You’re probably used to the process of launching a website redesign: You pick your favorite design agency, tell them what you want, pick a new style, and away you go. This highly annoying, shoot in the dark process normally takes three months. It will take a lot more time if you agree to take on some of the content work, because you won’t have the time for that.This old, traditional website redesign playbook is totally dead. Here’s why it’s dead:
- Expectations are miss-aligned or never stated. You may have some hopes for business growth, you’re designer may have some ideas, but not only are they never stated, no one really knows what to expect anyway. There are no metrics, no lead intelligence, no trends research, and no plan for future changes or adjustments to the website.
- The new website starts to depreciate as soon as you drive it out the door. Sounds like a new car, doesn’t it? Static, traditional websites build website traffic for a little while, but then they begin to grow stale. So then after a year or two, maybe three, you contract for another redesign and the cycle begins all over again.
- The traditional website design model is too expensive. You pay it all upfront and, worse, have no idea of the marketing ROI you should achieve. It becomes like the electric bill—something you just have to pay for.
Growth-Driven Design fixes these issues and more. Your website will be built with good goals at the start, and continually improved so that it never grows stale. Here’s how to get going:
A good website is all about the end user, not your company. While it’s vital to accurately portray who you are and what you do, none of those things will create a sale until someone comes along, likes what they see, and engages with you. A Growth-Drive Design (GDD) begins with plan of action, a strategy.
Step 1: Goals
What are your goals and what do you want to achieve with your website? How well has your current website performed? What do you think is missing or important? How much do you want your website to improve your marketing efforts?
Step 2: Personas
A good website should be designed to attract one person: your ideal customer. Who is that? What might attract them when they come to your website? What might turn them off?
Step 3: Website Analytics Audit
Here’s where looking at data is important. We normally head over to Google Analytics and look at other data you may have. We’ll want to try to determine stickiness—how much users are clicking on things or not, and what pages are performing well.
Step 4: Qualitative User Research
One of the very cool tools we use to collect user actions and intent, is HotJar. Once HotJar is connected to your website, it’s possible to track user actions and see where they are engaging or leaving your website.
Armed with user data, it’s easy to make changes that will enhance user experience (UX), keep visitors engaged longer, and thus increase visitors-to-leads conversion rates.
Step 5: Fundamental Quantitative Assumptions
From the data you’ve gathered so far, it’s now possible to engage in predictive assumptions about your visitors.
Here are some sample assumptions:
- Attractiveness of page titles, page content, graphics, calls-to-actions.
- The kinds of devices being used to access your site.
- What percentage of users are scrolling past the fold of each page. (Each page should tell one particular story. What percentage of visitors finish each story?)
- The types of information users are reading and clicking on.
These assumptions will help you further refine your key persona and better help to improve the return from Growth-Driven Design enhancements further down the road.
Step 6: Overall Website Strategy and Individual Page Strategy
Here, we're looking for an overall mission statement for the website. For example: "The mission of XYZ Company's website is to give visitors searching about (your industry) the best visual and educational experience possible."
All of the previous steps will pour into developing this strategy. Remember, not only does the website need to tell your story, each page does also; each page tells a smaller part of your whole story. Here, having visitor intelligence is vital—what visitors are looking for, what tends to engage them or turn them off, and what will lead them to interact with you.
Step 7: Brainstorming What’s Really Important and What’s Not
At this stage of the GDD process, we like to compile a wish list of website needs and features. This list can be long—perhaps over 100 items.
Here’s where it’s possible to get stuck in old habits or ideas. Your old website is probably nothing more than brochure ware—an online version of a printed brochure. A GDD website is designed not only to market your products, but to attract visitors and get them to connect with you, where they become customers.
The brainstorming process can contain concepts such as:
- The most impactful pages of the website.
- Marketing assets such as all the components of conversion paths.
- “Tech” features, widgets, high-end functionality.
- Design for UX.
- Globalization elements.
After several hours of brainstorming with your team, you’ve have a long list. All of the items on your list can go into the new website, but not all at once, and not all right away. It is, however, important to state which items do need to be implemented right away, and which ones can be bucketed into strategic, future roll-outs. The future roll-outs will add to the GDD plan for keeping your website fresh.
Step 8: Launch Pad Website
In traditional website design, once a website is launched, it’s finished. In GDD, when it’s launched, it’s just beginning.
The “Launch Pad Website” forms the basis of everything that is to come. When the Launch Pad Website goes live, it’s not complete. Nor is it perfect, as no website ever is. It will contain the elements of any good website, and it will function much better than your old website. This website is the starting point for continuous improvement.
What we can do that’s an easy, often logical, and often affordable path to take, is to migrate your entire existing site to the Hubspot COS. Whether we do this option or not will depend on the age and condition of your current website. From there, we can fix a lot of things that are not working, or killing your SEO, or fixing things like responsive, and we can do these tasks very quickly. In this case, the migration serves as the Launch Pad Website, saving the effort of a redesign from the very beginning. If you think this might be an option for you, we can do a quick analysis of your current site to help you get started.
At this stage, the Growth-Driven Design has just begun. Now is not the time to relax. After the Launch Pad Website goes live, it’s time to:
- Prioritize your wish list and which items should be implemented and in which order on your website.
- Create hypotheses on each action item to drive higher conversion rates.
- Set up enhanced metrics to track user BX.
- Set up a schedule for continuous improvement.
- Fine-tune the needs of personas, review how the website is performing right now against specific goals.
- Set priorities of key buckets such as, conversion rates, user experience, and marketing assets.
Hopefully these steps will get you going in a direction that will transform your website into the lead-generating machine it can be.
GDD is a new, revolutionary concept in web design. Please share your thoughts and comments in the field below!