Digital marketing obviously makes heavy use of websites. but it seems most of the information you see online is more about writing blog posts for SEO and content marketing, not really how to optimize the design of websites for marketing purposes. They’re separate worlds and disciplines when presented online. You’ll hear the occasional reference to “above the fold” design importance, which is pretty debatable. Most people are now using their phones for web searches and when you bring watches and other devices and appliances into the equation, there isn’t a “fold” to speak of. The web “page” is just a boundless space, really, where things have to be arranged strategically. It’s more about making sure you have what they’re searching for is readily and easily available which is also why rich snippets are becoming more important to focus on as marketers/web designers. Your site design may not be coming into play explicitly at all.
Websites are marketing tools for businesses, and I believe the most important one they have. Problem is, most business owners don’t have the time or technical acumen to know how to optimize them properly, or even what’s available to implement. That’s why my services have become so valuable. I do know. But it takes diligence to stay abreast of what’s out there, what’s effective and what’s junk, and how to use it right and when. That’s the main job of digital marketers.
“In today’s business environment, a company’s website is the key to their entire business.” – Marcus Sheridan
The devil’s in the details and small incremental changes add up to provide the optimal user experience. Color themes, layouts and aesthetical elements most people don’t consider and don’t have the wherewithal to decide on and assemble it all properly can make the difference between a so-so site and a gold mine. And even a lot of schooling won’t solve that- it’s like interior design in that way. Some people have a knack for it and some don’t. You can learn the technical points of it all, but at the end of the day, you have to have the artistry to bring what you’re given together, which can vary wildly depending on the client, in an effective and productive and aesthetically pleasing way. It’s the “art” part of the equation. And what separates the great from the mediocre or plain awful.
Same with writing, in fact. Most people know how to write. But to know how to write in a way that is appealing, clear and concise, and jams SEO-wise, it takes some talent beyond a few English classes and reading articles on moz.com. Done correctly, the reader doesn’t even realize what’s going on. It just flows. But as illustrated in a recent post, there’s a lot going on behind the curtain and a lot of thought and blood, sweat and tears probably went into composing a well-crafted piece that will stand the test of time and is shareable. It has to be relevant.
Designing something as simple as buttons, for example, is something that a lot of knowledge has to be applied to. It’s not just a matter of inserting a block with some type on it and leaving it at that, as this linked article explains. A good CTA button is very valuable and can really boost conversions. A crap button may work, but not nearly as well as one that a lot of thought has been put into. And that’s why web design has become integrated with marketing more than most people would have ever seen coming. Lucky for me all this combines everything I’ve enjoyed in my life and am pretty good at, which even I never saw coming. My English degree suddenly has a lot more value than it did back in the 1990’s because I can now incorporate valuable SEO tactics in a subtle but highly useful way using words. And my decades-long nerdery and interest in computers and programming are paying off, as are all the art lessons and classes and visits to museums and work I’ve put into art theory, composition and design. Individually, they aren’t all that valuable and are more hobbies or pastimes, but combined, they create a good resume for a Digital Marketer. My MBA in marketing strategy doesn’t hurt either and provides sophisticated analytical training. But I finally feel vilified in those once-laughed-at pursuits. The artist needs to be a coder and marketer and the developer needs to be a designer and author to be really good these days The differences between them all is becoming marginal as we head into the future.