Digital optimization is a multidisciplinary, multifaceted activity. Because it requires such a range of skills, the makeup of which teams manage web optimization varies greatly across organizations. You may see a dedicated web optimization team or manager, or you may see the job dispersed among various teams, both internally and including support contractors. But, regardless of the makeup of your own optimization team, there are several skills you’ll need to succeed at web optimization. If you’re wondering if you can optimize your site, the answer is most likely yes, but also most likely not alone. Here are the top skills you’ll need for a successful optimization program.
The Top Skills for Web Optimization
Not in order of importance, the primary skills you’ll need for web optimization are the following.
Data Analysis: Before you even start optimizing your digital channels, you’ll need a foundational knowledge of how users behave. Then as you optimize, you’ll need to understand, interpret, and put to use the data that you collect. To do this well, you’ll need someone with great data analysis skills.
Graphic Design / UX design: Once you have your baseline data, you can start designing experiences to improve the metrics you care about. Not every A/B test will involve the visual, client-side experience, but the ones that do will require someone to design them. Ideally, this person or team will also have a background in user experience design, because your website can’t just look good, it has to function well for your user too.
Development: Your tool may have the capability to build A/B tests without any code, like SiteSpect does with our Visual Editor. But, even if you never write code to build your experience, you’ll eventually want to build your winners into your website. Having a developer involved in building experiments will also give you greater range and flexibility with what and how you A/B test. In addition, having development teams involved can open up the opportunity to conduct release experiments on some of the more complex or risky product roadmap projects helping to guide decision making and mitigate risk.
Marketing: Marketers not only drive traffic to your site, they are also great at CRO. Marketing should be a part of your optimization program so that the experience of getting to your site is coherent with the experience on your site. Any promotions, sales, or marketing messaging can also be A/B tested or personalized.
IT and Network Ops: No matter what optimization tool you use, you’ll be dealing with a large amount of traffic that you’ll need to manage. This can include Real User Monitoring, and well as making sure your site is performing as well as it should. Having an IT or Network Operations expert on board will help you maintain peak site performance.
Project Management: With all these stakeholders involved across multiple projects and experiments you’ll need someone with strong project management skills to help effectively coordinate important milestones so you meet the deadlines for your experiments.
Putting Your Team Together
Some organizations have an entire team for each of these key specialties, and some have one person in charge of all website optimization. Who should be involved in optimizing your website will vary greatly between organizations, but you want to consider each of the skills and functions needed and where you have the resources to fill them. These resources don’t always have to reside within your organization, or across multiple departments. Most optimization tools, like SiteSpect, have professional services teams to fill gaps in your internal team structure. SiteSpect professional services include solutions developers who can build experiences for your site, and optimization consultants who can help you audit your site, plan a roadmap, create A/B test and design A/B test ideas, and help analyze your data. Understanding what external resources you have available to you can help your team focus on their strengths, and make the most of your optimization program.
If you have the resources to run your A/B testing program internally, how skills are distributed will really depend on your own organization. Some organizations, especially at larger companies, will have a dedicated optimization team. This team may include marketers, developers, designers, or any combination of the above. Some organizations will prefer to take a centralized approach when others might suit a decentralized setup for their team(s). No matter what your optimization team looks like, considering each of these areas is key to creating a successful program.
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