In the first two parts of the Web Developers guide to marketing, we wrote about setting up the website. Here, the developer has a crucial role in bringing the online operation together. However, developers are an integral part of the marketing optimization process.
Developers help you understand analytics, optimize the website, and iterate existing ideas. While marketers may perform analytics as a part of their operations, they lack the know-how to implement the fixes.
Without them, the optimization remains subpar and fails to deliver satisfactory results. The key here is to know how to assist marketers and focus on fixing relevant issues.
There are various analytics tools available online. Yet, most marketers stick with Google Analytics, as it offers almost everything you need for website analysis.
It allows you to schedule events, create data subsets, and integrate them with other platforms like Facebook. And it is the most used tool among marketers. So, for the remainder of the article, let’s imagine that this is your preferred analytics tool.
In the best scenario, both developer and marketer share analytics and analyze the data together. The reason why this is the best-case scenario is due to the team roles. The understanding of analytics changes depending on the lead role in analytics.
The situation dictates the most relevant metrics for your online business. For example, you may have a website some time. If you have less than 100 visitors per month, it’s obvious you have a traffic problem.
However, the conversion rate may be a problem if you have traffic but have low profits. Both issues require a separate set of metrics and actions to solve the problem. The first step to utilizing analytics is to look at the data and find the general issue with the website.
Thus, looking solely at:
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
Isn’t enough to find actual problems with the website. They are relevant, sure. But you want more evaluation than that to find a website issue you can solve to improve the website.
Analyzing the Metrics
The trick with metrics is to know what to look for in analytics. Analytics are sets of data. Anyone may access them and read them. What separates a professional marketer from a newbie is what you can see in the data to improve an online business.
When you look at data, there are other areas you want to examine. These are:
- Traffic sources
- Visitors coming to the website
- Visitor retention
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on page
The logic behind this market is that they emphasize three elements of a buyer’s journey. You want to find out:
- Are visitors coming to the website, and where are they coming from
- Are visitors spending time on the website and interacting with the content
- Are visitors buying, and what is the problem with finishing the purchase
These three are crucial questions for almost any website. It is up to the marketer and dev to find a way to solve each issue.
Spotting General Problems
Now you know what the three primary focus areas are for any website. You have to learn how to spot them. The way to do so is to look at three common problems with websites. Look at points like:
- Number of new visitors vs. number of returning visitors
- Bounce rate
For traffic, you want to know the ratio of new and returning visitors. For example, you may launch a paid campaign and bring dozens of new users that month. However, a situation may occur when you fail to sell them products on arrival and then lose them forever.
For engagement, you want to look at how users interact with your content. Here, the amount of time spent on a page and bounce rate is an indicator of content quality. If they leave the page almost immediately, you have content with poor quality.
For conversion, look at your offer and products. If you can bring users but fail to sell to them, you may have a problem with your copy. Then, you want to rework the copy and sales-relevant materials and look for improvement in revenue.
Then, it is time to optimize your website.
Avoid optimization if you don’t have a working hypothesis on the website issues. Always backup your hypothesis with data before reworking anything on the website.
Often, marketers handle the metrics and discuss with the development team what to do about them. Yet, a developer with more marketing experience may sport issues that require immediate work.
These include technical issues, content design, and user experience. Whatever the initial case is, these may be the problems a developer wants to fix.
Fixing Technical Issues
First and foremost, you want to run a page speed analysis. That is crucial for current Google standards and the overall user experience. It is the first step to optimizing any website and also a task most marketers can’t do alone.
For that, you can use a tool like PageSpeed Insights. Once you get the results back, work on fixing them. Often, websites have page speed issues or other issues related to page speed elements.
Fixing that isn’t enough. Instead, look at the other technical issues to solve. These include:
- Broken Links
- Schema markup and metadata
- Elementary website functions
- Online shopping processes
- App functionality (if there are any apps on the website)
With that, you fix most of the technical issues on the website. Still, you have to do a bit more to call it a day.
Next up, you want to check content design. Most developers focus on technical issues, which is fine due to the nature of their role. However, doing something extra may help your client a whole lot.
Content design refers to the practice of setting up content in a specific order for visitors to use. Pasting content on the blog page isn’t enough anymore. Instead, try to help the marketer envision how the page should look like. Then work with the marketer on adding additional functionalities to the page to make it more interactive.
Then, you can work on improving the UX of the website.
Try to put all of this into perspective. Users don’t care about campaigns, SEO, PPC, and development. They only care whether the website is easy to use. If you can’t deliver that, you have nothing to offer users.
The whole idea behind having both marketer and developer in the team is to engineer that experience.
If nothing works, you have data and previous experience to iterate another website. If you evaluate your strategy isn’t helping the business, reevaluate it and start again.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to start over again. While it may seem like a too-excessive action, it may be the only option to salvage your online business. For example, you may notice that your website needs additional features you could develop through bespoke software. Or, you could build a custom coded website and solve those problems.
Get Better Results
Finally, the only way to succeed with an online business is to support the operation with experience. Any strategy without deployment and testing is a mere theory.
Analyze, optimize and iterate. That is how you build a successful online business.