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Why is Web Technology so Complicated?

The technophiles are running rife! Hardly a day passes without a new technology vision being announced. These often reflect genuine industry trends but can also be marketing hype. Some current web-related examples are MACH, Composability, DXC, and JAMstack. These buzzy terms address the "how", but not the "what", and businesses can easily get caught up in technobabble and forget the core objectives.

It's time to restate the obvious - that technology is only part of the solution. Let's quickly look at the key attributes a website MUST have and notice how small a part technology plays in it.

  1. Be findable: Brand awareness, content for SEO, effective marketing campaigns, etc. 
  2. Meet arrival expectations: Reduce bounces by meeting the promises made by the referral source 
  3. Get to the point quickly: Prove to visitors that the answers to their questions are on the site 
  4. Engage: Determine the needs of the target audience and deliver relevant answers (personalization)
  5. Have obvious calls to action: Make it easy to move to the next step 
  6. Push leads to a CRM: Capture visitor details (and behavior) and track them through the sales process

It's interesting to note that a basic static HTML website (circa 1995) or a primitive Content Management System (circa 2002) could effectively deliver items 1, 2, 3, and 5 - no emerging technology here, it's just content and JavaScript! What remains is personalization (4) and integration (6) and this is where it can get complex. There are ways to simplify personalization and integration without sacrificing features.

Website Personalization

Personalization improves visitor experience which translates to more conversions. Personalization has two components, tracking a visitor's behavior to identify their reason for being on the website, and rendering targeted content based on the discovered reason. Achieving this requires the visitor's behavior to be stored somewhere and then logic is executed to determine what content to reveal.

The historical approach is to capture the browsing behavior of all website visitors and save it to a server-side database. This introduced many challenges including performance and complexity. More recently cloud applications like CDPs store website behavior but these can get expensive and many have features that will never be used.

How do we simplify these data stores but still retain the key features? One way is to eliminate the shared data stores altogether, but how? By using client-side JavaScript to save the visitor's browsing behavior in their own browser. The stored data can include:

  • Facets or behavior indicators 
  • Goals achieved
  • Number of visits to the website
  • Average time on the website
  • Actual pages visited
  • Number of visits to each page
  • Referral source
  • and more

That was simple! We've eliminated huge databases by distributing the storage to each visitor. 

The second component of personalization is deciding what content to show a visitor based on the behavior data collected. We can also do this with client-side JavaScript. By reading the behavior data (facets) stored in the browser, the desired content version can be displayed to the visitor. The content itself can be pulled with AJAX calls from the web server or an external source like a CRM. Alternatively, the content variation can be served with the original page request and simply made visible by scripts that read the facet values. 

Client-side personalization works with all web technologies, and the skills to install it are widely available. This approach is lightning-fast and the technology is transferrable to other websites. It comes at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise system and demonstrates how personalization is possible without significant complexity. So how did it get so complicated?

CRM Integration

Nine times out of ten, this means creating a CRM lead record from a web form. Most CRMs provide client-side scripts that can be added to a website to push data to the CRM e.g. Salesforce Web To Lead.

Enterprises have long understood that having a visitor's website behavior in their CRM lead record improves the sales process and provides additional campaign segmentation options. Enabling the sales team to personalize each visitor's website experience from their lead record is also highly beneficial. This is another space where complexity has run rampant, again, largely by using server-based and cloud-based databases. It does not need to be that complex!

Leading CRMs provide APIs to enable external services to interact with records. We can simplify and reduce costs by turning to client-side scripting to create and work with the visitor's CRM record. When a visitor submits a web form, the field values and the visitor's behavior are easily sent to the CRM and the response can be used to return any updates to drive website personalization. It is possible to:

  • Create/update CRM records including contacts, and cases records
  • Continuously push visitor browsing behavior to the CRM record for successive visits
  • Drive website personalization from the CRM by updating the visitor's browser data with values from their CRM record


Web technologies are in a constant state of flux and trending towards increased complexity. Relentless change benefits software providers who continue to introduce complex technologies often when simpler alternatives are available.

Adopting the web architecture/technology du jour is no guarantee of a successful website. Most technologies are totally invisible to the website visitor - it's content that really counts.

Be wary of technology-driven approaches loaded with features you pay for but will never use. The ideal approach is simple - consider your needs and adopt a flexible technology that meets those needs. 


FuseIT specializes in CRM integration. Our enterprise Send2CRMS4S, and CDP4S, connectors enable the real-time exchange of data from website technologies to Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Please contact us for more information or to see a demo of these in action.


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About the author

Terry Humphris

Website integration with dual-mode personalization

The ultimate way to support your sales team.

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