What Comes First? Website Design, SEO, or Content?

January 26th 2017       Sally Ormond       panning your web design project, seo, web design, website copy

what comes first?


You need a new website because you’ve either started a new venture, or your old one needs updating.

You know you need a great design.

You know you need an expert to help you with your SEO strategy.

You also know you need a professional to create mind-blowingly excellent content.

But, which one do you tackle first?

Everyone will have his or her take on this, but as a copywriter, this is the way I prefer to work.

The logical flow

Even though I am ever so slightly biased towards the importance of your content, it isn’t the first thing you should tackle. And here’s why.

The design and navigation of your website will, to a certain degree, dictate how the copy should be written.

It’s also important for the tone to complement the site’s design as well as your brand voice.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, that’s where your project should start, but in tandem with your SEO strategy.

You’ve probably read a lot of articles on SEO, mainly focused on SEO copywriting. Sure, that’s a big part of your strategy, but a lot of it is also concerned with what happens behind the scenes of your site in its coding.

My knowledge in this area is a bit sketchy, but suffice to say that the coding, structure and navigation of your website are all important elements of your overall SEO structure.

That means finding an expert to help you identify your key terms before you begin your project to make sure your site’s design is optimised for the search engines.

Now it’s time for you content

Once your site is designed and your SEO strategy put in place, you can finally turn to your content.


Because your copywriter will need to know your SEO strategy before they begin creating your copy. Trust me that works a lot better than trying to make it fit retrospectively.

Having sight of your new design along with details of the keywords you are targeting will help your writer develop your content to not only engage with your readers but also satisfy the demands of the search engines.

So what does that mean for your budget?

How to budget for your project

Even though there’s a hierarchy of how each element should be tackled, that doesn’t mean your budget should be all about your design.

Professional designers, SEO strategists and copywriters are expensive, but they are effective.

You could cut corners, and you may well end up with a reasonable looking website, but it won’t attract or convert visitors wiping out any hope of a return on your investment.

Be realistic about what you want and pay for quality work. It will be worth it in the long run.



Sally Ormond is an independent copywriter and owner of Briar Copywriting Ltd. For tips on copywriting, marketing and social media, you can also read her words of wisdom on Briar Copywriting’s Blog.

Tags: panning your web design project, seo, web design, website copy
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