Hitting the ‘live’ button on your brand new website is always an exciting time. The world is going to see all of the hard work your team has put in and it helps to set you apart from the competition. With Growth-Driven Design, that’s the ‘easy’ part done. Now, it’s all about collecting and analysing data so you can continue to make impactful changes so that your website always has value for your users and remains ahead of the curve. In the continuous improvement stage of GDD, it’s recommended that you use a framework called the Website Performance Roadmap.
Within that, there are three themes to dive into - establish, optimise and expand. Continue reading to find out exactly happens in the optimise theme and soak in some useful tips you and your team can also use.
This blog post is part of a three-post series. If you want to know more about the establish theme of the Website Performance Roadmap in the GDD process then click here. Alternatively, click here to get more information on the expand theme.
A Quick Explanation on Why Themes are Used in the Website Performance Roadmap
The Website Performance Roadmap is a framework used to build a peak performing website. You’ll need to use it to provide a focus, set expectations and then measure progress to goals. In this framework, your focus is going to be on themes, focus areas and tactics. Each element is nested under the previous one to create some sort of a decision tree.
By doing this and focusing on all of the different focus areas in each theme, you’re optimising each stage of the GDD Website Performance Roadmap hierarchy. In turn, you’re effectively optimising your website and setting it up for much better success as you use this framework to measure progress.
Remember, this is the framework you use once you’ve made your launch pad website live and is used in the continuous improvement phase of the GDD process.
What is the Optimise Theme?
The optimise theme revolves around the user experience and the performance of your brand new website for the business. It’s all about analysing the stats and data you collect as more users are on the website. This allows you to make those relevant amends during the continuous improvement stage.
What Happens in the Optimise Theme?
In the optimise theme, your team will lean into user experience and user value. Once that’s been done, they’ll then slowly and carefully integrate user-friendly ways to interact with and nurture the users on your website. This is so that you can achieve the business goals that you outlined in the strategy phase of the GDD process.
There’s something important here for you to remember, though. Improving user experience and improving business performance aren’t always aligned. There’s a fine line between the two so it’s important your team focuses on both equally and doesn’t go ‘all in’ on one instead of the other. Your website needs to be crafted in such a way that it’s excelling in the user experience area but it’s also helping to achieve company goals. Not one or the other.
Once the optimisation has been set, the three focus areas that need to be looked at during the sprint cycles are usability, conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and personalisation. Let’s get into each one.
The Goal of the Usability Focus Area
The goal of the usability focus area is to ensure that your website is intuitive, inviting and that users find it very easy to use. It should also help users solve their problems, answer their questions and unlock the value as soon as possible.
This is why it’s important to follow this framework. If you’ve completed the value focus area during the establish theme, then your team will already know that users are finding value in the majority of items on your website. Here, the focus area revolves around the speed in which they find that value.
Any focus area is a chance for your team to dig deep into a particular area so that they can take it to the next level. In this instance, your team will be looking for ways in which they can improve the usability of your website and take that to a new level.
The Focus Metric
The focus metric here is the percentage of users landing on a specific page after completing a desired action. Usability is measured differently depending on a certain goal that the user has for visiting a particular area. So, you need to understand why the user came there and what they wanted to accomplish.
Every page on the website will have its own desired action that you or the strategist you’ve placed in charge will need to set. It’s the only way your team can measure completions and they do this by creating custom event reports and building a trigger around the desired user actions. All of the items that are built in this focus area contribute towards the percentage of users completing the desired task.
To help you with this, here are three example tactics to consider when you’re in the usability focus area, courtesy of GDD Founder Luke Summerfield himself.
Usability Focus Area: Tactic Examples
Tactic Example One: The first tactic example you can use is to reduce the learning curve by designing interfaces that are already familiar to your users.
Here, you should do some research on apps and websites that your personas use daily and then run experiments to mimic similar interface elements and see what changes then.
Tactic Example Two: Next, your team should run user testing on some key tasks. By doing this, you’re able to uncover the specific areas in which users are struggling to complete desired tasks.
You’ll be looking for patterns in the user tests and they’ll be validated by watching live user recordings to see if they match. This helps to identify the confusion your users are having and you can implement the ideas in the next sprint cycle.
Tactic Example Three: Simply the website. The more users are having to think and hesitate, the less likely they are to complete desired tasks on your website.
Your team should always be thinking about which elements they can remove while maintaining value. When you see a dip in performance, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.
