Which came first: the chicken or the egg? In all seriousness, that’s how I feel when I get asked, which comes first for a website or design project: copy or design? It’s one of those questions where there truly is no right or wrong answer, just different approaches.
Put simply, you can’t have one without the other. Copy and design are besties and work together to convey messages, evoke emotion, and drive conversions. Talk about the dream team!
Every copywriter and designer has their own individual process, but in my studio (as well as the studios of many other creatives I’ve worked with), the coolest thing is that it’s entirely possible to do things either way!
You could create the design, then create copy to work around that design. Or, you can create your design around the copy that’s been written first! Ideally, I always recommend approaching them dynamically, working on them together so you can genuinely ensure your copy comes to life with a powerful design.
Here’s the thing… Both design and copy are essential to a strong website or piece of collateral, so I encourage you to treat neither element as an afterthought! They’re both essential!
Design helps copy shine by…
Now, whether you’re DIYing the entire process or outsourcing part or all of it, there are some tips I can share with you now to make sure that your copy and design process will really flow smoothly…
Begin gathering your inspiration as soon as possible – whether you’re currently building out your project or are still just dreaming it up, start gathering your inspiration now.I suggest creating a private Pinterest board that you can add examples of powerful copy, design aesthetic and palettes, so you can begin to get a picture of the overall vibe of your website; both the copy and the design must own this vibe for it to really have the impact I know you’re craving!
When you begin drafting your copy, bold, italicize, and/or underline words, phrases and lines of copy that you’d like to really stand out in the design. This ensures your copy will be even more readable and will give you an idea of what needs impact in the design. Whether you’re designing yourself or working with a designer, this will help the design process greatly!
Decide what your ultimate core goal for your website will be (or if you’re creating a sales page at this point, that individual page’s goal is totally cool, too!). Ensure that all the information leads directly to this by having one key Call to Action (CTA) that you repeat in strategic points throughout the page. Website visitors are distracted, so we must make this as easy as possible to take action!
Here are some common core CTAs to get your inspiration sparked…
Familiarize yourself with the consumption habits of your target audience. What type of content do they like? Are they more into Podcasts or books? Personal development or historical fiction? Long-form content or short +snappy copy? This will help you ensure that you can optimize your website for who you want to reach and their own consumption behaviors!
Invest where you need the support and where your strengths don’t lie. I mean this in the most empowering way possible! The moment I outsourced my website copy was the biggest relief of my life! You don’t have to do it all, my friends! Investing in areas where you’re “weaker” is genuinely so empowering because it lets you stay in your zone of genius and focus on what you love the most! If you’re going the DIY route for your website design, please consider using a template. This still allows you to use your creative flair and customize the design for your own brand, but it takes all the guesswork out of wondering what to layout and where it comes to your website copy and design!
The Template shop is the one-stop shop for Website + Social Media Graphics Templates thoughtfully designed + curated for the passionate female entrepreneur!
With Showit website templates for as little as $97, my mission is to make beautiful design more accessible to new entrepreneurs.