Copywriting Or Web Design: Which Comes First?

This is just another scenario similar to the chicken or the egg, but does the order between the two really matter? Does it produce a significant change when the right one comes first before the other? Well, the answer is short but simple—yes. If you’re a founder of a startup, a web designer, or a copywriter, you probably encounter asking yourself the same question over and over again. Stunning web design helps improve user experience, making them stay longer on your site. With this, your site’s bounce rate will decrease and its average dwell time will increase. This will improve your SEO scores, drive site traffic, and eventually boost your sales.

If you need help improving your website’s overall design and interface, you may visit any company specializing in website design in Melbourne or your local area.

On the other hand, interactive content—or copy—helps catch the eyes of many people. Sharing ideas through content connects you with your readers. This makes you a reliable source of information, building trust and a loyal community of followers.

So, what should the order be? Design, copy? Or copy, design? You’re probably confused, irritated, and stuck with that darn question.

What Is The Norm?

In most cases, copywriting is usually done after web design and development. And this has been the norm for many companies and third-party web design agencies. Once designers develop the website, copywriters will take charge and produce a copy that fits the design perfectly.

That may seem like an easy task, right? But actually, it isn’t.

What Will Happen In A Design-First, Copy-Later Approach?

The role of a web designer is to create and develop a user-friendly web interface and navigation. On the other hand, a copywriter produces appealing content that sparks interest among your audiences.

That being said, once the designer has completed the design of your site, the copywriter has no choice but to ensure that the finalized design will work. So, what could be the impact of this process?

Here are the possible drawbacks of a design-first, copy-later approach:

  • The content is too long. The content may be longer than what’s required and expected. This leaves the copywriter no choice but to fill the content with lots of fluff and fillers just to meet the forced length.
  • The content is too short. The required content length may be too short. Because of this, the copywriter won’t be able to describe and state a specific product in detail. The lack of essential information can make your site look unreliable.
  • The content is limited. The content might be limited depending on the specific guidelines. This usually happens when the web design is too detailed, limiting the copywriter’s ability to explore further.
  • The content is disruptive. If the copywriter’s content goes beyond the specific word count, the design might be disrupted. This may negatively affect the responsiveness of your website.

What Will Happen In A Copy-First, Design-Later Approach?

Now that you know the potential side effects of the design-first approach, you’re probably thinking of doing it the other way—a copy-first approach. That may not be a bad idea since it results in a smaller percentage error than the design-first approach.

The copy-first approach helps reduce revisions and workload, improving overall efficiency and productivity. This is why you should consider putting it first before the design.

That said, create a copy first and get it approved by your manager. Once done, you may proceed with the design. In this way, you don’t have to start again from the top in case the client requires some revisions regarding the content.

Designers can use the pre-approved copy and play with it until they find the most appropriate layout and designs. This ensures that the revised content and web design will go hand in hand. But before anything else, it’s worth noting that even this approach has potential drawbacks.

Here are some side effects of the copy-first, design-later approach:

  • Inconsistencies in design elements. Writing web copies first can cause inconsistencies in various design elements. For example, it can be difficult to achieve multiple sub-blocks with the same length if the design is based on the content.
  • A lack of creativity. Designers won’t be able to create the design they want to ensure a positive and relevant user experience because the copy restricts them from doing so. This may negatively impact the overall design.

Since both design-first and copy-first have different drawbacks, maybe you should focus on the collaboration of the two.

Why Should A Copywriter And Web Designer Collaborate?

Based on the discussion above, the right order should be the copy-first, design-later approach. However, that may compromise the web design in the process. The copy might place some restrictions that lead to a lack of creativity and inconsistencies—things that great products don’t have. This is why it’s recommended for a copywriter and web designer to work side by side.

Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider the collaboration of the two different departments:


  • It Can Help You Save A Lot Of Time


When a design or a copy comes first, it always ends up in revisions. There are things that must be revised for the copy or design to fit into the concept accordingly. Aside from the revisions, it can also cause tensions and a lot of finger-pointing since both are emotionally invested in their works. This will absolutely waste a lot of time.

However, when the two collaborate with each other, they’ll be able to settle things in a timely and efficient manner. They’ll be able to prevent a lot of revisions and conflicts in the process.


  • It Promotes Better Brainstorming Of Ideas


Collaboration results in new ideas and perspectives that can help improve the current concepts. After all, two heads are better than one.

Also, collaborative brainstorming will help them understand how each one works. Once they figure that out, they’ll be able to give each other opportunities to think outside the box and improve each one’s bright ideas.

Final Words

The order between copy and design has long perplexed and confused the minds of copywriters, web designers, and would-be startup founders. Putting copy first may be an easy way out, but keep in mind its potential drawbacks in the process. Therefore, instead of choosing between the two, it’d be best to consider promoting collaboration for efficient and effective work output.

Continue Reading: Top reasons for web developers to integrate Instagram into web design

Author’s Bio

Giacomo Fiorello is a professional copywriter with over 14 years of experience. He shares his skills and expertise through creative content writing, webinars, and training. During his free time, he focuses on making time with his family and friends, dining together, and enjoying the day out.