Where Are You on the WebOps Maturity Path?
By Emily Omier January 16, 2020
Every company’s WebOps maturity journey will start at a slightly different place. In some cases, companies already use an intuitive content management system (CMS) that marketers have control over—they have a head start on the journey.
In other places, marketing teams have absolutely no control over the website. They cannot publish a blog post or update a headline without relying on a developer. This setup makes it impossible for marketing to respond quickly to market conditions or feedback.
Here’s a look at the journey most organizations go through as they give marketing more control over the website, adopt a more iterative approach and ultimately start using the website to meet mission-critical goals.
Level One: Does Marketing Own the Website?
The first step in the WebOps journey is to ensure marketing has the ability to publish directly to the website, without the assistance of engineering. Marketing teams should be able to publish blog posts as well as control metadata, change headlines after publishing, create custom URLs and handle images.
This starts with giving marketing complete control over the blog, but extends to the rest of the website as the organization moves further along the WebOps journey. At this stage, marketing should be able to edit the text and images on any website page, create new pages and edit text without ever consulting a developer.
As organizations complete this stage of the WebOps journey, the website should shift from being an engineering burden to a marketing asset. Marketing should have full ownership of the website and be responsible for leveraging the website to meet business goals.
Level Two: How Often Do You Iterate?
Once the web team is prioritizing marketing outcomes, the next step is to start making changes to the website on a regular basis. Updating a static website once a quarter was enough in the 1990s, but that simply does not cut it in today’s digital landscape.
At this stage, marketing updates the website on an iterative basis (ideally in 1-2 week sprints), and then evaluates how successful each change is. These metrics on user behavior will be taken into account when deciding whether to keep the change or roll it back, as well as when prioritizing what changes to make in the future. Each update should be a measurable change, however minor, in how users interact with the website—publishing a new blog post or tweaking the copy on the product page isn’t enough.
As marketing teams iterate on the website more frequently, they need to connect the website to business outcomes. What does a slower load time mean, in terms the business can relate to? What business problems stem from the website and how could they be solved? What opportunities exist for the website, and how could the organization take advantage of those? At this maturity level, organizations start to connect the dots between the website and the business, even if they’re not yet in a position to fully take advantage of the website as a business driver.
Level Three: Do You Have a WebOps Team?
As organizations move further along on the WebOps maturity journey, they will dedicate a product-oriented team to manage the website, or many teams to handle different parts of the website in a larger organization. A dedicated WebOps team should meet the following criteria:
- Be accountable to marketing department’s goals
- Include all the skill sets (technical, design, strategy, copywriting) needed to handle everything related to the website
- Handle both web strategy and execution
At this stage, everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the customer support team, should also understand how the website is managed and how to communicate requests for new functionality or other changes to the website team.
The dedicated team will take total ownership of the website, and be responsible for testing, making frequent iterations on the site and moving the organization toward the last stage on the WebOps maturity journey: owning growth goals.
Level Four: Is The Website a Growth Driver?
Companies stuck at the beginning of the WebOps journey often feel like the website is a money pit rather than a growth driver. At the peak of the WebOps path, though, the website acts as a powerful tool the organization uses to meet crucial goals. It becomes be a source of revenue and growth, not just a cost center.
Companies who give marketing full control over the website, iterate frequently (and intelligently), build dedicated WebOps teams and connect the website with business problems and opportunities are able to use the website to create better user experiences and drive growth.
Want to learn more about how to move toward WebOps mastery? Check out Kill the Website Relaunch to learn how embracing an iterative web development process can turn your organization’s website into a growth driver.