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  • Writer's pictureEditorial Team

Content-first Approach or Design-first Approach When Building a Website

The choice between a content-first approach or a design-first approach when building a website depends on the goals and priorities of your business or organization. And even though it depends on many factors, this choice is crucial when you launch a website and start working on your brand’s online presence.


To help you make the best choice for your company, we are here to make everything on the topic a bit more clear to you!


Content-first Approach When Building a Website


A content-first approach prioritizes the creation of high-quality, relevant content before designing the website. This approach focuses on creating a clear structure and hierarchy of information to ensure that the website's content is easy to understand and navigate.


The design of the website is then developed to complement and support the content, rather than dictate its presentation. This approach is particularly useful for websites that place a high value on the quality and relevance of their content. These are usually news and media websites, blogs, and informational websites.


Pros and cons of the content-first approach


+ User experience focus

+ SEO boost

+ Stronger brand message

+ Cost-effective

- Limited creativity

- Slower design process

- Less visual impact


By selecting content over visuals, a content-first website is able to provide a clear and organized user experience that prioritizes the needs of the audience. It effectively conveys a strong brand message and establishes a clear brand voice.


Focusing on content first is more cost-effective as the design fits around existing content, rather than requiring the creation of new content to fit a pre-designed layout. On top of that, search engines prioritize websites with high-quality, original, and relevant content, so you can expect a significant SEO boost.


Unfortunately, prioritizing content means limiting the creative design options, potentially sacrificing visual appeal for a strong content strategy. Without a strong emphasis on design, a content-first website may lack visual impact, potentially making it less appealing to users.


design first website

Design-first Approach When Building a Website


On the other hand, a design-first approach prioritizes the design and aesthetic of the website before the content is created. This approach starts with developing a strong visual concept and then creating the content to fit within that design.


Choosing to put design first is particularly useful for websites that place a high value on visual appeal and brand image. For example, e-commerce websites, portfolios, and creative agencies.


Pros and cons of the design-first approach


+ Strong visual impact

+ Faster design process

+ Increased creative freedom

+ Improved brand image

- Lack of focus on user experience

- Poorer SEO

- Higher costs


A design-first website has a powerful visual impact, making it memorable and appealing. By starting with a conceptual creative layout, a design-first approach speeds up the design process, allowing for a quick website launch. Moreover, a visually appealing website improves the brand image and establishes a distinctive visual identity.


As for the disadvantages of the approach, without a priority on content, a design-first website may lack a clear structure and hierarchy. That is resulting in a poor user experience. Also, putting the expensive design first may affect search engine rankings and organic traffic.



Content-first vs Design-first Website


Ultimately, there is no right or wrong approach to go for. The best website-building approach for a particular site will depend on its specific goals and priorities. Both approaches have their own advantages and limitations, and a balanced combination of both can also be effective in creating a successful website.


Read our VEEL Content blog for more tips about your online presence.


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