Each brand has its visual identity and verbal identity. Both of them are important. However, in which to invest first, in the web design or the web content?

Web design or web content: which to buy first, the chicken or the egg

Many of us work in the digital marketing field. Many of you need our help to reach new prospects online or to sell more.

But we’re not that many who fully understand which came first in digital marketing, the web design or the web content.

In this post, I’ll try to clarify that doubt.

To do so, I’ll call on the famous dilemma about which came first, the chicken or the egg. However, I’ve no intention of writing about that subject.

I intend to answer the following question: which to buy, the chicken or the egg? In other words, in which you should invest first, in the visual or the verbal identity of your brand?

In the web design or web content?

What is a brand, and which are brand identity elements

In a post published on the SEMrush blog, I found the following definition of a brand:

“Brand is a set of values that consumers associate with a company or a product.”

Brand image: Definition, advantages, and key points, Jesús Madurga López, SEMrush blog

Moreover, the author of the post reveals a difference between the brand image and brand identity.

Unlike the brand image, the brand identity aims to help consumers recognise and differentiate a brand from its competition.

If you’re interested in learning more about these two concepts, I encourage you to read the entire post. In the post, you’ll find an excellent explication regarding both of them.

In the end, brand identity consists of three elements:

  • Visual identity
  • Verbal identity
  • Brand values

What are the visual and verbal brand identity

The visual identity is the logo, the colours, and the typography a company uses.

Web designers create or choose all of these elements. Their goal is to help consumers to recognise and differentiate one brand from another visually.

On the other hand, the verbal identity consists of the company name, its voice, the tone it uses when speaking to a specific audience, as well as the brand style guide.

In this case, content writers, copywriters, and communication specialists are in charge of creating and specifying these elements to make sure that the web content communicates the brand values.

The visual and the verbal identity: stuck between the chicken and the egg

Before answering the question from the beginning, I insist on an essential factor. Humans are visual beings. For us, a picture is worth a thousand words. 

So, what about the brand identity?

Following this logic, it would be easy to conclude that visual identity is worth a thousand verbal ones.

Now, let’s compare the web design with a chicken and the web content — the text — with an egg. In that case, a chicken would be worth a thousand eggs.

In summary, it seems to make much more sense to invest first in the web design and then in the web content.

This way, we could answer the question from the beginning. However, this answer is neither the only one nor the correct one.

Web design attracts, web content sells

To make sure that you understand what I mean by saying that this answer isn’t correct, I’ll explain you a story.

Until recently, I was working as a copywriter in a digital marketing agency in Barcelona. We were twelve employees in the agency. But of all the coworkers, my favourite fellow worker was the web designer.

I collaborated with him on most of the projects.

  • He was in charge of designing the elements of the visual identity for the clients’ brands. I was in charge of compelling writing, following the verbal identity of the business’s brands.
  • His contribution consisted of the harmony of colours and shapes. My contribution of the words, not to say the eggs.

We both were doing our best to do a good job and were getting along very well because:

  • Every brand needs to take care of both its visual and verbal identity.
  • The web design attracts, but the web content sells.
  • Web designers and copywriters must work together and, hopefully, become favourite fellow workers of each other.

To have outstanding marketing, you must break the ice

I’ll stop for a moment now.

I hear in my head the voice of my former employer, reminding me that the content — both web content and compelling copy — doesn’t sell.

The voice is right.

The web content doesn’t sell. What sells is quality, results, and trust.

The texts (only) transmit these values. The texts seduce. They persuade.

The texts help to sell.

  • So, if your budget is limited and you need to attract visitors to your website or blog, I suggest you invest first in the web design.
  • On the other hand, if you’re sure that you can sell enough without attracting many visitors to the website, be sure to prioritise the web content over the web design.

But if you intend to attract visitors and turn them into customers or clients through your blog entries or lead magnet, the only option is to invest in both web design and the web content, at once.

Accordingly to my former employer logic, to make the omelette, you must break the eggs. And to have outstanding marketing, you must break the ice.

Web design or web content: in which Woody Allen would invest first

Before I finish the post, I’ll explain a joke from the famous Woody Allen movie, “Annie Hall”.

A guy goes to the psychiatrist and says: “Doc, my brother is crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken.” The doctor says: “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” And the guy says: “I would, but I need the eggs.”

Allen used this joke to explain the complexity of human relationships and love.

However, I find it equally appropriate to use it to clarify the doubt whether to invest first in the web design or the web content.

  • If you need the eggs, buy yourself a chicken. Start by investing in the web design to attract visitors and make sure that the content published on your blog gain some readers.
  • If you don’t want the chicken to be left alone, take care of the eggs. Without the web content that adds value and the visitors who come back for more, the nest of your blog will soon become empty.

And, above all, try not to miss the following digital marketing rule.

In every seed of web design, there is always a piece of web content. In every seed of web content, there is always a piece of web design.

In the end, I dare you to invest both in web design and web content.

Don’t be a chicken. The future is in the eggs.

A Writing-Friendly Question: In which would you invest first, in the web design or the web content?

Stasa Durdic

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and UX writer. Serbian by birth, in Barcelona by occasion, writer by decision. I'm in love with the yellow colour, the art of storytelling, and the following phrase from Don Draper (Mad Men): "The client loves to pay the media, and the CREATIVE loves the PENCILS."

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2 Comments

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    Stasa Durdic · 22/05/2020 at 10:49

    Hello Eric,

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    Have a lovely day,

    Stasa

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