Traditional web design is broken. Now, businesses need a smarter way to drive optimal results while reducing all of the risk and the frustration that comes with designing a brand-new website. That’s where Growth-Driven Design (GDD) comes in. GDD is the name of a progressive approach to designing, building and
The Growth-Driven Design methodology combines lean and agile principles into a highly-effective website process that’s driven by useful data.
So, it’s time to create that all-important website and you know you can’t afford to miss that strict deadline. GDD is now seen as an option that provides much better results with the idea being that your website is never finished. Instead, it’s always improving month after month - it’s one long project. You know what they say, the more effort you put into something, the more you get in return.
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Those refusing to budge from traditional web design will tell you their way is the right way, and the same can be said by some of those using Growth-Driven Design. The difference, however, is that GDD has the data, results
Traditional web design revolves around creating one design over a period of months. Then you need to spend more time building it and then the entire team has to drop what they’re doing on the ‘go-live’ day to make sure the website can, well...go live on the day you had hoped for.
So, why is this an issue? Well, your eggs are pretty much in one basket. Those that use traditional web design are trusting the website to represent their entire company and it needs to be correct in just one attempt.
That’s a massive gamble.
There are the upfront costs to think about, going over budget, the tight deadlines, the bottom line and so on. Your website is the #1 marketing asset you have, so it needs to be a good one. So, with a study showing that only 42 percent of businesses make impactful improvements to their website once or less a year - it’s worrying.
GDD, on the other hand, is a more methodical approach. Although traditional web design is ‘quicker’ on paper, statistics prove that customers see a quicker time to value with GDD. For example, it’s been proven that a Launch Pad website takes - on average - 60 days to launch from an initial kickoff meeting - and is
What makes a traditional launch slower than GDD but a GDD site slower overall? Well, you need fewer pages to go live with a GDD Launch Pad site so your new site is up and running quicker. Albeit, in a reduced size. Then, you continue adding improvements from month to month with the idea that the website isn’t ever finished.
Then, you record data, such as where people get stuck when browsing your website, before
That’s probably the biggest mindset shift from traditional websites to GDD: With GDD sites, you get a new site live quicker, but it’s never fully done and always being
STRATEGY: 10-14 DAYS
At the first stage, you set yourself some smart goals. You understand user behaviour, solve any design problems you encounter and also connect with customers.
LAUNCH PAD: 60-90 DAYS
Next, the Launch Pad website focuses on prioritised improvements you’ve made so that you can launch sooner and get results faster.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: 14 OR 30-DAY SPRINTS
Finally, as a business continues to evolve and grow, data-driven optimisations result in a peak performance website.
Again, we’ll break down each stage in much more depth later on in the page, but that’s the basic framework of how a GDD journey begins and continues. It also works by having a fully-inclusive and a far-reaching strategy phase which maps out the end goal of any website - making it the smarter option compared to the traditional method.
GDD isolates what you need to
So, instead of your entire team scrambling together and working overtime to get every page out there just for the sake of it, which can compromise both quality and budget, GDD perfects the priority items first and then gets to work on everything else over time. This is where ‘your website is never finished’ comes in.
The methodology is growing massively thanks to the results that back this newer method up. The strategy is now the standard for web designs, so it’s easy to see why this revolutionary method is increasing in popularity.
The reason Growth-Driven Design is even a thing is
Using the agile approach, a website using the GDD methodology never goes out of date. You’re able to keep up with the
There’s nothing featured in the GDD methodology which suggests that it’s the incorrect way to go about website designing. In fact, one of the reasons businesses are hesitant about adopting the framework is because it’s relatively new compared to the traditional method with many companies still used to their website designs being self-contained projects.
So, the idea of committing to a monthly spend on continuous website designs can be surprising to some.
Compared to traditional web design, GDD is new. Evidently, there’s a learning curve to understand each and every aspect of the methodology and how it works. Although, not every business will want to spend time learning the ins and outs and would prefer to design their website the way they’re comfortable with, despite the problems it brings. The alternative, however, is to work with someone who specialises in GDD and does all of the heavy
Again, it’s a new approach and that’s not something many businesses are going to be comfortable with. Change can be a difficult thing and there’s always going to be some apprehensiveness towards adopting a new method, even though it’s proven with the statistics to back it.
As impressive as GDD is, the fact that it’s all about continuously improving a website doesn’t seem to appeal to everyone. Some businesses prefer to have that hard deadline and then revisit the website years later when it’s outdated to get the big project out of their way, even if it can backfire.
