Each brand has both visual and verbal identity. The two of them are important. However, which one is more necessary? In other words, in which one should you 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 or to sell more online.

Nevertheless, 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 one to buy, the chicken or the egg?

In other words, should you invest first in the visual or the verbal identity of your brand?

What is more necessary, web design or web content?

Content writing as the Scarecrow | The Marketing of Oz

As you read this post, you might start looking for the Marketing of Oz. If so, Scarecrow from the film “The Wizard of Oz” will be accompanying you during the search to help you find it. Discover what the Marketing of Oz is and read all the posts that belong to the category “Content writing”.

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

Besides providing us with the definition, the author of the post reveals a difference between the brand image and brand identity.

Namely, 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 invite 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 is the visual and what the verbal brand identity?

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

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

On the other hand, the verbal identity consists not only of the company name but also of 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. Their job (partly) consists of making sure that the web content communicates the brand values in the most appropriate way.

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

Before answering the question from the beginning of the post, let’s not forget that we, humans, are visual beings. For us, a picture is worth a thousand words. 

But what does this fact have to do with the brand identity?

In a nutshell, by knowing that we are visual beings, we could rapidly conclude that visual identity is worth a thousand verbal ones.

Or, if we choose to compare the web design with a chicken and the web content with an egg, a chicken would be worth a thousand eggs.

In summary, at first glance, 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 of the post:

  • Visual brand identity is more necessary than verbal one.
  • Thus, it’s a better idea to invest first in web design than in web content.

However, this answer is neither the only one nor the correct one.

Web design attracts, web content sells

To make sure that everyone can understand what I mean by saying that the answer isn’t correct, I’ll explain 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 co-workers, my favourite fellow worker was the web designer.

I was working with him on the majority 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 their verbal identity.
  • His contribution consisted of the harmony of colours and shapes. My contribution of the words, not to say the eggs.

In a word, both of us were doing our best to do a good job. Besides that, we 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, whenever possible, become favourite fellow workers of each other.

To have outstanding marketing, you must break the ice

I’m going to stop for a moment now.

I can hear in my head the voice of my former employer, reminding me that the content, neither web content nor compelling copy, doesn’t sell.

Undoubtedly, the voice is right.

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

The pieces of text (only) transmit these values. They seduce. And persuade.

The text helps to sell; it makes the way to the sales smother.

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

However, if you intend to attract visitors and turn them into customers or clients with the help of blog posts or lead magnets, the only viable option is to invest in both web design and web content at the same time.

According to my former employer logic, to make the omelette, you must break the eggs. But when it comes to having outstanding marketing, you must break the ice.

Web design or web content: the Woody Allen’s joke

Before I finish the post, I’ll explain a joke from the famous Woody Allen film, “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 the metaphor of a chicken and the eggs to explain the complexity of human relationships and love.

However, I find it equally appropriate to apply the same metaphor to 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 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 web content that offers value, as well as the visitors who come back for more, the nest of your blog will soon become empty.

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

In every seed of web design, there is always a piece of web content. And, of course, the same is true in the opposite case. In every seed of web content, there is always a piece of web design.

Having said that, 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: Would you invest first in the web design or the web content?

My name is Stasa Durdic, and I’m a content writer. Unlike those who consider that it’s necessary to choose between the chicken and the egg, I prefer keeping both the chicken and the egg. If you would like to know more about me, please read my story or visit my LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, in case you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to offer you my help with content writing.

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