The Goal of the CRO Focus Area
The goal of the CRO focus area is to eliminate any friction points and reduce the number of steps it takes for a user to enter the funnel and complete the end-of-funnel conversion event. By doing this, your team is also fixing the ‘stickiness’ issue by putting practices into place to ensure visitors come back to solve their pain points.
The Focus Metric
The focus metric for CRO under the optimise theme is rather straightforward. Your team needs to measure the percentage of users that are entering the top of the funnel and are successfully converting at the bottom of the funnel.
There’s always a chance that a user may enter in the middle of the funnel. If that’s the case, then the reports need to be adjusted to reflect that to avoid any inaccuracies.
Although there are plenty of CRO tactics that can be used, below are some of the most common ones that have been tried and tested.
CRO Focus Area: Tactic Examples
Tactic Example One: Segment the users in your funnel so you can all understand who they are, how they managed to find you and the actions they took earlier on in their journey. Begin by identifying the relation that’s shared between those that successfully converted at the end of the funnel and those that didn’t.
If you’re able to notice a pattern, then your team can take action to encourage conversion., For example, you might notice that 90% of those that have converted through the funnel watched a particular video. So, here you need to find ways to get other users in the funnel to do the same so they also convert. Simple.
Tactic Example Two: Take the relevant actions to reduce the number of steps it takes a user to get to the conversion point. Too many steps can see users drop off mid-funnel as they will have to click on a CTA, fill out a form after heading to a landing page, then heading to the thank you page and then getting the download.
Experimenting with other methods that reduce the number of steps can boost conversion. This might include a slide-up lead capture form where everything happens in one place rather than a user going through five different pages.
Tactic Example Three: Small tweaks might not always be the best way to go about boosting conversion. Bigger amendments can often yield the highest gains when they’re successful. It could be worth trying a couple of bigger ideas to see if they boost conversion as opposed to a handful of smaller changes.
The Goal of the Personalisation Focus Area
The final focus area under the optimise theme is personalisation. The goal here is to provide a hyper-relevant experiment for each user to ensure that they’re getting the perfect experience for their needs from your website.
So, rather than every single user seeing the same generic pages, data (and actually using that data to make relevant changes) allows your team to create a more personalised experience. This way, a first-time visitor will have a different experience while that lifelong loyal user will have an entirely different one.
The Focus Metric
For personalisation, your team is going to go back through all of the focus areas mentioned previously so that they can break each one down by the key user segments you’re considering personalising for.
These segments can be created in several ways, such as persona, device, lifecycle stage and more.
However, personalisation isn’t that easy and you’ll need the right tools to make that process much simpler. Firstly, you’d need to centralise all of the company’s data into one place. That means everything - website data, marketing, sales, form completion and more. That needs to be pulled into a single user contract record and a single company view. A good tool to manage contact data is the HubSpot CRM.
Next, integrate another tool into your CMS which is able to pull from the centralised data and change the experience and content being displayed to a specific user. While it sounds confusing, make sure the tool you decide to use is easy so that even the non-technical guys can get involved.
Remember to always keep your users in mind when making personalisation changes. Although there are plenty of options and possibilities, consider the example tactics below when your team is in this theme and focus area.
Personalisation Focus Area: Tactic Examples
Tactic Example One: Start by segmenting all of the previous focus metrics by your primary persona.
Highlight all of the focus metrics that show a large drop between the initial metric and the segmented one.
Tactic Example Two: Consider personalising based on the device type. We’ve all been through something similar where a mobile experience is a lot worse than a desktop experience and we don’t come back to it.
Creating an entirely different mobile experience for specific elements of your website on high impact pages can help to boost performances and results.
Tactic Example Three: Don’t forget about your existing customers. Personalising for first-time visitors can be tempting, but your team should review your website and generate areas that can display different CTAs for customers compared to prospects, for example.
A small change like this can be a useful tactic to help customer success and even drive opportunities.
As your website continues to progress, the optimise theme is a useful place to make sure that your team is doing what they can to maximise the performance of your website. There are plenty of possibilities with personalisation, so make sure your team is taking advantage of it to create a memorable website experience for your users.
Found out More About the Growth-Driven Design Process
The optimise theme is only one of three that are involved in the continuous improvement stage of the Growth-Driven Design process. GDD is now seen as the smarter and newer approach to website design. As you can tell, there’s a lot to get through and there’s too much to fit into one tiny space.
To help you get a much better understanding of GDD, information on the other two themes, how the process works and what you need to get started, we’ve created an in-depth helpful guide.
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