The agile methodology used by GDD and the continuous improvement stage
A marketing manager is bought into the concept of using the GDD methodology to update the company website. When pitching the process to their boss or the business owners, all they hear is, “The website isn’t ever finished and it can take over a year for our site to be as big as it is now.”
Then, during the Launch Pad phase, the company wants to add more and more items to their Launch Pad wishlist. This then impacts the delivery time and your boss keeps saying, “I thought the whole point was that we get a new website within 60 days.” But, the truth is, you get a Launch Pad website first and then data-driven Continuous Improvement is used to grow and improve your site month-to-month.
Education is the key to getting over both of these misunderstandings and making sure your GDD website goes smoothly.
As with most innovations, it’ll certainly take time for all businesses to adopt GDD. Think of it as a, ‘No, you go first’ approach where the rest will follow after seeing more and more businesses adopting this newer and proven method towards website designing. The key thing is that the whole process is based on data-led decisions.
That’s not to say that the ‘cons’ don’t make it a popular method; it’s quite the opposite. Luke Summerfield - the founder of Growth-Driven Design - surveyed 350 agencies and companies who use the GDD method to see how they’re getting on and what they’re getting up to six months into their GDD projects.
The interesting thing about the statistics is that the upward growth trend continues into the future under GDD website builds. This is because GDD always works to keep on sharpening websites by reacting to how users are behaving.
While there might be some understandable scepticism to adopt GDD as a new approach, it’s evident that businesses that have already started to use the smarter way to website building are reaping the rewards.
As highlighted in the previous section, Growth-Driven Design is broken down into three sections. Strategy, Launch Pad
At the Strategy phase, you’re kicking things off by setting goals, understanding the
You need to set those clear objectives. This is so you can avoid starting slowly with endless revisions and you’re able to build towards your desired results much quicker. By understanding the needs of your ideal customers, their needs and their pain points, you’re able to map an effective customer journey and use data to shape your entire website with the end user always in mind. Along with this, putting strategy before any tactics allows you to take an
You then move on to the Launch Pad phase where the website you’re designing focuses on the
With Launch Pad websites, it’s a low-risk move compared to the traditional web designing method. It only takes two-three months to build and you can save that budget for continued
Along with focusing the budget on
Finally - and arguably the most important stage - is the Continuous Improvement cycle as it’s the fundamental principle of GDD. You’re always learning,
The best results come from those that use data to make the most effective optimisations. With the traditional website designs, it’s a ‘launch it and leave it’ approach and they’re never able to improve because those websites can't be refined. Instead, a whole new design is created which increases cost, time and effort. With the traditional method, it’s all based on opinions over user data and there’s usually a redesign every two or three years. In the Continuous Improvement stage of GDD, however, the optimisations are done based off real data. The websites are redefined instead of redesigned and the websites are also tweaked and tuned regularly - they’re never forgotten about.
As highlighted, each section can and will be broken much further below with some important aspects to focus on. These include things like the Website Performance Roadmap, Wishlists, Toolstacks and more. Before moving on to the Website Performance Roadmap, it’s important to know the themes that are involved in it and it takes place during the Continuous Improvement phase. This is so you have a better understanding heading into that section further below.
You’ll find themes as part of the Website Performance Roadmap.
A theme is a directional mindset your marketing team should use to think through the building and optimising of your website. The strategist you have selected will pick a theme based on things like the maturity of the website and also the performance.
A theme should be set for a minimum of three months so you’re able to formulate a focus area: a lens through which your team can think about ideation, prioritisation and building action items. These focus areas help your team understand exactly what to work on and why - the three themes you need to be aware of are:
To find out more about each theme, what it is, what you need to do, the areas to focus on and even some tactic examples, then click on one of the themes above to be taken to the relevant section later on in this page.
Much like the traditional website design process, Growth-Driven Design’s first stage also revolves around strategy. In this stage, the aim is to develop a rock solid foundation which can then build the GDD process. This allows you to move on to the Launch Pad stage much more effectively and efficiently.
It begins with a thorough audit of your existing website so that you can analyse what’s working, what isn’t and where you can make the significant improvements.
Along with this, an upfront audit also helps to provide accurate benchmarks against which to judge your website’s progress. You don’t want to set goals too high that are unattainable or even too low. An audit is the best way for you to plan in advance and understand where you need to set the benchmark.
Once the audits are complete, you should have a much better and empathetic understanding of your audience’s world and how the website can solve problems along their journey. Then, the Strategy phase features numerous steps which need to be followed.
Set SMART Goals
Perform UX Research
Global and Page Strategy
Questions to Consider
Form a Wishlist
While it might seem like a lot of steps for what is effectively the first stage of the GDD methodology, following them all ensures that you’re in the best possible position to achieve your goals at the Launch Pad and Continuous Improvement stages.
