When you decided to become a website developer, you may have thought you were simply signing up to work with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other programming languages. You may not have realized that website development is actually a form of marketing.

Today’s website developers are expected to perform tasks that used to be reserved for marketers. And when a website isn’t generating sales, some clients hold their developer responsible. In the past, this expectation would be considered outrageous, but today, websites need to be developed with marketing in mind.

According to Website.design, one of the most common reasons a website doesn’t generate revenue is because it wasn’t developed in a way that supports marketing. For example, web forms might be too complicated and the copy might not be persuasive. Since today’s web clients expect developers to write basic copy and build web forms, it’s imperative to be familiar with marketing.

Website development involves some marketing

Initially, website development was separate from marketing. Developers and graphic designers would work together to create a website and then a marketing team would market the website through various channels. Now, that’s not the case. Websites must be created from the ground up in a way that supports all types of marketing campaigns.

For instance, basic SEO and copywriting are often part of a web client’s expectations. They may not expect perfection, but if you don’t set them up for success, they’ll have to hire someone to redo some of your work. 

For instance, if you design a website with a layout with wasted space above the fold, like a giant header, once your client works with a marketing agency, they’ll be told they need to have their site redesigned.

Likewise, if you build a site on a platform that isn’t SEO-friendly, your client’s marketing team will likely tell them they need a new site before they can implement any kind of SEO strategy.

Naturally, clients won’t like hearing that they need to pay even more to have their website redesigned. If you’re still working with them on retainer for updates, they’re not going to be happy and they’ll probably tell you. You can avoid this situation by making sure you incorporate basic marketing into your website designs.

Tips for incorporating marketing into your web projects

Not sure where to start? Try these tips to include marketing in your future client designs.

1. Work for a marketing agency

One of the easiest ways to find out what marketing agencies need in terms of web design is to work for one. You can freelance for a marketing firm or you can get a full-time job working as an agency developer. Either way, you’ll learn really quickly what these agencies are expecting.

If you’re an experienced developer, you’ll probably have an easy time getting hired, even without marketing experience. Most professional marketing agencies work closely with their developers and guide them on how they want their clients’ sites designed. You won’t necessarily need to know marketing to develop sites for a marketing agency. However, as you work on clients’ projects, you’ll develop a feel for what works.

2. Study marketing

Another good tip is to study marketing. You don’t have to go to school to earn a degree in marketing, but you should at least have a general idea of what’s involved in marketing a website. For example, color psychology, branding simplicity, and how design elements impact visitors are all important subjects to understand.

You should also take time to understand the psychology behind sales page design. Your web clients will likely hire a professional copywriter to create the copy, but you’ll want to know how to set them up with a theme that supports creating sales pages. For instance, if you’re building a WordPress website, you’ll want to create a page template that eliminates the main menu and sidebar for sales pages.

Some of the best places to study marketing are YouTube and Udemy. If you take a few courses and follow a few marketers who design websites on YouTube, you’ll learn plenty.

Start wherever you can

Learning how marketing applies to websites is a pretty big task, but you don’t have to wait until you’re a pro to implement your skills. Wherever you are with learning marketing, start there. Incorporate what you know into your client’s sites, and keep learning. Eventually, you’ll have enough knowledge and experience to build websites that clients can take to an agency for a smooth marketing and SEO experience.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.