Growth Driven Web Design
If you’ve ever been involved in a website redesign project, it’s likely that you did not fully enjoy the process. The reason that we’ve come to accept the fact that a website redesign is one giant headache is because of the approach we take to build them.
The traditional website design process is filled with systemic risk and headaches. Here’s a few we’ve observed companies struggling with:
Large Up-Front Cost: The average business website typically is a one-time large substantial up-front cost for most businesses. Not only is this cost hard to budget for all at once, but it is also paid in full before even knowing what impact the website will have on your business.
Large Time & Resource Commitment: In addition to the up-front expense, the average SMB website typically takes three months to complete and requires a great deal of resources and energy from your team.This amount of time to invest — with no business results to show from it until after it launches — is enough to make any boss get a bit uneasy.
Over Budget, Not on Time and Not Flexible: Even if the budget and time is approved, there are so many moving parts, people and steps involved in a large project, it’s extremely difficult to accurately quote the cost and determine how long a project this large will take.
This makes it extremely common for a website project to be delayed and/or run over budget. This not only stalls out the results from your website, but also reflects poorly on you in the eyes of your boss and other department heads.
So, What Is Growth Driven Website Design?
Growth-Driven Design is a completely new approach and way of thinking about building and growing your website. Here’s how:
Minimize risks associated with traditional web design.
We work to avoid the risks of traditional web design by taking a systematic approach to shorten the time to launch, focusing on real impact and continuous learning and improvement.
Continuously learn and improve.
We are constantly researching, testing and learning about our visitors to inform on-going website improvements. Through continuous improvements we can reach peak performance. As you learn, inform marketing and sales (and vice versa).
Growth-Driven Design is tightly integrated with marketing & sales.
What we learn about visitors helps inform and improve marketing & sales strategies and tactics (and vice versa).
There are 2 phases of the design life cycle:
Phase 1: Strategy +Wishlist + Launch pad website
The first stage of Growth-Driven Design is the strategy stage.
In this stage we’ll develop a rock solid foundation that we can build our Growth-Driven Design process upon using the following steps:
Goals: What are the performance goals that we are trying to achieve with our website? How have we historically performed, where would we like to improve and how will this impact the overall marketing department’s goal?
Personas: Next you will develop detailed persona profiles for the different types of groups visiting the site.A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. You can create different groups of personas based on common characteristics your audience shares. This could be a point of pain, industry, job title, etc.
Quantitative Research – Website & Analytics Audit: It’s time to start digging into the data. Perform a quantitative audit of how the existing website is performing, reviewing what is, and is not, performing well, where users are dropping off, etc. As you are completing your website audit, you will start identifying where there is opportunity for improvements for your future web work.
Qualitative Research – User Research: After you have identified some of the areas of opportunity though your audit, the next step is proactively reaching out to your existing users to learn more about them, gain a better understanding of who they are and find ways to improve.
As you’re collecting new user research, it will help you validate the assumptions you put in your original persona profiles and will likely give you additional information to include.
Global & Page Strategy: The last step in the strategy phase is to develop both a global strategy for the website as a whole and a specific page-by-page strategy for each major page on the site.
Both the global and individual page strategies should incorporate all of the previous steps and lay out a detailed strategy of exactly how to best engage and influence the user to best attain your goals.
The next stage in the Growth-Driven Design process is developing your wishlist.
Taking what you’ve learned in your strategy planning, gather your team together and brainstorm every impactful, creative and innovative idea that you’d like to include on the site.
The key is to come into your brainstorming session with a “clean slate” and to not get hung up on the existing website. Think about what items should be on the list to achieve your goals in an ideal world if money, time and development skill were not an issue.
This includes brainstorming ideas such as:
- Key impactful website sections and pages
- Marketing assets, tools and resources
- Specific features, modules and functionality
- Design elements
- Changes in experience based on devices, country, etc.
After a few hours of brainstorming with the team you will have a list of 50-150+ ideas for the new website. Not all of these items will be implemented right away, however. But it’s important to flesh out as many ideas as possible right off the bat.
Your wishlist will be used both to determine the initial action items to implement on the new site, but is also an agile and flexible list that you will continuously be adding to (and subtracting from) as you are re-prioritizing actions items over time.
Launch pad website
In the traditional web design process we think of the launching of the website as the finish. In Growth-Driven Design it is the complete opposite.In this stage we will be building and launching what we call a “Launch Pad website”. This Launch Pad website is the starting point on which all of your other Growth-Driven Design activities and improvements start from.
The Launch Pad website should be launched quickly and will not be perfect. We want to avoid getting stuck on analysis, features or content while building our launch pad website.
It may not be perfect on launch, but no website is. It will likely be a big improvement to your current website and give a starting point for which you can continuously improve from.
The size and complexity of the Launch Pad website will vary depending on what you have on your wishlist and what type of website you have. However, it’s extremely important that you’re able to boil it down to the essential 20% that will make an impact and launch quickly so you can continue to learn about your users and improve the site.
Run an 80/20 Analysis on Your Wishlist
In the wishlist phase we compiled a long list of all the action items we’d ideally want on the site. Now it is time to start sorting and prioritizing these wishlist items to determine which action items are the first ones to implement on our launch pad website.
Review the list with your entire team and identify the 20 percent of items that will produce 80 percent of the impact and value for your website’s users. Once you have identified those core 20 percent of items, pull them to the side and do some additional filtering by asking yourself, is this action item…
Hypothesis Statements for Each Core Action Item
Once we have narrowed down our list of action items for the Launch Pad website down to the core 20% most impactful, “must have” items, you will then create a “hypothesis statement” for each one of the action items.
The hypothesis statement allows us to gain clarity on how each action item relates back to the goals we’re trying to achieve, the persona we’re focusing.
Web Process Steps
Once you have identified the most critical action items you must include on your Launch Pad site, you can run those items through the standard website implementation process, including:
- Messaging & Content
- User Experience (UX) & Site Architecture
- Inbound Marketing Strategy Alignment
- Quality Assurance and Testing
Set Up Data Collection
The last step of the Launch Pad website is to set up qualitative and quantitative data collection around:
- Your goals defined in the strategy phase
- Each of your fundamental assumptions
- Each hypothesis statement of your action items implemented in the Launch Pad website.
Setting up data collection is an important step, as it allows you to start learning about your visitors once your Launch Pad site is live.
Once you have launched your Launch Pad website, it will be time to start your on-going cycles to continuously experiment, learn and improve on your website.
Coming out of your Launch Pad website you will still have a long wishlist of impactful items that you’d like to implement on the site. This list is agile and should be updated on a regular basis.
This Revolves Around the Persona
This entire cycle starts with and revolves around the personas who are coming to your website.
At each stage of the cycle, we must continuously ask ourselves how this relates and provides value to the personas visiting your website.
At any point if it ever becomes unclear how an action item provides value to, or relates to the persona, you must take a step back and re-evaluate what you’re working on.
Ready to Learn More?
Are you bought into the idea of Growth-Driven Design and want to learn exactly how to implement it at your company or agency?