Growth Driven Design – The Best Way to Develop a New Website
Jan 15, 2020
The traditional approach to website development has been around for a long time. But depending on what you need your website to do for you, there may be a better way to revitalize your online brand hub.
We sometimes use a broken playbook for designing and developing websites.
For most businesses, a website is one of their most important assets. Unfortunately, they often get neglected because they can be a little bit complex to update and improve (even in today’s age of do-it-yourself website builders).
This is why most websites only get updated every three or four years; because the process of doing so is expensive, time consuming, stressful, and doesn’t always leave you with the end result you had in mind.
The traditional model for businesses keeping their website up to date looks something like this:
- Hire an agency or freelancer to design and/or develop your website
- Strategize and plan
- Design and develop the site as close to perfect as possible
- Launch after several months of development
- Wait a few years and hope your investment pays off
- Rinse and repeat
While the traditional method for website design may work for some businesses, we’ve learned that there are some major drawbacks to this strategy that we can avoid.
Drawbacks to the one-off traditional model:
- Large up-front cost
- Higher chance of going over budget and past the timeline
- More risk of not getting what you want
- More risk that the site won’t do what you need it to
- Set it and forget it mentality
- Less opportunity (more costly) to test, edit, and revise
Growth driven design is the future of website development.
One of our favorite books at UpRoute is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. His basic philosophy is to seek continuous growth by utilizing the Build-Measure-Learn cycle.
The Build-Measure-Learn cycle looks something like this… First you generate new ideas (hypotheses), build a minimum viable product (MVP), collect data and measure, learn from the results, and then use those results to generate new ideas – and the cycle goes on and on.
Growth driven design is very much a similar process. What we want to do here is extend the development process and use modern web technologies to test what really works for your website and helps you generate results for your business.
Here are a few of the benefits to going this route:
- It costs you less up front and is easier to afford over the long term
- You’re not pausing marketing activities while you’re redesigning the website
- It allows you to adjust and course correct as you go
- Gives you access to a growth-driven team throughout the entire engagement
- You enhance your entire integrated marketing initiative with the web as a focal point
What does growth driven design look like?
Everything we do starts with strategy. It’s the critical first step that makes all the difference as we move forward with the development process. During this time, we lay the foundation by discovering the main objectives and refining the focus for what’s to come.
We dig into the biggest problems in the business so we can make a plan that achieves the results you want and need. Some of the items we work through might include conducting user research, building user personas, creating a user journey map, and developing hypotheses to test against.
Minimum Viable Website (MVW)
Instead of building and launching a website with all the bells and whistles, and then praying it works for the next few years, we develop an initial “minimum viable website” that we can publish quickly to start gathering user feedback.
We still want this MVW to look amazing and capture the essence of your brand, but we want to leave out some of the extraneous details that we can instead implement over time.
What we want here is to fail fast – meaning we want to quickly learn what does and doesn’t work and make agile changes that get you to your goals faster.
Updates + Continuous Growth
After launching, the data collection begins. At this point, we need to collect enough data to make informed decisions – which may take a little bit of time depending on how much traffic your website typically receives. But, once we gather enough information we can begin the process of analyzing which features can be changed, removed, or added.
We’ll continuously monitor data like organic traffic, bounce rates, average time on page, behavioral flow, user heatmaps, user feedback, and more to gain insight on actionable metrics that we can use to make meaningful updates.
Data driven design is for companies that are focused on staying relevant in their market.
We learn new things every day, and one of the most important things we’ve learned is that a website should never stop evolving if you want to keep using it to grow as an organization. This is true for any business that uses its website to generate new leads, make online sales, or continuously raise awareness for an ever-growing brand.
What we’ve come to find, is that we see the best results when we’re allowed an extended period of time to strategize, design, develop, test, and revise what a website is capable of doing for a company. What I’m talking about is a feedback driven development process that leaves you with a website that has been proven by data to work for you and your business.
What to take away.
Taking on an entire website redesign project all at once may not always be the best course of action. If you’re looking to continue evolving as a company, it’s probably smarter for you to break out your website development into a phased engagement or monthly retainer that you can handle – allowing you to build and grow over time.
Don’t just cross your fingers and hope that a new website delivers measurable business improvement over the next three years. That’s a very risky way to develop a new site. Growth driven design is a more proactive way to ensure success on the web.