One of marketers’ and business owners’ greatest pain points is contracting for a website redo. You know how it goes: After vetting many agencies, you finally hire one. Then, you spend countless hours on design choices, strategy sessions, team meetings, and content planning.
Finally, your new website is launched and you cross your fingers hoping for the best. Most often, the new website will perform well for a few months, then performance drops off. Because of the drop off, in a few years you repeat the design process all over again.
Traditional web design no longer works because its playbook is broken. It’s time to throw out the old playbook and get a new one.
Growth Driven Design
Growth Drive Design (GDD) is that new playbook. A GDD website is built on the awesome Hubspot COS website platform and shares very little similarity to the old, traditional web design playbook.
A Growth Driven website differs from a traditional website because the focus is not so much on the company or the agency’s advice (gasp), but on the website user.
A Growth Driven Hubspot COS Website is developed in three distinct stages. Each stage encompasses a flexible set of tasks, making a GDD website an agile development process.
Stage 1: Website Strategy Development
Everybody talks strategy. This is how to do it:
SMART Goals—Take a deep dive into your overall business goals and set SMART goals that align with your digital marketing to achieve them.
- Specific – Your goal should not be intangible. You should know what to expect, the importance of the goal, and what resources you may need to attain the goal.
- Measurable – You’ll need to have a specific set of standards to measure each goal.
- Attainable – Each goal needs to be attainable without placing monumental stress on a team.
- Relevant – Each goal should drive growth potential for your business.
- Timely – You should be able to set a specific date to attain your goal.
User Research (UX)—Testing and observing user habits to gain a better understanding of who is coming to your website and what they are attempting to achieve. There are many methods that can be used for user research including:
- Interviewing existing users.
- Online surveys.
- Collecting feedback.
- Chat apps.
- Heat maps showing user actions.
- Google Analytics.
- Funnel analysis and conversion ratios.
Fundamental Assumptions—Applying insights from your marketing or sales team about the core aspects of your marketing that are success drivers. In this step, we’ll want to see how those core aspects can be integrated into your website strategy.
Personas—A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer or customers. Creating personas gives your team insights into how to drive marketing initiatives and should align with every aspect of your digital marketing.
Journey Maps—Each persona takes a specific journey from the point they first engage your website to the point they buy and become delighted with the ways your company has helped them.
Website Design Strategy—The last step leads to the actual website creation. Many aspects common to all website designs come into play including site maps, navigation, branding, and messaging or content strategy. As these aspects are developed, it’s important to apply all the research above into the overall website design.
At this stage, it’s important to ask, “If we do (this or that), how will it engage persona X and lead them to take step Y? Your overall goal in creating a new website is to prompt user action; viewing website pages is of no value without users taking action.
Stage 2: The Launch Pad
The “launch pad” is the initial website developed and launched from the intelligence gathered in stage 1.
The launch pad is a complete website—to a point. Let’s back up for a moment: The fundamental reason the old website playbook is broken is because a website is never, ever completely “finished.” Thus, the launch pad is the place to start, not end.
Let’s get this website out the door… quickly.
We like to launch a GDD website as quickly as possible, often within 60 days instead of the 3-6 months a traditional website normally takes to build and launch. There are reasons for the fast launch:
- Eliminate guessing—The longer you take to build a website the more opportunity exists to add assumptions. The assumption phase ends with the end of stage 1. We want to get the site launched, so we can test our initial assumptions and make changes if we need to.
- Quicker Time to Value—The longer the website design process takes, the longer you are losing money and gaining no value from it. We want to start seeing results as quickly as possible.
How to Launch Quickly
- Focus on high value pages first.
- Migrate data with a goal to continually revise it once the site is launched.
- Pick design elements from existing templates rather than starting with a “blank slate.”
- Don’t labor over small decisions like “left or right” image placement.
Many (including some agencies) think a launch pad website is “half-baked” and not a complete website. A launch pad site is a complete site; it just may not look or perform as it will 6 months from launch. Here’s why:
Stage 3: The Continual Improvement Cycle
Here’s where science meets design. Stage 3 also is where it’s possible to get lost in the weeds by not interpreting data with performance goals in mind.
A well-managed GDD Hubspot COS website should perform better today than it did yesterday, or last month.
There are many things to consider along with the tools to make it happen. The most important elements to monitor are audience traffic and engagement. Continually improving a website involves applied science:
- Measuring user data, page views, time on page, etc.
- Tracking user behavior—what pages they land on, what they try to click on, how far they scroll down, etc.
- Measuring conversion behavior. Is one landing page performing better than another? Are we asking too many questions on a form? Are users viewing a CTA but not clicking on it?
- Tracking social sharing, subscription rates, landing page conversion, and other means of site engagement.
At each step we’ll ask targeted questions, never assuming any one element on the site is performing as well as it could. Once we hit a metric that achieves our target performance standard, we’ll move onto the next element.
At every step, it’s important to learn more about your audience. The more data you gain about your users, the more you’ll be able to build structure and content that will satisfy why they came to your site in the first place.
Since your website is continually improved, unless you do something extreme, such as rebranding your company, there is no need ever again to suffer through website redesign sessions and the huge expenditures they require.
If you’re planning a website redesign, the most common place to start is to take an inventory of your goals. Whether you’re anticipating a GDD or project-based website redo, you’ll still need to assess your needs.
To start, download our planner and work through the fields. When you’re done and confident you have a rough place to start, simply hand off the document to your favorite agency to get a head start!