Coming from the world of visual creativity, I never felt content trumped design. For me it was about the appearance of your website, rather than what was in it.
As a designer, this pains me to admit, but I’ve turned a corner. This might have something to do with me being a partner in a content marketing and software development company, and I’ve finally come to terms with this truth.
Words are the single most important element of your website.
Now before you are quick to defend your pixels and hexcodes, let me put into context where I am coming from when I make this statement.
The Old School Me
As a result of this, I used my website as a sandbox for building themes — and that resulted in umpteen variations of design (and redesign).
For me it was fun to tinker, and to find inspiration in various CSS galleries. I’d see a specific element that I liked, and combined it with other elements that I liked. I’d mash a header concept with cool homepage layout and tie that up with a groovy footer that I saw someplace else.
And for a while this worked, because all that mattered to me was creating something of value visually, that we could bundle up and sell.
But then I got the itch to write, and things were completely changed.
The New School Me
Over the past few months I’ve decided to put my website to good use, by focusing on quality content rather than turning over multiple designs. There’s a place for me to do that, and it will no longer happen here.
As I started to map out what I wanted to accomplish with this new endeavor, something became quite clear to me. My content needed to be first priority, and the design had to be second.
It took some time for me to come to terms with what this, because it flipped my normal process upside down and I had to learn some new tricks.
Previously I saw things that I wanted to design, and added content to fill in the blanks. This resulted in an inefficiency with my efforts, because the underlying goal of my website was being watered down.
The Intentionality of Design
I’m a very transparent person and want to cut to the chase. I’m relaunching my website as a resource for design and development, and want to share the things I’ve learned along the way.
Part of that is sharing things from the past, but also sharing the things that I’m now doing. More importantly, how (and why) I’m doing them.
Once I had a content strategy and a plan that was crystal clear, I began the creative process. Never before have I been so intentional with my website design, and that is a direct result of being intentional with my goals.
Here are the four things I knew that I wanted to do:
1. Have an about me page telling who I am and what I do.
2. Maintain a design blog and write Genesis tutorials.
3. Offer free content by way of building my email list.
4. Provide a way to connect with me via social media.
These are the things that matter to me right now and I knew that I had to design around them. So I got in touch with my friends at Focus Lab because, to put it simply, they are the best — and my new design is a collaboration of our efforts.
I wanted to approach this whole new effort of mine as a personal project and go through the process as any of you would. Part of why I’m doing all of this is to demonstrate what is possible with our products — more on that below.
Executing the Plan
When I came to the conclusion of what I wanted to do here, the first thing I did was move my entire website onto our Rainmaker Platform.
I knew there were very specific things tools inside of it that I wanted to use in order to accomplish my goals. While I’ve yet to set up some of these things, I’m excited about doing that and will announce that soon.
This leads me to one of the things that should matter to you — documenting the methods of execution. You’ll get to watch me build this out along the way. Not only do I think you’ll be fascinated by the process, it will also serve as proof that you can build the same type of website that I have.
So if you’re interested in joining me for the ride, feel free to signup below: