Web Design vs. Content – What Helps Conversions Most?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is mainly about web design being more important than content or vice versa. Which should get precedence? The problem with this so called web design vs. content question is that it pits one against the other when in fact they both work to ensure that your website or landing pages convert.

The answer is to strike the right balance between content and design. But which is the right balance? That’s exactly what we’ll be diving into below.



Here are a few facts

As human beings, we are visual creatures. Research conducted by William Bradford showed that 65% percent of people learn visually. So, images help us make sense of things better than just words. However, regardless of how many words your pictures can convey the fine print still goes unnoticed or at times misunderstood. So, the job of written content is to communicate what you want visitors to know about the brand and services. It ensures that the user or visitor is guided towards the action you want them to take i.e. make a purchase, download a freebie, subscribe to your newsletter, etc. So, as you can see, there is no way that you need to think in terms of web design vs. content.

What does the father of advertising have to say?

David Ogilvy is considered the father of modern-day advertising. He was the first to acknowledge there being the need to strike the right balance between content and web design. After extensive research, he came up with a five-step formula for advertising success. Below is the sequence with which people look at ads:

  1. Visually
  2. Read the visual’s caption
  3. Then read the headline
  4. If the find the above interesting then they read the content
  5. Few read the signature

Web Design Vs Content – Rather Get Them Married!

While Ogilvy belonged to the age of print advertising but his principles can be used successfully even today. The fundamental relation between web design and content depends on three factors:

  1. An Attention Grabbing Headline
    Five times as many people will read the headline as opposed to the body. So, the headline is 80% of your advertising or in your case the website. Read the tabloids perhaps since they have perfected the art of grabbing people’s attention successfully. Use that style to evoke curiosity and interest.
  2. Relevant imagery
    The age of stock imagery has finally passed. Interestingly even stock image websites that were smart enough to catch on now offer images that were shot for a brand or your brand! The important thing is to make sure that the pictures you use are relevant and beautiful. Never use images that have nothing to do with the content on the page. Ideally, you’ll want to use real images of your employees, offices, and building.

    When it comes to size experts like Justin Rondeau recommends larger images because they have been proven to drive better conversions. However, make sure that the pictures are responsive and look good in different sizes and on all screens.

    Top off a great image with a riveting caption, and you increase conversions by garnering interest by over 300 percent.

  3. Web Design guided by User Flows
    Web sites shouldn’t be designed in isolation but rather in user flows and designed around what users want to do on your website. You should map a user’s thinking process from the time they visit your page to where they look and finally what motivates them to purchase or subscribe.

    The latest eye tracking studies have shown users reveal that the CTA should always be above the fold. The studies conclude that the no. 2 CTA located below gets 39% more clicks with the one above the fold or in the middle getting 61%.


Whenever you’re thinking web design vs. content, never choose between the two. By using both holistically with the above studies and observations in mind, your pages will be a lot more efficient.