Let's be honest. Building a new website sucks! Sure, it starts out fun when you get to see new design concepts but that's typically where the fun stops abruptly. It can take months to build out the site and get it up on a content management system. After that, the hard part starts. And in our experience, this is the part that can literally take months to complete - getting content into the site. It sucks! A lot.
There are pages in your new sitemap that need brand new content and you're not a writer. The copy on your site should probably be revised but you don't have time to go through it and even if you did, how would you revise it? You may have thought of a new feature you'd like to add, but development is done now so you're a day late and a dollar short. All your URLs were changed from the old site and, in spite of a lot of 301 redirects, you've lost some organic traffic and are at the mercy of Google. Now you're starting to regret the six-month-long project and you're not looking forward to the next time you need to do this. Sound familiar?
This is such a common scenario that at least part of it must resonate with you if you've embarked upon a website rebuild in the last decade. It's 2016 people; there must be a better way to build a website! I'm happy to say that yes, there is a much better way to build a website and that way is called growth-driven design.
Growth-Driven Design to the Rescue
Imagine launching a brand new site in 4 weeks. You'd get to see those spiffy new designs and get 'em out into the world really fast! Then imagine getting new features in, copy changes, new pages, slight homepage tweaks, new CTAs and other changes each month after that. That would be pretty awesome, right? Especially if all that work was data-driven and purposely done to get you more leads or more sales! That's growth-driven design and that's what makes it so great! It starts with a launch pad site and is followed up with monthly prioritized work based on what we're seeing happening on the site. A standard engagement is divided into three primary phases.
1. Launch and Learn
This is the phase where we build a new launch pad site and get it out the door as quickly as possible. At MINDSCAPE we do this by leveraging the investment you've already made in your current site. We use your existing sitemap/structure and existing content but wrap it in a brand new, responsive design and get it out the door. We do our absolute best to keep your URLs the same, helping to reduce or eliminate any SEO loss that typically occurs with a brand new site.
This approach is very effective at keeping your pages from losing search ranking, and eliminates the months-long process of gathering content. We do all the work for you and get it out the door very quickly. Why do we want to do this quickly? Because our goal is learn about your visitors so that we can make modifications to the site to increase visits, leads, and customers!
Once the launch pad site is out the door, we immediately begin monitoring the performance. We look at quantitative data like bounce rates and conversion rates, but we also gather qualitative data from your actual visitors. We work on creating buyer personas for your target audience and use all this to create a strategy for improving the site.
Finally, we create an action items list that becomes a living document informed by your business wants & needs, as well as by our data-based insights and recommendations. We will add new page recommendations to this list, maybe some new interactive tool ideas, copy changes, navigation and information architecture changes, or any other change that we feel will improve the performance of the site and get you more leads. This list sets us up to improve the site month over month.
3. Continuous Improvement
With our action item list in hand, we sit down with you each month to prioritize the work and review the impact of work from previous months. What we learn helps to fine-tune our buyer personas, which can then inform your marketing team and sales people. The more we learn, the better we can match our messaging and development efforts with your audience's needs and expectations. Your site grows and changes very deliberately, based on real data and feedback from your visitors. Sounds cool, huh?
Clear as a Bell Summary
Growth-Driven Design takes the benefits of Agile Development and merges it together with data-driven marketing. It allows you to have a new website much more quickly than a traditional web development process and it ensures that the site doesn't sit stagnate for years while your visitors seek out competitors. Growth-Driven Design focuses development efforts on the most important part of your site - your visitors - and aims to get you more and more leads through continuous improvement.
If you're interesting in learning more about GDD, I invite you to download our free eBook that discusses the process in detail. And if I've convinced you that this process sounds like something you'd like to try, let's talk!