Content Before Design — Why We Need Your Content Before We Design Your Website


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When you put your content before your design, your customers are the ones who benefit — learn more.We get this question all the time:

“Can I just see the design first and send you the content later?”

Trust me, I understand why this happens — as human beings, we are visual animals. We need to see something to really be able to get a grasp, cognitively, on what we’re talking about.

It’s very hard to think about just the words on a website without thinking about the design of the website itself.

After all, if a website looks bad, who cares about the content, right?

Wrong, unfortunately, but don’t worry, it’s a very common misconception and a difficult concept. Content has to fill something, has to go somewhere, and it’s very hard to try to envision what needs to go there before you can see what there looks like.

Which means that most people end up focused on design before they ever think about content. They want to see the design first and worry about what goes on the website later.

There’s One Major Problem With Putting Design Before Content

No one comes to your website to look at the design unless you are literally a website designer.

(And even if you’re a website designer and you’re reading this right now, content is still what people ultimately come to your website for, so you’re not off the hook pal.)

This makes sense when you think about it. There’s no way to ask Google to filter my results by beauty. I go to search engines looking for information, and when I get to a website, I only really pay attention to the design if it’s bad.

If it’s bad, I start to wonder about the people behind the website, their credibility.

But, as long as it’s ok, I kind of ignore it. I’m there for information — content — and that’s really it.

This blog post is a perfect example. Why are you reading it? I doubt it’s for the design (though we like to think it looks nice).

So, if content is so critical, what happens when we prioritize design?

When Design Comes First, Content Gets Strangled

There’s no other way to say it, really.

When you prioritize design, you basically determine the size, shape, and structure of the container. If you design and order a container, and then find out afterwards that the thing you want to put inside the container doesn’t fit, well…

You’ve got yourself a problem.

If you have 50,000 gallons of gas for your customer, but your container only holds 20,000 gallons, will your customer be happy? Will they care about how awesome the container is that you put the gas in?

Probably not.

We let content drive design because content is what people want.

It’s why they go to your website. It’s why they put up with droves of ads and legions of popups just to watch a 2-minute video — because that video is worth far, far more to them than the design of the website.

Design Is Still Critical, But It’s Not the Driving Force

None of this is to say design doesn’t matter — it absolutely does. If your customers come to a beautifully designed website, they’ll know you’re a professional. They’ll trust in what you have to say. They’ll be more likely to take you seriously.

And it’s more than that. Good design means they can use your website easily and effectively. It means they’re able to find the products or services they want and buy them without a problem. It means they can easily contact you or find the information they need.

But good design isn’t why your website visitors came to you in the first place — your content is.

So, when we ask you for your content first, this is why — we want to make sure, primarily, that we give your customers the information they’re looking for in a simple, effective manner.

We want to make sure your customers have the best possible experience on your website, and that starts and ends with the correct information.

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Adam Fout

Adam Fout is an addiction / recovery / mental health blogger at and a speculative fiction / nonfiction writer. He has an M.A. in Professional and Technical Communication and is a regular contributor to Recovery Today Magazine ( He has been published in Flash Fiction Online, superstition [review], and J Journal, among others.

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