Growth Driven Design: A Better Way to Remake Websites

One of the worst feelings when running an online business is, “I hate my website”. Depending on who you are, this feeling can come up every 6 months, 6 weeks, or 6 minutes. These thoughts are often unfounded and are influenced mainly of a fear that something on the website should be better. Of course, it could always be better, but that’s not usually what happens. It’s difficult to claim that website redesigns are not improvements, but they are definitely not efficient. That’s what a new web redesign methodology addresses. Let me introduce you to Growth Driven Design.

If you have gone through a web redesign project, you know it is often full of headaches – delayed launches, over spending, unexpected bugs, and after all this you end up with a new website that looks better, but you aren’t sure if it will actually market your product better than your old one.

The reason for this is in the word – website redesign. We tend to look at websites like miniature art projects with lots of bells and whistles and the need for it to look cool. As I have written about in the past, it’s more important for your website to be functional rather than mind blowing. The purpose of your business website is to market your product or service and that should be the most important consideration. Not upgrading your look to Web 2.whatever.

The Growth Driven Design methodology is based on the idea of continuous improvement and comprises of two separate stages.

Stage 1: Planning and the Launchpad Website

The first stage of Growth Driven Design is to really hash out what your website aims to do. First, you will need to nail down your personas if you haven’t already, and then assess what their needs and goals are when they go to your website. Then you need to qualify these assessments by doing research with your current visitors and clients to validate their needs and goals. This gives us the information we need in determining what the core function of your website is for your clients.

Second, it is time to brainstorm a wish list of items you want to include on your site. Each of these items should either provide value to get visitors, help market your product, or improve the user experience of your website. It is important to not hold back in this step. Stop worrying about cost and time, this is going to be a master list of all ideas, good, bad, and crazy, that can help your website become the marketing powerhouse it should be.

Hopefully, you will have a huge list after this step. Of course, all this stuff is going to take lifetimes to implement, so evaluate them based on the impact they will most likely have on your visitors. In this step, you need to look at your assumptions and gathered data to help educate your decisions.

Once you narrow down the list to the top 10% or 20% that will have the highest impact, it is time to start the launchpad site.

A launchpad website is not a site that is bare bones and tiny, not even close! It is a fully functional, good looking website that serves the basics of its function plus the 20% high impact items from your wishlist. The reason we call it a launchpad is because it will not be as large as your old site. Instead, it will serve as a stage for the next phase of Growth Driven Design while still accomplishing everything your website does. And since it also incorporates the top high impact items from your wishlist, it should have immediate results.

Stage 2: Plan, Develop, Learn, Transfer

Stage 2 is all about the Growth Driven Design cycle. This is the meat and potatoes of the whole methodology. So, after we have the launchpad website, we are ready to start iterating on it and making it the best website for your business it can be.  

In this phase, we go through the wishlist and decide which ones are the most important and have the highest impact. We do this every month to create our plan for the month. As we continue with the process, we will also be evaluating our past actions using CRO, analytics, and other monitoring tools to measure people’s involvement. From this data, we should be able to see what was effective and what can be improved (and how).

Breaking it down, we Plan what we are going to do based on data, needs, assumptions, and purpose of the website. We then Develop and carry out these actions – building and evolving the launchpad website. After that, we Learn from data and research how our visitors have responded to the changes and what effects they had. We then Transfer this knowledge in a two-way dialogue with other departments. We want to share and confirm what we know and we want to work closely with other departments so we can learn from them and get everyone on board.

Is Growth Driven Design Right for me?

Growth Drive Design is a great process which turns your static website into a living, breathing thing. It is a process guided by marketing and not designers. Work is based on actionable, measurable, goals whose function is constantly being evaluated. The main caveat is that for Growth Driven Design to be as effective as it can be, your website will need to already have around 5000 visitors a month or around 100 visitors a day.

Besides this, Growth Driven Design is a process which puts the focus on what your website needs to do, not how it should look. Compared to the traditional model, Growth Driven Design manages time better by focusing on the most impactful and important parts of the website rather than the whole thing at once. And since your website is a living thing under Growth Driven Design, the upfront cost is much lower and spread over time. While the total costs could eventually total more than the traditional model, Growth Driven Design can prove its ROI (return on investment), something that the traditional model never can.