Your website is your biggest marketing tool and is the fulcrum of all your online and digital marketing efforts. When people look for information about your products or services, the first place they go to is your website. Therefore, your website is the most important marketing asset. It is said that before a prospect approaches your sales team, they have undergone 70% of the sales process, thanks to the website. Unfortunately, the way we approach website redesign is no longer working effectively. As what HubSpot said, the traditional approach to web design is broken.
Do you remember the last time you went through a web redesign project? How was the experience? If you are like most people, you could probably say that it is a process you wouldn't want to go through again. That is because a web redesign process is very complex, time-consuming and expensive as well. Nonetheless, it is a necessary evil that marketers have to go through in order to stay up to date. If you let your website languish, it will become obsolete and fall behind in search engine rankings.
So here are the reasons why traditional web design projects are becoming unpopular among elite marketers…
- You need a strategy to do it well: Making a well-functioning website is more than just creating a pretty website and adding things like parallax scrolling. You need to create a website with the end user in mind to make it easy for them to find you when they need to. For instance, you need to create clear call-to-action buttons that encourage better conversion rates. In short, the kind of strategic planning and analysis required isn’t something that you are going to do overnight, and even if you spend hours upon hours designing your website, there are no guarantees that it will work. If you mark your website as “Done” and launch it, there will be no opportunity to include post-launch design and data and make major corrections.
- You need a team of experts: Nowadays, websites go beyond merely displaying your products and contacts. They have become the #1 salesperson because they do most of the work that you expect your best salesperson to do such as answering your customer's questions, solving their problems, connecting your customers to the right people and resources and closing sales among other things. In order to achieve this, you need a wide array of experts to create a functional website that can compete with others. That kind of involvement not only requires time but also money. According to Impact, you could spend up to $100,000 in upfront costs to build a traditional website.
- You have to wait until you have launched your website to know what you want: This is one serious shortcoming with traditional web design. Traditional changes often read out of shape, making it difficult for clients to know upfront what they are getting from a website.
- Often, web design projects run out of the budget and are usually delivered late: If for example, you wanted the website launch to coincide with a product launch or beginning of the year, this could be very frustrating. And if the budget exceeds their limits, it could affect other projects or business operations.
- Most companies underestimate the level of effort required to redesign a website: Most companies assume that just because they hired a web design agency or freelancer, then they don't have to do anything. On the contrary, you have to be involved in every stage. Any great agency will have to rely on your team of experts to provide them with useful information to incorporate into the website.
- After launching, your website is likely to go many years without major changes: Most people think that just because they have created a great website today, they won’t need to change anything tomorrow. A website is like a house. Even if you build a perfect house, you will still need to take care of it; maintain it.
So here is the thing: a company can't afford to take six months off and drain its bank account on redesigning a website instead of focusing on its core business.
The question, therefore, is: How should one accomplish both objectives with better results?
Growth-Driven Design (GDD) is the answer!
What Is Growth Driven Design?
Growth-Driven Design is a new approach to web design that aims to create peak performance websites at a fraction of a budget and within the shortest time possible. Rather than trying to consolidate all the work required to create a new a website, growth-driven design focuses on continuous growth and improvement of the website.
Simply put, Growth-Driven Design (or GDD) is meant to mitigate the risks associated with the traditional web design approach, i.e., reduce the budget and deliver projects on time. One of the major shortcomings of traditional web design is that everything has to be dictated by the development team; and in most cases, all their strategies are always based on what has worked in the past or what is currently working. This means that there is always a higher risk of using obsolete methods to solve new problems. GDD, on the other hand, is a continuous learning and improvement exercise that focus on the immediate impact on the customers. As opposed to the traditional method that is somewhat an all-at-once event, GDD is an iterative process.
Thus, Growth-Driven Design allows one to research, test and learn about what most likely will appeal to the customers and what will make your site perform to its true potential.
Now, you are probably asking yourself: Does GDD ever have an end in sight? The answer is NO. In GDD, the design process doesn’t end. In other words, one is required to continuously make improvements based on the response from the customers.
