Why a Web Developer Should Care About Digital Marketing

digital marketing for web devs

If you’re a web developer who spends most of their time coding, you may be wondering why you need to care about digital marketing.

If you’re a web designer who builds websites with SquareSpace or WordPress themes, you may be wondering how you can charge more for the websites you’re building.

Here’s the thing – why you need to care about digital marketing as a web developer is the same reason someone who builds websites without code needs to care.

You Can Earn More

Let’s just get that one out of the way. Cause it’s true and probably the number one reason you’ll care.

I’ve been building websites for companies since I was 17 and started working as an in-house web developer just out of high school.

How has my decade plus of digital marketing experience helped me to earn more?

For one, I get to charge more for the websites I build. I don’t work with a team. I do all of the work myself – from the structure, to the copy (yep, I write it), to the design (sometimes I outsource that), and the development, I’m able to build $6,000+ websites by myself. My overhead is insanely low. And I probably don’t charge enough, let’s be honest.

Even before I was only self-employed, I was able to build better websites for my employers. My digital marketing knowledge meant that I was worth more to the team and sometimes (a lot of times), I did more than just code. I also wrote copy, managed social media, created videos, and started to really learn and understand the strategy and the WHY of what we did.

I was more than a code monkey. Instead, I was a full-stack web developer who was also a digital strategist.

You’ve probably seen a lot of web “gurus” out there telling you that you can charge more for the websites you’re building and add recurring revenue to your business, but do they ever tell you how?

I don’t care how pretty the websites you’re creating are. If you don’t abide by SEO basics, digital accessibility best practices, and strategic marketing principles, you’re going to hit a wall with what you can charge.

Add Recurring Revenue to Your Business

Here’s the other key component to what digital marketing knowledge provides you – it gives you a chance to add recurring revenue to your business.

And no, I’m not talking about creating hosting packages with routine website updates. How many of your clients actually make that many changes per month? And there again, there’s a ceiling for what you can charge for hosting that anyone will be able to see the value.

My digital marketing skills allow me to add diverse monthly packages to my business, creating vital recurring revenue that makes my income far more stable. Because I know how to build their websites to be marketing machines and a strong foundation for their efforts, I can then help them create digital ad campaigns, organic social media plans, or a full integrated marketing campaign that drives traffic and sales back to their websites. You can imagine that my clients love that it’s not just Launch and Get Lost with me. Instead, we often become partners for years to come, helping them to grow their business.

For instance, I just launched a new community website that went from “just a small website” to a 6 month contract for creating the weekly content for that website. And now we’re adding in Facebook Ads to continue to grow her community. That one paycheck went from a couple of payments to a few hundred dollars each month in stable income.

You Can Build Better Websites

OK, so maybe you’re not the type of person who cares about the “quality” of what you’re churning out, but if you’re reading this, I bet you do. You probably love creating solutions for your clients that actually work to get them results.

Knowing digital marketing means building your website better. With a few simple tweaks, for instance, you can greatly improve the on-page SEO of every website you build. By following best practices for digital accessibility (many of which also benefit your SEO, just FYI), you can open up your clients’ target audiences to include everyone, not just those that are similarly abled.

But building better websites goes beyond the technical. It’s a strategic process that shows that you understand your client’s target market, what they need, what questions and problems they’re facing, and showcasing that your client solves those issues. It’s a balance and not always easy to see until you’ve got it right. And just in case you think I’m crazy, my local boxing gym client generated $4,272 in the first ten days that their site was live. 10 days! All leads that came directly through their website. 5 months later, and they still average 3-4 leads per week from their site. Those leads are coming in because of good SEO, but they’re filling out the contact forms because of the journey the website takes them on.

Digital Marketing Powers Websites

I get that learning a whole new thing can be overwhelming, believe me. But I promise that if you invest just an hour a week into improving your digital marketing skills, you’ll start to see just how much it can affect the work you’re putting out. And hey, just start with one piece. Want to learn to run ads? Dig into Facebook Blueprint and take their course! Head over to Moz and brush up on your SEO. Or, keep following along with me here and I’ll take you through things each week that you can apply in your business the same day.

And if you’re really wanting to dig in, sign up to be in the Beta test of my course for website creators – Digital Marketing for Web Devs.

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