If you’re currently desperate for a new website, but doing everything you can to avoid starting the process, well, I don’t blame you. The words “website design” are enough to strike fear in the hearts of any sensible marketer or business owner – websites are always way more work and take way more time than they’re supposed to, and they can take a pretty sizeable bite out of your budget to boot.

But the process doesn’t have to be so painful. There’s a trick that will cut down the amount of work, time, and money needed AND deliver a much higher-performing website. Seriously.

The secret lies in an approach known as growth-driven design.

It might sound too good to be true, but bear with me. I’m going to give you the full rundown on why growth-driven design beats the traditional website design hands down, and how it works.

But first things first:

What is growth-driven design?

When you think about it, traditional website design is a high-risk bet with terrible odds. You’re investing all this time (usually around 3 months) and all this money (usually between $15,000–$80,000) upfront, but in the end most of the decisions are largely based on guesswork and untested assumptions that may not actually pan out. Then, after all that, you just sit back, cross your fingers, and hope the website will do its job.

Meanwhile, the website sits there for maybe two or even three years, steadily collecting cobwebs and getting increasingly outdated by the minute until the time comes for its next major overhaul. And the entire tedious process repeats itself ad nauseam.

This seems an odd way to treat one of your most important marketing and sales assets, don’t you think?

Growth-driven design (or GDD) turns all this on its head, by:

  • Minimising the risks of late delivery and blown-out costs
  • Producing better results through learning and continuous improvement
  • Ensuring the entire business reaps the benefits of user learnings by encouraging more collaboration between departments, particularly sales and marketing

Here’s how it works in a nutshell (though I’ll go into more details about the various stages): rather than a lengthy 3-month build, as is the case with traditional website design, a bare-essentials website is built and launched in just one month. Once the website is live, ongoing data analysis on how the website is performing, in real-time and based on actual users, is then fed back into the website in regular sprints. This means the website constantly improves and adapts to current conditions and markets.

The result? A much higher-impacting website in a fraction of the time.

Growth driven design vs traditional design

Source: Hubspot

Why is growth-driven design better than traditional website design?

As you can probably already start to see, there are many advantages to a GDD approach:

  • It’s super flexible: Because you’re constantly updating the website, you can be highly responsive to changes in trends.

This is how flexible your website will be with a GDD approach.

  • It dramatically reduces time to launch: No longer do you need to endlessly obsess about things like whether the call-to-action should be on the right or left – you can just make a quick decision, test it, and change it later if your hypothesis was wrong. And, in the meantime, your website is already working for you.
  • It spreads out the investment over time: Rather than a hefty upfront cost, which can be hard on your bottom line, the cost is instead paid in much more manageable monthly increments.
  • It’s data-driven – so you know it works: Stop praying to the marketing gods and instead use cold, hard user data to improve your website and get better results every month continuously. Not to mention, tracking ROI will be a breeze.
  • It can inform your marketing and sales strategies: The way in which users use your website not only tells you how to improve the website – it also gives invaluable data on how users behave, what resonates with them and what doesn’t, all of which can be fed right back into your overall marketing and sales strategies.
  • You can put learnings into the website almost immediately: It works both ways – not only can your website inform your strategy, but any insights you gain from other campaigns can also be applied to the website. This exchange of learning can help to facilitate collaboration between departments.
  • It puts you lightyears ahead of competitors: Your website will progress in leaps and bounds compared to the stagnant sites of your competitors, framing you as an industry leader in the eyes of your users.
  • You’ll end up with an amazing website: While no website is perfect, with GDD, you’ll keep inching ever closer to that pinnacle, rather than simply having to put up with a website that’s far from it.

How does growth-driven design work?

GDD is typically done in three stages: strategy, launch pad and continuous improvement.

Stage 1: Strategy

The first stage is about building a solid foundation for your website. This includes setting out your goals and objectives for the website and putting together comprehensive buyer personas that give you a deep understanding of your users’ motivations and pain points.

If you already have a website, this stage will also include a detailed website audit, which will give you key information about where your users are currently coming from, how users are interacting with your site, and why they’re engaging or dropping off.

After all this information gathering, it’s time to brainstorm a wish list of every feature and function you’d want the website to have. Once you have your list, perform an 80/20 analysis – that is, determine which 20% of your wishlist will deliver 80% of the impact.

The list can then be whittled down further by determining which of those features and functions are must-haves, and which are just nice-to-haves that can wait for the next monthly sprint cycle. What’s left will make up the framework of your first iteration of your new website.

Stage 2: Launch pad

The second stage is where you build and launch your website (typically the final step in the traditional website design process). This is where the standard work that comes with any website design comes in, including things like:

  • Designing the content and messages
  • Information architecture
  • Wireframing and design
  • Programming and development
  • Simple UX testing

The idea is to quickly launch a highly functioning website in a relatively short amount of time, so you can get the site into users’ hands and start collecting data.

While this valuable data is being gathered, there’s no reason to sit on your hands – you can immediately start monitoring the performance of the site, looking at things like organic traffic, heatmaps and bounce rates, and making immediate updates based on initial user feedback.

Stage 3: Continuous improvement

This is the stage that truly differentiates GDD from traditional website design and where you start to turn all that user data into updates that will turn your website into a lead-converting machine.

This is done in monthly sprint cycles in which you go through the following four steps: plan, build, learn and transfer.

  1. Plan: To decide what you’d like to accomplish in this month’s sprint cycle, compare your performance against the goals you outlined in Stage 1, identify any items on your nice-to-have wishlist that could be initiated, and consult with marketing and sales to see if any new learnings could be applied (for example, if a recent blog post on a certain topic particularly resonated with users, this might influence the messaging on the website).

  2. Build: Once you’ve got your plan, it’s time to implement it. Don’t forget to set up validation tracking codes to measure success metrics and develop marketing campaigns to drive traffic to the new pages and features.

  3. Learn: Here’s where you ask, have the changes achieved the desired effect? And what have we learned about the user? Review all the data to help you decide whether or not your hypotheses have been confirmed.

  4. Transfer: This is where you share what you’ve learned with the rest of the company, particularly sales and marketing, to ensure the entire business continues working towards the same objectives.

Don’t let one of your most important marketing and sales assets grow stagnant. With a growth-driven design approach, you’ll quickly develop a website that is, as Tyra Banks would say, next-level fierce!

Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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