How Do You Measure Outcomes To Improve Your GDD?
Because GDD is all about improving your web design continuously, the next logical question is: how does one measure results to make your GDD better?
One thing that we must highlight is the fact that GDD uses actual feedback from customers as well as industry/marketing data to assist companies when making design decisions.
For example, you could track how people are interacting with your website in terms of the part of the website where they click most. If most of your visitors are clicking a certain image most of the time, then it means that that is the best image to use as your call-to action button. If you notice that they spend most of their time on a certain page, you obviously need to include your most important call-to-action button on the sidebar or header of that page.
But how do you know where people are clicking on your website?
Luckily, there exist many heat mapping software such as Hotjar. Marketers use such software to track the activities of the users on their websites. You could easily tell where much of the activities are taking place and use the information in your content strategy.
The key is to track your website usage such as demographics, geo-locations, bounce rates, conversion rates and so on and use the data make necessary improvements on the website.
Steps That Make Up Growth-Driven Design
Here are the two major steps that you are going to follow while performing GDD:
Phase 1: Strategy and Testing
Obviously, you need to know two things:
- Your target audience.
- What you want your target audience to do.
It is important to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were a customer coming to your website, what would you appreciate most about the site? What would frustrate you the most? What questions are you seeking answers? Brainstorming on some of these topics while designing your website will put you on the right track.
Once you have done that, the next thing is to look at the raw data and see what people are currently doing on your website. What actions are they currently completing and where in your website are they spending the most time. The objective is to see to it that your website fits the needs of your customers.
Now that you have understood your customers. The next thing is to improve on the shortcomings of your website. Think of all the things that you would like to improve on your website.
As a rule of thumb, concentrate on improving the things that have the most impact. Follow the 80:20 rule (of the Pareto principle) which states that only 20% of your action could result in 80% improvement. Don't be anxious about implementing a lot of things at once or too quickly. You should take one thing at a time so that you will be able to know what works and what doesn't.
Once you have identified the needs of your customers and identified the few vital areas that you think need to be treated with priority, the next step is to create a launch pad website. A launch pad website allows companies to quickly launch and test along the way. This gives you a chance to observe what your visitors want and make better decisions based on the feedback, helping you to avoid a scenario where you have to make assumptions.
Next is testing. This is the most important part of GDD because it helps you to recognise what is working and what is not. The following are checklist items you need to bear in mind while testing your website:
- Usefulness of the content of the website. Sometimes, not everything in the website is useful. Identify the most useful content and take advantage of it. Likewise, purge out what is not useful.
- Ease of use. Customers will always prefer sites that are easy to use. Remember, when the customer is unhappy because your website is not user-friendly, the chances are that you will not see that customer again—no repeat customers.
- Conversion optimisation. Your conversion rate optimisation goals shouldn't come at the expense of the user experience. Eliminate all possible points of friction between the users and the intended conversions.
- Personalisation. Ensure that each visitor feels they are in the right place and at the right time.
As you try to grow your audience, please don't ignore the aforementioned values. These values should be at the centre of any GDD.
Phase 2: Iterative Improvement
As we have mentioned several times, continuous improvement and development is the pillar of GDD. It is important that you look at your raw data and identify areas you would like to improve. To do this, you need to do collaborate with all people involved in the process and make a decision on what metric you would like to improve. Thus, maintaining communication with your associate in various departments is critical.
Once you have identified the specific areas of improvement, simply go ahead and make the changes.
Growth-Driven Design beats traditional design in every aspect because it mitigates most, if not all, risks associated with traditional design. Traditional design is more expensive, takes long and your website might go on for several years without being updated. That is exactly what GDD seeks to correct. By embracing GDD, you are ensured that your website never becomes obsolete and that your user experience is always great. This is done by continuous monitoring and evaluation of the site’s performance.
You will learn how to:
Increase opportunity to improve your site's performance in search
Create a launch strategy for your website redesign project
Secure your place in the search engines and not to lose rankings
Pro tip: Developing a launch strategy for a website re-design will help you keep and increase your rankings