trial, read about the company history, or simply contact a sales rep. We call these “User Tasks”. Once all the user tasks have been outlined, and with the business goals in mind, we can start to build an information architecture. This will dictate what pages should go on the website, what sections will appear on those pages, and what the ordering of the pages will be.


Continuing our software company example, here are some user tasks you might have thought about for the website:

  • See the prices for the software
  • Download a software trial
  • Learn about the company
  • Get updates from the company

Pairing the user tasks to the business goals is one major step in the process of developing the content – if we can give the user what they want (user tasks), hopefully they can in turn give you what you want (business goals). For example, one of the business goals was to increase leads. Well, one way to connect that business goal to a user task would be to capture some contact information when a user downloads a software trial.


Once the information architecture is in place, we can start to generate the content. We know all the elements needed for each page based on the user tasks, and we know how visible they need to be based on the business goals that were set for the website. Now it’s a process of creating the content, laying it out and ensuring all the navigational paths are considered, using Call To Actions (CTAs) or other means. We work with the client until the content is basically finalized, and we have a content prototype that we can start designing the website from.

And finally… design

Even though initially it may seem like an exhaustive process going into so much depth with the content, it means the rest of the journey plays out that much smoother. The web designer is not designing with lorem ipsum or some other approximation of the content, and crossing their fingers hoping it will look OK once the site is programmed and the real content is inputted. They can use actual final content to work with – that means as they design layouts, they know it will look about 99% the same as the final live, programmed website (that remaining 1% is considering all those lovely quirky browser rendering differences!) .

We know that gathering and developing the content (whether it’s the client, us or an external partner) is a daunting task – but doing it that much earlier on in the process means everyone is still engaged with the project. It doesn’t become an afterthought right at the end, eventually making the project drag and drag (trust us, we’ve seen it firsthand!).

In Summary

Ultimately, content is the reason users will stay, revisit and share a website. It makes sense that the most important element of the website is being truly considered that much earlier in the process, and basically driving and defining the design. The design is simply presenting the content in a pleasant and organized way, creating the best user experience possible and hopefully meet those business goals.


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