Remember the last time you redesigned your website? How long did that process take and how pleasant was it? If you're like most, chances are the project took far more time and money than you care to remember! Did the site perform better? Did it get you more leads, more sales or increase your margins? I sincerely hope it did, and congratulate you on being in the minority if that is the case!
Over Budget and Under Performing
So why do these projects take so long, cost so much, and not really perform much better than the old site? In almost all cases, it's because we expect to build and launch the best website possible. We sit back and think about the end product: a website that is sleek, beautifully designed, responsive, and tells our story. It sounds amazing and is quite exciting at first. It's for sure going to perform better than our existing site! We see the new designs and we move our content over, or in rare cases, maybe we write all new copy. We add some lead capture forms and present the site to the world. Boom!
Can you hear the crickets?
Very few leads come in. Or maybe about the same amount as before. But how can that be? We just spent thousands of dollars on a new site and there's no measuable impact on our leads. That doesn't seem like a great investment. So what the heck happened? After all that work, why couldn't we launch the BEST performing website?
You Can't Launch the Best Website
It's all a guess. You can't actually build and launch the best performing website. Yep, you read it right. After all the design work, the copy changes, the information architecture, user path plans, form designs, and everything else, it all boils down to one thing: it's all a best guess. All good agencies have a wealth of experience and know what usually works online. But every company, every persona, every value proposition is different and can require subtle changes to copy, visuals, and placement to ensure the experience matches expectations, which results in the best performing website.
Finding the exact things to tweak is a bit of an art and a science, so how CAN we build the best website?
Process, Not Project
Building the best website requires you launch fast, learn fast, and change. We have to rethink website design and approach it as a process rather than a project. It doesn't matter how good the team is, any new website design is based on educated guesses and those guesses need to be tracked and reported on. Do you think changing button color from blue to red will increase click-through-rates? Change it. Measure it. Report on it. Did it have the effect you intended? If so, move on to another piece of the site. If not, try again. This is a process, not a project.
Small, iterative changes help you to see what works for your visitors, for your products or services, and on your website. You would be surprised at how drastically a few words can change a conversion rate or the color and placement of a button can impact click-through-rate. These small, iterative changes are critical to building the best website and should be incorporated into the scope of the process. That's exactly what a website engagement based on a Growth-Driven Design approach offers. Launching quickly, learning, and fine-tuning the site to be the absolute best lead-generating machine!
Clear as a Bell Summary
How do you build the best website? You can't. Just like in school when we used to have to complete two rough drafts (in pencil) before turning in our final version, building the best-performing website is an iterative process. Don't let perfect (which is still just a guess) be the enemy of good. Launching and learning will get you better results in the long run and ultimately, that's the end goal!