The root of many common marketing problems may stem from poor web development. Understanding which challenges can be remedied by smart development techniques could mean the difference between a successful campaign, and a failed one.
Twenty years ago, if you told people that you were marketing your business online, they might have called you crazy. Today, if you told people that you weren’t marketing your business online, you might expect the same reaction.
Unless those people mistake your cluelessness as charmingly vintage. Shhh, don’t correct them. Just take your mid shin capris and move on.
As of 2015, more than 91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, 48 percent of marketers build a new landing page for each marketing campaign, and 40 percent of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes.
Digital marketing is now king, and everyone wants an audience with his excellency.
But getting online is the easy part. Maintaining a strong and effective online presence is a different story, one in which the web developer gets to be the hero.
Web development is the machinery on which digital marketing runs, and if the machinery is broken, so is everything else.
Not every digital marketing problem can be fixed with proper web development, but many of them can. If you’ve experienced any of the following issues, smart web development practices may be the remedy.
Problem: Poor Search Ranking
If you consistently put out unique, keyword-rich content, but aren’t seeing the desired results, the problem may lie with the website’s architecture.
A good web developer can optimize the search engine optimization (SEO) by ensuring a company’s web presence is built on solid design principles and technical fundamentals.
They can guarantee that all content is well-formatted and well-presented for search engine crawling.
A website that loads quickly and displays accurately across a variety of desktop and mobile devices is more accessible to users and will see more traffic. More traffic influences search rankings. Also, more traffic is great all by itself. Traffic a la mode, if you will.
Problem: Infrequent Content
Consistent, unique content such as articles, blog posts and infographics drives traffic and increases customer conversions, but without an integrated content management system (CMS) in which to easily post this content, many businesses struggle to stay up-to-date.
This is where a web developer has the chance to shine by either integrating a pre-existing CMS (WordPress, Joomla) into a website’s backend or building a custom CMS for a specific company.
A CMS streamlines the process of publishing and updating content because it doesn’t require any knowledge of programming to operate.
No more wasting manhours updating content by tracking down the company’s one developer so they can rewrite the code, with a CMS, the English majors of the company can post their work with just a few clicks.
Problem: Not Enough User Data
Your average marketing maven might not see the difference between asking users to login with a username versus an email address, but a savvy web developer does.
Asking users to submit their email address via a registration page is a no-hassle way to build your email list and one of many minimally invasive methods of acquiring valuable user data.
But a web developer’s role extends beyond simply knowing these methods. He or she must also know how to integrate elements like registration forms, social media plugins and modal windows so they don’t disrupt the user experience.
Problem: Insufficient Web Analytics
Good marketers understand how to translate web analytics into actionable marketing solutions, but what if there isn’t sufficient analytic data to go on?
Good web developers know how to align an analytics strategy with business objectives to provide comprehensive, accurate and targeted data for marketers to work with.
Inserting a Google Analytics code into your homepage is amateur hour. A developer can put a company in a position to receive data regarding:
Banner ad performance
Email campaign performance
Social media referrals and activity
Video interaction and engagement
Mobile websites and apps
Problem: Stale Marketing Techniques
A web developer is likely to be one of the most Internet-savvy people on the team, making them a valuable resource when it comes to staying on the industry’s cutting-edge.
Developers are plugged in (in every sense of the word) and may be the first to learn of a new social networking tool, content curation widget or user engagement strategy, as well as recent changes to SEO best practices or the most recent trend in web analytics.
For example, a trend-savvy developer might clue a marketing team into the following: did you know that:
It’s no longer effective to base digital marketing campaigns on impressions or clicks. These days it’s all about conversion rates.
Base-level social media metrics (number of followers, likes, shares) are inadequate for making data-driven decisions, and should be augmented with conversion and relative metrics for more accurate insight.
Impersonal, keyword-saturated content is much less effective than useful, compelling and well-written content.
Your website can be penalized for violating the best practices of many major search engines. Avoid shady tactics like blackhat SEO, IP-spoofing and redirects.
To maximize the impact of your digital marketing efforts, incorporate web development into your strategy from the beginning. The root of many digital marketing problems such as infrequent content, insufficient analytic data and disappointing search rankings may stem from development issues and committing to quality web development can mean the difference between a successful campaign and a failed one.
Do you think a lot of marketing problems are due to web development? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.
Josh Kraus is a Chicago-born, Denver-based writer and mediocre autobiographist with an interest in art, entrepreneurship, and emerging industries. When he's not writing, he attends to his t-shirt business, Bird Fur. Find him at joshkra.us and birdfurtees.com.
7 Habits of Successful CTOs
"What makes a great CTO?" Engineering skills? Business savvy? An innate tendency to channel a mythical creature (ahem, unicorn)? All of the above? Discover the top traits of the most successful CTOs in this free guide.