5 Web Design Tips to Improve Content Marketing Efforts
If you're designing a website this year, it's likely your client will require a portion that's dedicated to content marketing. Blogs, photo slideshows, video streaming, infographic presentations, podcasts, and more are taking over digital marketing strategies, as 2015 reports by the Content Marketing Institute found 37 percent of B2C marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, while 35 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. Both percentages are significantly increased from the previous year, and these numbers don't include marketers who use some form of content marketing but have no documented strategy. After your client has determined the best content marketing agency fit by evaluating them based on these content marketing questions, it's up to you as a Web designer to make sure their efforts towards creating valuable content are rewarded with increased page views, more referrals, and better search engine optimization for keywords your client wants to rank for. Here are five Web design principles to keep in mind when supporting a website with content marketing goals.
1. Employ Responsive DesignIn 2014, more than a third of smartphone owners used their mobile devices to go online more than desktop or laptop computers, according to research by Pew Research Center. More than 40 percent of Web traffic comes from mobile devices, CIO reports, making it imperative to make sure Web content is optimized for desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices. Otherwise, pinching and zooming causes users to get frustrated, resulting in abandoning the site, reduced time spent on page, and less direct traffic. Responsive design also affects the client's search engine reach, as Google announced in 2015 that mobile-friendliness in design will positively affect the search algorithm. Because of the variety of device sizes people might use to access content, using a “fluid grid” in Web design is beneficial because it allows the design elements to resize in relation to other elements depending on the device they're seen on.
2. Integrate Social Sharing ButtonsOne of the best ways for useful content to spread is via social media channels. Free social networks give your client marketing muscle through powerful word of mouth. Make sure it's easy for Web visitors to instantly share content on a website by displaying social media sharing buttons. Before slapping on 15 different social media icons on each post, discuss with your client what social networks their target audience uses, or where they'd ideally want their content shared. Simplicity rules in Web design, so if they just want to focus on Facebook and Twitter, those two icons will be the only ones you'll need to feature on each piece of content. B2B enterprises might want LinkedIn prominently featured, while feminine beauty or shopping sites will probably want their content consumers to be able to quickly add their content to Pinterest.
3. Add Dynamic Commenting CapabilitiesCommenting systems are an essential part of content marketing posts for many reasons:
- They keep people on the page. As visitors scroll through comments and engage in discussions, search engines are noticing the high time spent on page and positively reward sites whose readers stay engaged with better results.
- They keep commenters coming back. If someone comments, and they receive a response from another reader or viewer or, better yet, the writer or moderator, they'll be more likely to return to keep discussing or to see how other people respond.
- They strengthen the community. Featuring a commenting system makes content consumers feel like they're a part of the content, since they get to share their valuable opinions with other consumers. Comments become an interesting extension of the article and can often produce the most engaging material, prompted by the initial post.