You invest time to design an awesome site for your client. It’s easy to navigate. It’s clear, crisp, responsive. Now, in order to show it to your client, you need to put something on the pages – and so you turn to your favourite Lorem Ipsum generator.

But have you stopped to think whether that’s the best way to really sell your design to the client? Is it actually doing more harm than good? Most importantly, are some clients choosing someone else’s design over yours because of Lorem Ipsum? In other words, is it hurting your bottom line?

Lukasz Lysakowski, Design Director at the popular experiences website sums things up well in his blog post The 3 Cs of Design: Consistency, Clarity & Content.

“The purpose of design is communication. As designers, our role is to create systems to communicate information. As designers, we also have to promote transforming information into knowledge.”

When you fill your mock-up designs with Lorem Ipsum, you have immediately removed one of these fundamental pillars of great design. You’ve removed all of the context from your design.

I’m going to show you a very easy way to easily populate your design with suitable real content that will maximise your chances of getting the design signed off. More importantly, it will actually help you to get the real content quicker. That’s vital because getting the real content finalised is one of the longest parts of a web design project. Anything that reduces that process means you get paid quicker.

But first let’s recap some of the reasons why you should strive to avoid Lorem Ipsum:

  • The decision makers just won’t get it;
  • There is a risk it might just end up live;
  • It doesn’t mimic their actual content style;
  • Lorum Ipsum doesn’t prove that your design scales;
  • It creates a sense of fear in your client.

The Decision Maker

As much as you want the decision maker to love your design, they are often not design experts. They are trusting you to do a good job. You can spend all the time you want explaining why this type face is better, or that point size is best, or the margins need to be just so. Want to know a secret – they don’t care! If they did, they’d be running a web design company, not selling the widgets they sell.

They need context in which to frame your design. Decision maker want to know that the website encapsulates their message. They seek reassurance that you understand their core values. Lorem Ipsum does nothing to show that you understand their place in the market or what’s unique about them.

Lorum Ipsum Might Just End Up Live

This is more common than you might think. Making sure you’ve got to every last bit of Lorem Ipsum on every page and every design element is a laborious process. It didn’t take me much time to find a real example of this. South Georgia State College ( is a live website. But look what’s in the google cache snapshot. Google took this a little over a month before I wrote this article:

SGSC - A Live Website with Lorem Ipsum

SGSC – A Live Website with Lorem Ipsum – Click to Zoom

I’m sure the web designers didn’t intend to damage their SEO this way. And sure enough, Google will eventually drop the page from it’s cache. But why take the risk?

Lorum Ipsum Doesn’t Mimic Their Content Style

If you’re using Lorem Ipsum, how long do you make the headings, how much content do you put in blurb sections, how long do you make articles? There is inevitably a temptation to fill elements with just enough Lorem Ipsum to make them look good. Again, using the above site as an example, in the design all of the sub titles under the key statistics are the same width. All of the paragraph sections are the same length. If we look at the real site, we can see that this just isn’t so.

If you’re not using real content, you can’t tell whether the person that writes the content favours long titles or short snappy ones. Will their style of content writing actually fit your design? Using real content overcomes these problems.

Lorum Ipsum Doesn’t Prove Your Design Scales

Your design may show off your interpretation of a highly navigable site. But exactly how many clicks does it take to get to every blog post? Whilst your design may work well with the 20 pages of Lorum Ipsum you have, how will it work with 20,000?

Will it scale? Does speed degrade? Will the content admin be able to easily find the article they need to edit? Will the onsite search deliver sensible results? You can’t demonstrate these key value adds if all you can search for is Lorem Ipsum and it then matches every single page in the CMS.

Having real content and, indeed, having a fully representative volume of content gives you some valuable selling points to focus on during your design pitch.

Lorem Ipsum Creates a Sense of Fear

When demonstrating your design you want the decision makers to be focused and enthused. Instead, you run a real risk of instilling a sense of fear. After all, someone has to deliver all of that content. You’ve just created a real headache for someone.  If this design gets signed off, they are now the bottle neck. That’s not a great place to be in.

Now here’s the thing – they already have a lot of that content because:

  1. They already have a website and you’re rebuilding it;
  2. They will get content inspiration from a competitor;
  3. A combination of the above.

In the case of SGSC for example, the way back machine shows that they’ve had a website since 2013. So this was a rebuild. A lot of that old content could have been used as a starting point.

By way of example, here’s their mission statement on their 2013 website:

South Georgia State College will be a student-centered institution that produces life-long learners well equipped to succeed in a diverse global society.

And here’s their current mission statement after several website rebuilds:

South Georgia State College will be a student-centered institution that produces life-long learners well equipped to succeed in a diverse global society.

Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Indeed, there may be huge swathes of content that will not change – such as admission policies, team profiles, privacy policies, course details and so on. Imagine if the design team had demonstrated the design with that content already in place? Now the person responsible for supplying the content can tick off perhaps up to 80% of it as done already.

Not only does this mean you’ll get paid quicker, you will also win an ally. If you’re in a competitive tender situation where your design is competing with other design agencies you need all the friends you can get.

Three Approaches to Content Lead Design

If you’re still reading then hopefully I’ve done my job in convincing you that Lorem Ipsum has no place in your design process. But how do you get content from the client before you’ve even loaded up the Divi builder and got to work on their design?

Well, in order of ease of execution, here are three approaches:

Ask The Client for It

You could insist that you don’t start work on the design until you get at least some content from the client. There are some design agencies that operate this way and indeed pitch this approach as their USP. They will sell on the value that this can bring. It does have advantages:

  • Selling on the value this brings to the design process;
  • You can qualify clients who are invested and who are capable of delivering quality content;
  • You can use it as a way of cross-selling your copy-writing services.

But of course it’s going to put a lot of clients off.

Copy and Paste it Yourself

You could make use of that intern and set them to work manually copy and pasting swathes of copy from the old web site. Yes, this would be tiresome but it would, kind of, get the job done.

I say, “kind of” because inevitably copy and paste will pick up more than just the copy. It will often pick up stray HTML elements. Any links and image references that are copied will need manual correction later on.

Use a Tool Such as WP Site Importer

WP Site Importer Screen Shot Import Menus

WP Site Importer Screen Shot Import Menus

If by now you’re thinking to yourself “surely there’s an app for that?” – then you’re right on the money. Yes, there is an application (or more accurately a WordPress plugin) that will allow you to easily import selected content. You don’t need to do anything other than enter the URL and choose what to import.

In fact WP Site Importer will speed your process in a number of ways. It will:

All you now need to worry about is applying the theme, styling the content and implementing your design.

Maximise Your Chances of Closing the Deal

In conclusion, using Lorem Ipsum brings very little to your web designs and can actually hamper your chances of progressing your project to a swift and profitable conclusion. In contrast, utilising actual content, wherever possible, can help set you apart from the competition.

By using as much real content as possible you stand a greater chance of connecting to your audience and showing that you understand their brand. You partner with the content creators rather than burdening them and making them the bottle neck. You speed delivery of the project – standing a much better chance of getting to go-live sooner.

In short, you win more business and turn projects around more quickly – both of which means your bottom line grows.



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