Power of Content – ConvergeSC #3

To continue the package of ConvergeSC summaries, I’ll talk a little about Jessica Cook‘s presentation on content. To those who were in attendance, you might notice that I’m not going completely in order (I’ve skipped a few). This is for a few reasons. First, I’m not planning on recapping every speaker – some just wouldn’t make for great blog posts, and a few are just enough above my head that I don’t want to explain anything incorrectly. However, I’m planning a separate posts to recap these and list any notes I’ve taken.

That said, let’s talk about content.  I think it was very fitting that Jessica stood up and presented without any visuals.  Whether she meant to or not, it’s a perfect example of her topic – the power of content regardless of design.  Throughout her presentation, she was very adamant in saying that great design is nothing without great content.  Here are her words, which were tweeted, retweeted, and discussed for hours after the conference.

“People don’t want websites anymore.  They want answers.”

Jessica advises web designers (especially companies) to seek content first.  From that, designing is easier – you get a feel for your site and can see what the finished product will look like along the way.  She also encourages you to include content specialists in your quote price, so as to avoid customers passing off content writing as a less important aspect that they can handle alone.  Let’s face it – once the site is done, it’s your name that’s credited.  Bad content can ruin a well designed site that is backed by your company name.

Ms. Cook listed 8 ways that web designers and developers can start changing the way we designs sites and influencing content.

  • Realize that content is not a feature.
  • Get an expert involved.
  • Answer key questions (Who is the target?  Audience?)
  • Start seeking content earlier.
  • Start with a strategy.
  • Look beyond the homepage.
  • Embrace consumer generated content.
  • Stop lying to yourself by saying “content isn’t a big deal”.  It is.

And there  you have it.  Content is king.  You can have a fantastic looking site, but it doesn’t do any good without great content to match.  So often, designers and developers alike get lost in making sure that every little nuance of the site is perfect and pleasing to the eye, yet they miss the one aspect that’s staring them in the face on every page.  This applies to everyone – from big design firms to the casual blogger.  Create good content, make it look good, and use it.

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