Digital Marketing Begins During the Web Design Process, Not After

Digital Marketing

What's the difference between a basic website and a lead generation machine? The answer is digital marketing. Which, spoiler alert, begins during the web development process, not after.

Organizations are commonly surprised by the amount of time (or money) it takes to manage the technical setup of a paid ad campaign, search engine optimization (SEO) project, or conversion strategy. 

This is often because their website was initially not built with digital marketing tactics in mind, making it more complicated, convoluted, and costly to properly set up and track these activities.

The difference between a basic website and one that generates leads is the way the website is built. It’s during the web development process where metadata and open graph fields are inputted, image libraries are built, and asset IDs are defined. This is the most vital reason why your marketing team and media partners should have a seat at the table during a web design and development project. 

To give you a leg up, we’re sharing part of our web development toolbox. 

Our digital marketing dev checklist includes: 

Proactive Measures for your Core Web Vitals 

Let’s start with technical assets. Your Core Web Vitals can make or break your website's performance. 

  • Configure your server to allow the HTTP/2 protocols
  • Update font references to Google fonts for better server load time
  • Have width and height attributions for all your templates to avoid CLS issues 
  • Right size your images for a better user experience and server load time
  • Update your jQuery to tighten server security 
  • Review third-party scripts being loaded to decrease bloat 

Tracking Digital Marketing Activities 

Make sure you have a line of sight on your marketing activities to ensure you are investing properly.

  • Create unique buttons labels so you can track Click ID, Click Text, Click Element, Form ID, etc. which makes conversion tracking much easier 
  • Pick a deducted URL structure for SEO and organizational purposes
  • Make sure all redirects are in place and properly executed before going live
  • Be sure all contact and email form submissions route to dedicated thank you pages
  • Stick to one type of form to simplify data intake
  • Don’t have both a HTTPS and HTTP versions of your website live or the Search Console will have extremely duplicative data (remove the HTTP from your sitemap & add a canonical to the HTTPS)
  • Place code snippets in the header, body, and footer of the site which saves time if it's something harmless that doesn't require dev work like GTM and analytics codes
  • Place data layers on order confirmation pages so GA4 can properly track ecommerce transactions which need a specific data layer that pulls a customer's cart values

Search Engine Optimization Needs 

Make sure you leave space for technical and on-page SEO requirements.

  • Make sure H-tags (header tags H1-H6) match your *visual* design needs and align with the hierarchy of your content and keyword strategy 
  • Have short, concise landing pages by keyword or topic for better search rankings 
  • Don’t put valuable SEO content in an accordion or pop up. Instead place it on the page or make its own for better visibility 
  • Always enter alt text for your images which are absolutely vital for web crawlers and reading assistant tools
  • Keep your media libraries organized and create a labeling system for your images for crawlability, accessibility, and your sanity
  • Be sure your images all have crawlable text/alt text. Do not design text to be a part of the image. 
  • Make sure image file names are descriptive. Avoid random strings of numbers and letters
  • Product titles should be tagged with H3 tags to help with distinguish and identify products, images, descriptions, and other supporting information
  • Consider structured data you need applied by launch and make sure it's applied accurately. (Type, format, information, etc.) You can always go back add schema markup post launch
  • Add relevant schema markup for all pages that need it (i.e., recipes, products) 

Marketing Communications Planning

  • If you are considering a custom content plan, web pages have to be built differently to populate with custom content based on audiences (and you need to setup and define audiences) 
  • Create an explicit opt-in process of customer’s zero-party and first-party data to future proof email marketing activities 
  • Include automated confirmations for activity tracking for a better user experience and as a key, and often overlooked, branding opportunity
  • Create a content strategy to identify evergreen content versus content that needs to be refreshed to boost its SEO ranking

While this checklist is not all encompassing, it will give you the baseline you need to make sure you are not duplicating efforts during and after your web design project. Use this as a guide to help save time and money when you start to invest in digital marketing activities. 

For our web design and development clients, we actively ensure that these properties are set up correctly, the first time. Even if we don’t currently have a digital marketing agreement in place — it’s just the right thing to do. 


If you’re interested in a website audit, or advice on ways to best set up your digital marketing activities, drop our marketing pros a line at

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