If Content is Really King, Then What is Design?

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If you've spent any time online in the past 5 years, you're bound to have heard the phrase content is king. Heated debates have gone on for years to see if it truly is or isn't king - I will not be entering that debate. My goal in this article is to shed light on the discussion and also show a different side of the topic in general.

crown - If Content is Really King, Then What is Design?

A lot of people will base their entire website around the idea of the statement - Content is King. But what happens when people get to your site based on your killer headline title? What are they going to see? Will they be in awe or will they think they've hit a spam site and quickly hit the back button? That's what we're going to be discussing in this article today.

Design is the shiny robe and crown

In my opinion, if content is king, then design has to be the shiny robe and crown that the king wears. It's what makes the king look good and it helps the king portray the positive image that he is after. If he came out to hold court in house slippers, a dirty, stained tank top and old shorts, who would really take him serious? Your website design is the same way and should be treated like it was the icing on the cake for your king content.

I originally posted a twitter message with the statement that if content is king, design has to be the shiny robe and crown and got a lot of positive response from it, so it appears I am not alone in my thinking here. When you really break it down, yes, content may be the king of your site, but without the other items falling in place, the king looks horrible.

If your (king) content was in the jungle…

So, lets say that your content is the king of the jungle, what would the king of the jungle need in order to look and feel ferocious? Maybe the loud roar, huge teeth and mein? If we were comparing that to the content being the king of the jungle, the mein and loud roar would definitely be the design, right? It's just another perfect example of how content cannot be king without support from the design of the site.

Treat your (king) content like the king in a chess game

Your content is king, right? Well, if it is and the content was the king in a chess game, what would the design of your site be? The pawns that stand on the front line and protect the king from the enemy? What about the rooks and various other chess pieces on the board?

Your design should be treated like all of the pieces on the chess board because they are the pieces you're using the most and the ones that make the most impact during the game. Make sure your design is making an impact like that - your king depends on it.

Never judge a book by its cover

People don't follow that rule - ever. So, what are people thinking when they come to your website for the first time? Are they impressed with the design like people who visit Tutorial9 or Web Designer Wall or are they looking at it like just another run of the mill site? We all remember the rush of "make money online" sites right?

Do you remember what they ALL looked like? John Chow and Shoemoney had their sites duplicated more times that anyone else I know - because people thought that is what it was supposed to look like. Standing out, taking your time and getting a design that is worthwhile and high quality will go a lot longer when you're making that first impression with your visitors. Attract their attention and then get them to read your king content.

And now we pass it onto you

What are your thoughts on the subject of content being king? And do you think I am onto something here with my analogies above? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to get your opinions on it.

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