What are the benefits of a Growth Driven approach to web design? We explore how GDD works and why should you consider it for your next web project.
Understanding Growth Driven Design
Are you happy with your website? Is it working the way it should; i.e. does it provide a clear user experience and offer clear value to visitors? Is it aligned to suit your user’s behaviour, and can you analyse, evaluate and react appropriately to your website analytics to maintain a great, optimised site?
When you first invested in your website, the answer may well have been ‘yes’.
However, as sales, marketing and SEO evolve, websites are subject to constant change. As part of a fast-moving industry, you need a website that can adapt, is dynamic and can quickly deliver on new requirements.
Rethinking Traditional Web Design
Unfortunately, traditional web design processes (which may take place just once every few years, and require lengthy specification and build times) are often not reactive enough to achieve this reactivity. Equally, such projects can be expensive, requiring large up-front budgets for a site that may slip out of scope by the go-live date.
Growth Driven Design (GDD) however, rethinks traditional web design processes. GDD is a retainer-based web design methodology that works to produce better results through data-backed planning and continuous improvement, rather than launching a full-scale site entirely on assumption. With costs spread out and enhanced flexibility, web design can be shaped to better fit business goals.
Starting with an initial launch pad site, GDD allows month-on-month agility and measured adaptation rather than the lengthy design intervals that traditional methods present.
According to Luke Summerfield’s State of Inbound presentation 2016, when asked “How often do you make impactful improvements to your website?” 23% of respondents only updated their website at redesign, which is on average every 2-3 years. As we know, things move at a fast pace and 2 years is a long time to expect a website to remain current.
Benefits of Implementing Growth Driven Design
Implementing a GDD website provides 3 crucial benefits:
GDD minimises risk. Traditional website design can carry high initial costs, substantial time investments and can be complex to adapt quickly. A GDD website, however, can be launched quickly (a basic ‘launch pad’ site is often up within a few weeks to a month. Following this, additional monthly adjustments can be made (based on business priorities and user data). This means costs can be spread over time, allowing you to make data-driven, business-aligned decisions about the direction of your site - rather than paying one sum, then waiting months for a version that may have become outmoded.
GDD allows for continuous learning and improvement. Traditional web design is often based on assumption; about how users will engage, what features will resonate, how effectively the site will convert etc. Traditional builds also tend to lack scope for regular review and optimisation. GDD however is based on user insight - and works to continually test, adapt and evolve a site each month for continuous improvement; resulting in a measurable, high-performance website.
GDD shares user insight with marketing and sales. Insights gained from web user behaviour can be made accessible to both marketing and sales teams; enabling alignment across the business, for real-time strategic decisions on sales and marketing improvement.
Clear Structures for GDD
The GDD methodology follows three defined phases: Strategy, Launch Pad and Continuous Improvement.
The Strategy phase starts with the development of a clear strategy, as you would with a classic web design project. The first step is to define your goals and determine what you want to achieve with your new website. But, remember with GDD, your design is based on data rather than assumption; so this phase also includes extensive evaluation of what your audience is looking for and how your website can solve problems along their journey.
Building on your strategy, the Launch Pad phase is designed to put a site in place that looks and performs better than what you currently have in place - but that isn’t the final product. This Launch Pad site is the foundation from which you’ll expand, grow and improve, based on data, month by month.
This phase starts by creating a Wish List; outlining ideas and items that will help to achieve the objectives in your strategy. Now, while you may have hundreds of ideas, features and other site elements on this list - with plenty of direction from sales and marketing - the goal is to be able to prioritise:
Once you have your list, take an 80/20 of the wish list, to identify the 20% of actionable items that will bring 80% impact to your site visitors.
Look at the 20%, and ask yourself: “Is this a must have or a nice to have?” Anything Next, review that 20% and assess if it is crucial to include, or just ‘nice to have’. If it’s not an urgent priority, keep it on the wish list for future consideration.
Once you have a priority list, review again and make sure all items are a priority. Anything left can be moved to the continuous optimisation phase.
Once your launch pad site is live and you’re collecting data on your visitors, the third phase is a continuous improvement strategy that allows you to tweak and continually refine your site through a regular 4 step agile optimisation process:
4 Step Agile Optimisation Cycle For Continuous Improvement
Plan: The planning step begins by focusing on a goal metric that you want to improve. Identify priority wishlist items that will help to improve this metric. Close communication between marketing and sales will be required to ensure your wish list, content and goals are met.
Build: This is the ‘get things done’ phase, when you build the priority items identified in planning. Continual checks are important here to ensure goals and measurements are being achieved.
Learn: Regular review and analysis is a key part to optimisation. Has what was implemented achieved the desired effect? Learn from the results to gain a deeper insight into the next optimisation cycle, and to see what’s working.
Transfer: Share the result and what you’ve learned about your audience and customers with everyone within your company (marketing, sales, services etc). Cross-collaboration is important to keep the wider business aligned towards the same goals.
After this, the next step is to repeat - and start a new development cycle. As your business evolves through data-driven optimisation, you will find that your GDD website is not only measurable, but outperforms your previous website.
No Website is Perfect!
A Growth Driven Design website is the antithesis of a traditionally designed website. Though no website is ever ‘perfect’ forever, with classic web design, the goal is to launch every aspect of a site (regardless of how business crucial it is) at once, then often, leave it for years before redevelopment.
However with Growth Driven Design, it’s important to remember that the website will not be 100% complete for the launch - allowing you to inch closer to the best website possible, rather than cross your fingers and hope that your traditionally implemented site is relevant six months post-launch.
Make Your Website Your Most Effective Marketing Tool
A Growth Driven Design website reflects the Inbound marketing methodology by being educational, informative and by providing solutions to your audience’s challenges.
With GDD you will continually learn more about the needs of your visitors, be able to optimise your website on a regular basis and as a result, provide an even better user experience for ever-increasing value.
An original version of this post was first published on Trialta. Trialta are a Gold HubSpot Partner Agency based in Germany.