The Hype About Coding

Originally I never understood why coding was important for a digital marketer. Aren’t we just supposed to do the marketing while the computer tech team does the coding stuff? Well apparently, a digital marketer who can do both is one that will be in high demand.

You know those really intense boot camps for training for various different physical challenges? Well, here in 2015, they have those same boot camps for coding – I never could have thought that would be a thing. These bootcamps or “schools” raked in a combined $59 million in revenue in 2014, and there are only just 80 of them nationwide. The average cost per bootcamp per student was $9,833 and lasts several weeks… talk about expensive! Recent graduates are realizing more and more that to get the post-grad career they want, they need to take their skills to the next level. Not even an Ivy League degree is enough in some cases. Roughly 70% of all coding boot camp students already have their degree from a university, which goes to show people are wanting to go the extra mile.

For a digital marketer, coding can be a really useful skill to have. Coding is what lies behind every online campaign, internet promotion, website, email, and app that us digital marketers will be using. HubSpot argues that the modern marketer should absolutely be learning how to code. Knowing how to code on your own will save yourself time and money, which is something everyone wants. You’ll also be able to understand what is even possible in the first place through the help of coding. Inspiration will come to you in a new form. Even if you aren’t planning on doing the coding yourself, being able to understand what your designer is doing behind the scenes could help you figure out other tools that might enhance your marketing plans.

Another advantage of knowing how to do coding yourself is when you want a small change to be fixed, you want it fixed now, and you’ll be able to do it yourself. Instead of feeling completely annoying bugging your designer all the time, you’ll be able to save hours of time in the long run, and lots of money by making the changes you want to be made on your own! Plus the sense of personal accomplishment doesn’t hurt. While there’s truly no reason to not learn about codes, it’s still important to know that web designers and marketers do have different skill sets and there are reasons they each chose the field that they are in. Marketers may have all the ideas for designs and user experiences, but the web developers and designers are the ones who work behind the scenes implementing and putting it all together.

There are lots of different resources for marketers to learn the skills required to know how to code, and I worked with Code Academy personally. Its a free, interactive website that takes you step by step through tutorials to learn all the basics of coding. Here’s how the first page looks in the HTML & CSS tutorial.

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The tutorial consists of 14 elements broken down into 3 sections

  • Introduction to HTML: this shows you how to add titles, headers, and paragraphs to your website. It explains the basics of opening and closing tags, and the importance of each.
  • Body Elements: This is the body of your website, which can still include headers and paragraphs. You also learn how to change the size of your text with different tags, and there are 6 sizes to choose from (h1 is the largest, h6 is the smallest).
  • Adding Images to your Site: This section explains how to add links and images to your website. I had the hardest time with embedding pictures with links (shown in my screenshot below). Putting a code within a code was difficult for me to figure out, and took a lot of time, but I’m sure for others it can be a breeze!

Overall these tutorials are very simple, and make coding seem so easy. It’s definitely the right intensity I’d personally want as a digital marketer. If I don’t like the sizing of a certain header, I’ll be able to change that on my own, and hopefully with some more practice, if I want to turn a picture into a link to another part of my website or another website entirely, I’ll be able to do that! The experience using Code Academy is a good one, and honestly doesn’t take you much time to complete the HTML & CSS tutorials! I just personally got stuck with the 13th part of the tutorial… but will work to improve that skill 🙂

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Here’s the link to my SquareSpace account! It was hard to navigate at first but after a little time spend I was able to figure out how to delete the default pages and create my own. Editing information isn’t difficult to do, its as easy as clicking edit, writing your content, then clicking save.

The positives of SquareSpace in my opinion are:

  • The ease of editing your content and pages
  • They have default templates to choose from which makes design really simple and takes the work out of it for you (the hardest part is deciding between all the ones you like!)
  • You can have the option to make the website personal, for business, or e-commerce.
  • You can view how your website will look on the computer, mobile phones, and tablets.
  • You can track your metrics such as a traffic overview and mobile usage.
  • For e-commerce especially (the type of site I was asked to create), you can check out shipping, coupons, donations, inventory, and payment activity.
  • It’s totally free!

The negatives of SquareSpace in my opinion are:

  • The navigation really isn’t easy to use unless you actively take the time to figure out and basically memorize where everything is.

Overall, I think SquareSpace is a great tool to use to market yourself, or in the sense of an e-commerce website, market your products or service. You can link your social media sites and your blog if you have one, which can increase your marketing presence on the internet. There’s honestly no reason not to have an account! I believe it’s really important for marketers to have their own websites for all of the above reasons.