30 Squares of Nothing

The event calendar, a common content type on websites, came up for discussion recently in a client content meeting. Our client liked the idea of a traditional calendar display with 30 or 31 white squares arranged in neat lines. It quickly transpired that they generally had 2 - 3 events a month, with no plans to increase that frequency. This would mean their their key event calendar would end up displaying 30 squares of nothing.

Content and design mismatch equals poor messaging

If that calendar type had gone ahead, the end result would have been a page which communicates the opposite message than intended, due to a mismatch between content and design. A brand wishing to appear dynamic will lose face with 30 bright squares of empty space, leading readers to focus on what's not going on, rather than what is.

Empty schedule

Lorem ipsum doesn't tell us anything

When websites are designed without draft content (such as a list of past monthly events) they risk all kinds of disaster. What looks convincing in a sitemap or with lorem ipsum isn't always possible to make a reality with limited material or resources to pull that content together.

The effort of pulling together draft content will give a team a clear understanding of what effort will be needed to get it all finalised and live; something lorem ipsum can never do.

Creating draft content for key pages can act like a reality check for the effort involved in the overall content project. At Webfactory we know all about this - we've audited hundreds of thousands of pages across a vast range of websites, and can easily spot where content plans and reality have clashed. Blank pages, pages with a single word or link, orphan pages; these all tell tales of content projects gone wrong.

How content specialists can help

It's never too early to involve a content professional in a web project. Simple questions like 'Do you have sample content for this?', 'Who will write this?', 'Who will input the content?', 'What's the sign off process?', 'Who will update it?', 'Do you have a Style Guide?', 'What Reading Level are we aiming for?' will help establish some important facts before pen meets paper.

Content preparation is a time-consuming process and good copywriting is a specialised activity. Having a content strategy and experienced copywriter in place makes all the difference to digital projects. You wouldn't expect your staff to code a new website; similarly the burden of producing all the copy without help shouldn't necessarily fall on them either.

Additionally, content writers will work together with designers and UX specialists on the layout of the page - or in other words, the content design. This is where we ensure the design and layout reflect the copy, and enhance the message and narrative.

Talk to us

Our content experts can help you audit your website, create a content strategy, define your tone of voice, write your style guide, train your in-house writers, edit and write copy, liaise with SEO experts, and advise on your overall content design.

Interested in making your content perform to its fullest potential? Drop us a line at hello@webfactory.ie

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Sinead Clandillon

Head of Content

The author

Sinead is Webfactory’s content strategist and she also manages the online visibility team, comprising search, analytics and social.

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