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Content Remains King


As a web design and digital marketing agency, it's only natural that we've talked a lot about the importance of certain tricks and formulas to make your business stand out on the net. Responsive design (i.e. ensuring your site is compatible on any kind of mobile device, browser, James Bond watch, etc.), Search Engine Optimization (i.e. leveraging your site to show up toward the top of relevant searches, thus making you easier to find), and the usefulness of https encryption (i.e. ensuring a stable and admittedly default connection to Google at all times) (vehemently debated) all remain important factors in helping your online presence rise above the fray and the nonsense – we ain't lying.

And there are, of course, no end of tiny details that can help improve the quality of that presence, from the integration of web applications like Amazon or PayPal to the limiting of Flash video and animation for a more universal ease of access.

But at the same time, let's not forget a fact that gets lost amid all the sound and fury of the kind of aforementioned techie advancements that will (probably) continue to the end of recorded time: content – pure, uncut* content – is often, obviously depending on the business, what'll drive your customers back. Oh sure, they'll come back to your site over and over again for the pretty layouts; the way tabs and tables flash in that tidy, antiseptic fluorescent buzz of color that so typifies what it feels like to be alive in 2014. But let's face it: that stuff only takes you so far.

To put it bluntly, if you're a business owner who's hired a web design company to build your site, you should be putting just as much stock in the words and messages that pop out at you as you do to the fact that it's popping out. This sounds obvious – and it is – but in the post-literate society we live in today, it's shocking how many business owners seem detached or uninvolved with the words that are actually going on the site. A pop-up icon is pretty, but after a while the novelty becomes merely pretty and nothing more, whereas that mangled use of "its" instead of "it's" is always gonna make you look kinda lame.

And this doesn't just extend to simple little things like spelling and grammar errors. (If you're heavily invested in those things, most sites are absolute minefields of sigh and error, to say nothing of the utter grotesqueries of the internet at large as the habitat of basement-dwelling YouTube commenters. Come to think of it, you might wanna just back away from the screen right now and invest in some Faulkner or something.) Also shocking is how many websites omit or forget about the kinds of things that would strike any customer as completely obvious, like social media links or even business hours. You'd be shocked at how many businesses simply don't provide hours of operation anywhere on their site, let alone the home page. (Although it's perhaps an easy mistake to make: slap a sticker on the front of the door once, never think about it again.)

What you may be thinking now is, "Well, wait a minute. Since we live in such a post-literate world where nobody reads and everybody thinks 'possessive verb' is something the judge said before giving your uncle 12 years, why would your average Joe care?"

Good question, imagined reader of this article! The truth is – and not to underestimate the intelligence of the average working man – they probably don't. Not immediately, anyway. Most people somewhat understandably glance off little content errors or omissions with a shrug. So you're right, there's no instant reason to "care" too much in the here-and-now. But try thinking beyond the here-and-now and the reality may start to creep in. Think about the tepid decay that will set in, years from now, when your business website still flashes and pops and pings and brushes your teeth, but still reads like it was translated from Aramaic over a dying phone line.

You see, for whatever the vicissitudes of taste among the "general public," the happy truth is that the quality stuff is usually what lives on; it's the quality stuff that will make those flashes seem extra bright, even years down the line. As it's been said, there's a reason Stevie Wonder gets a lot more radio play today than Herman's Hermits.

 

*Okay, sometimes you've gotta make some cuts.

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