Digital Marketing vs Web Development – Know The Difference

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Digital marketing and web development are two completely different things. Despite their differences, they work hand in hand in the best interests of a business. With most of the world's businesses relying on digital means to reach their audience, it only makes sense to have a presence online. 

In this digital marketing vs web development article, we'll talk about these two key elements of building your online presence and how you can leverage them to your advantage.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the practice of using digital media and services to market a product or idea to clients. More often than not, the main marketing channel would be social media.

Digital Marketing vs Web Development

Digital marketing is mostly focused on getting a company's brand name or products in front of potential customers as well as clients. It also makes use of website hosting, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation and distribution systems to reach as many eyeballs as possible through various means.

It is about having the right amount of SEO, pay per click (PPC) and social media strategy to get your brand out there, with the sole aim of generating sales and leads.

Digital marketing has also opened up a new avenue for businesses to market their products. Since many consumers spend most of their time on social media nowadays, reaching them through those channels makes sense.

As a further measure to enhance these efforts, equipping teams with corporate marketing training will ensure professionals can leverage social media effectively, understand online consumer behavior, and optimize their marketing efforts. 

Currently, businesses can consider the benefits of outsourcing digital marketing services. This allows access to specialized expertise, cutting-edge tools, and cost-effective strategies, ultimately freeing up internal teams to focus on core business operations.

Furthermore, digital marketing also helps in generating leads and increases the conversion rate of traffic leading to more sales. 

What is web development?

Web development is the creation of websites and other digital platforms on a computer or mobile device. It can range from simple HTML conversions to high-end CMS websites.

The sites developed by a web developer or custom software developers are usually coded in HTML with JavaScript, CSS, and programming languages like PHP, MySQL, Python or Node.js being used in some applications. 

If you want to hire Node.js developers, you can find them through various online platforms or staffing agencies that specialize in recruiting technical specialists.

What is web development

Web development is particularly a highly specialized form of software development. It is about creating websites that are accessible through the Internet and mobile based technologies.

It also covers all other aspects of a business, from marketing to sales and everything in between. Web development encompasses e-commerce sites as well as content management systems (CMS) and blogs.

Web developers are also quite adept at creating custom web-based applications using open source platforms such as Ruby on Rails, Drupal or Joomla. 

Digital marketing vs web development: what is the difference?

Before we talk about the differences between digital marketing vs web development, let's take a look at how the two relate to each other:

The main difference between digital marketing and web development is that digital marketing focuses more on the creation of digital media such as websites, blogs etc. and does not concern itself with the maintenance and upkeep of these sites.

On the other hand, web development is more concerned with maintaining a website or blog through regular software updates and tweaks and exploring new ideas that can make the site better.

From both of these aspects, web development is more than just creating and maintaining websites. It is about building a website from scratch, testing the site for errors before making any changes and keeping up with technology that can help make your website more efficient or user-friendly.

The other key difference between the two would be in their output:

Digital marketing produces digital media, i.e., websites, blogs, social media posts, ads etc. whereas web development produces software applications such as CMSs and blog applications.

Web development is more than just web design and development. It also includes user experience, usability and interactive design.

In short, digital marketing vs web development mainly focus on the different areas of a company's needs. It is more about reaching as many people as possible through the two main tools available: digital media (i.e., advertising) and software applications that make it easier for consumers to access a company's products or services. 

How to choose between web development and digital marketing?

First things first, there really should be no choosing between web development and digital marketing. You need to consider both options if you want to run a successful business online

Additionally, hiring an experienced agency can be a good option.

How to choose between web development and digital marketing

However, we understand that not every business that's just starting out can afford to focus on their digital marketing strategy and web development at the moment.

Let's take a quick look at your options. 

When should you focus on digital marketing?

There are a few instances when you shouldn't worry about web development and should only focus on digital marketing: 

  • If you are starting out and don't have the funds to invest in both digital marketing and web development just yet.
  • If you want to start generating leads for your business as soon as possible, it might be best to put your money into digital marketing alone.

You can always build a website on your own using drag and drop builders and have someone take on the web development work later on.

If you are looking to create a strong brand presence for your business, digital marketing would be the obvious choice here.

Here are a few tips to get your digital marketing strategy off the ground:

Social media

It's a good idea to focus on one social media channel at a time. Start small, with Facebook and Instagram and work your way out to include more platforms.

Consider which channels best fit your brand's value proposition, business objectives, audience and goals. Especially here, brands usually develop their own strategies.

Consider your customers and how they engage with businesses on social media as a good way to understand what works best for them.


First impressions count when you are marketing over social media or even just on other websites. Your social media posts and pages, images, icons, etc. should be designed in such a way that they are eye-catching and relevant to your audience.

Make sure your content is easily shareable on all the different platforms you use.

Content is king

It is always a good idea to start with high quality content. This can include blog posts, e-books, videos, etc. about the services or products that you offer. You can always rely on social media posts to get the ball rolling but this is a slow and tedious way of sharing your content and dragging your website traffic up.

content marketing formats

Infographics are also a great way to tackle this problem. You can design them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. If you do not have the skills in graphic design, don't worry! There are many sites online that offer affordable services for creating these digital assets in bulk. 

When should you focus on web development?

So, if you have all the money in the world to invest in digital marketing and web development simultaneously, which one should you choose?

Here are some indicators:

  • You want a website that can be accessed from anywhere.
  • You want a website that has an "app" version as well.
  • You want visitors to easily find what they are looking for on your website.

These are just a few indicators of when you might want to consider investing in web development as well as digital marketing strategies for your business.

When should you focus on web development

If you are going to invest in web development, it would be best to start off with your website's framework first. You can ask a web developing company that has a great portfolio and in-depth knowledge of the digital marketing industry to create a well-structured site for you.

You can even go as far as hiring them to create an app version of your website if you want users to access information easily no matter where they are. That being said, there are two parts to this strategy: understanding the needs of the clients you are going to serve and how the website works.

The more you know about your target market, their demographics, how they interact with other businesses online and what they want out of a website or blog, the better web development work you can get from a professional.

Here are some of my top tips for web development success.

User interface

As mentioned above, the UI or User Interface of your application or website is probably the most important thing about it. It should be easy for customers to navigate through your product offerings and find what they need.

Make sure that you have a rich, interactive and engaging front-end experience that puts your visitors at ease and allows them to find exactly what they are looking for quickly, easily and efficiently.

Get feedback from potential customers as soon as you can. One way I like to do this is by opening the website to a few beta testers first. This way, I can ask their opinion and make any tweaks before I officially launch the website.

Search engine optimization

Before you can even start putting full-time effort into your website, it is important to optimize it for search engines. SEO is a big topic but I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet.

seo ranking

SEO is all about linking your website with other related or important websites to bring up your page in search results, as well as keeping people on the page longer by providing relevant information.

Furthermore, it also relies on your keyword strategy - though I don't recommend stuffing your content with keywords. Instead, you should use high-ranking ones. 

The takeaway

All in all, both digital marketing and web development are an important part of any business strategy. It is generally easier to do well at them both at the same time but if you want to optimize your website for search engines, then it might be best to focus on one at a time.

Of course, these are just suggestions and you can always choose to invest in both digital marketing and web development if they seem to fit the business strategy you have in mind.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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