How good content design turns visitors into fans

Sonja Jefferson

Illustration by Lizzie Everard

We love great web content, as you know! But we also know that every web page or email newsletter has to work very hard to get noticed. Let’s face it, we all skim and scan web pages to assess whether they are worth reading in full.

What we’re doing as our eyes dart around a web page is looking for clues. Will this content deliver? Will it be relevant? Interesting? Valuable? For me?

In short, it’s not just what you write that matters — it’s how you present it. And, in a noisy online world, visual communication has never been more important.

The value of good design

One of our favourite designers is Lizzie Everard, of Thinking Made Visual. She’s the lady behind our branding and the illustrations for our new book. Lizzie says: “Visual communication is absolutely crucial. First of all, there’s a glut of words online — and good design can help you to stand out. Secondly, people digest information in different ways — so visual clues are essential to help people navigate online.”

For immediate results, good design can help you communicate better. In the longer term, though, a relevant and consistent approach to design can go even further — enhancing your reputation and turning visitors into fans.

“Visual communication can convey the essence of a brand or a message — showing its unique character and tone of voice,” says Lizzie. “It’s all about creating a personality and building brand recognition.”

Six simple ways to make your content stand out:

1. Use powerful images

Research indicates that images can more than double the number of people that read your words — add an appropriate photo, graphic or illustration to reinforce your message.

2. Include photos of people

Pictures of people — real people not cheesy stock shots — can help build trust, on websites, blogs and social network profiles.

3. Create the right layout

Most people scan a page of content from the top left hand side, moving across and down. On heat maps, this often looks like a letter F. Make sure your most important words and images are located in this crucial zone.

4. Add social sharing buttons

Social sharing buttons are a visual clue to the importance of your content — if you show that lots of people are sharing your content, even more people are likely to read it.

5. Build infographics

Fascinating data can be a powerful motivator — but facts and figures can easily get lost in running copy. Give important statistics the attention they deserve by creating simple infographics.

6. Embrace white space

There’s nothing more off-putting than dense copy. It’s harder to scan. Make your content easy to navigate by breaking it up. Keep paragraphs short, use bullet points and sub-headings, pull out quotes and embolden important words.

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3 Comments

  1. Totally agree, interesting pictures work wonders. And Lizzie’s are always interesting, clean, elegant, intelligent…

    Also, enjoying the Valuable Content Marketing book.

    Reply
  2. Couldn’t agree more Jim. We love her work. Good graphics like hers always make me stop and reflect: a welcome pause in a busy day. So glad you are enjoying the book. Do share your thoughts. Sonja

    Reply
  3. Thank you Sonja and Jim! Feel very chuffed and encouraged to feature on the VC site. It helps having interesting ideas to visualise.

    L

    Reply

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