You need to set specific and measurable goals that can help you clearly define the results you’re looking for.
Some of the ideal metrics that you might want to see improved can be things like lead conversions, organic traffic, looking at how you have historically performed and the improvements you can make that will impact your overall marketing department’s goal, for example.
Next, you need to develop detailed
As we know, it’s all about a fictional representation of your ideal customers. You’re then able to create different groups of
Here, you need to dig into the data and analyse the current website’s performance so that you can perform a quantitative audit of the good and the bad.
It helps uncover what your users are doing. While you’re doing this, you’re getting the results to see where your website can improve. By doing some quantitative research, you can create a hypothesis around what it is you want to improve, how you can improve the metric you’ve set and exactly how much impact the said improvement can have. You can then test that hypothesis with an experiment and use your quantitative data to measure the results. Simple.
After doing plenty of research on your existing users to learn more about them, you should use that data to gain a better understanding of who they are so you can find ways to improve.
This is all about helping uncover why your users are behaving in a certain way. Through qualitative research, you’re able to observe user goals, motivations and pain points in action. This is beneficial as it helps you to develop an understanding of behaviours that are tied to the previous data points you collect. Following this, you can begin to design for your users to improve user experiences and you can focus on some other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as user retention and lead conversions.
Once the above steps are completed, you can use all that you have learnt and start forming some fundamental assumptions about your users.
Some common examples include the information your users are searching for, the various locations and devices the users will access your website from and even value propositions for products and offers.
The final step in the Strategy phase helps to develop both a global strategy for your entire website and a specific strategy for each of the major pages on your website.
Both of these strategies should combine all of the previous steps and lay out a detailed strategy of how you’re able to best engage and influence the users to achieve the goals you initially set out.
While the Strategy phase might be over now, there’s no harm in going back and taking some important questions into consideration. These might include:
Which business metrics can be impacted by leveraging the website?
How functional is the website?
How is the website going to help your business grow?
Do you have a reliable CMS to create content which allows you to add value?
Hold your horses. Before we can move on to the Launch Pad stage of the Growth-Driven Design process, it’s important to focus on creating a wishlist.
This is because the wishlist is going to play an important part in both the Launch Pad and the Continuous Improvement stages of the GDD process. Let’s take a look at what’s involved when it’ll be time to form your own wishlist and what you’ll need to do.
Wishlists are extremely important when it comes to moving forward with your
The same can be applied to the Growth-Driven Design wishlist, too. When you’re brainstorming about your new website, you and your team are all going to have plenty of ideas about what you want the website to look like and what you want to include. Clearly, not everything can be put in right away as that just defeats the purpose. That’s where you need to prioritise.
Taking what you’ve learnt in the Strategy phase, this is the time to gather your entire team together so that you can brainstorm some impactful, game-changing, creative and innovative ideas that you’d like to be included on the website. Websites using the traditional method usually attempt to implement all of the items on their wishlist, but where do they go from there? How do they improve?
GDD, on the other hand, puts the most vital items on the website first. Then, the data comes in again as it helps to guide which items should be built into the website next.
It’s important to head into these brainstorming sessions without your existing website content weighing on your mind. Instead, start from scratch and think about all of the items and elements you’re going to need so that you can achieve the goals you set out in the Strategy phase.
It doesn’t matter how expensive, elaborate, time consuming or difficult it is to achieve. It’s a wishlist. Don’t hold back on your ideas as any of them could solve the challenges users are facing, bring them value and even hit your own business goals.
Linking back to the Strategy phase, once you’ve collected all of your data and you’ve made those important fundamental assumptions, you can think about the wishlist items you want and that’s where those assumptions come into play again. Based on your research, you'll need to assume which of the items you’ve noted down are of the highest priority to your clients.
If you need a starting point on the types of items or elements you might want to consider, think of some of the below:
Design elements - such as changing the colours
Impactful website pages and sections
Changes in user experiences based on their devices, country and more
Marketing resources, images, assets and tools
Specific features, modules and the functionality of the website
Brainstorming wishlist ideas shouldn’t be a quick job. You and your team should take a couple of hours to jot down all of the ideas and have around 50-200 ideas for the website. Remember, they’re not all going to be implemented right away, but creating a bank of ideas that can be added at a later date is beneficial.
Let’s take a look at a careers page on your website as an example. That can be the main page you’re looking to implement some items from your wishlist and things you can look to include heading into the Continuous Improvement stage.
Your careers page can branch into other pages, such as a culture video page, job postings and the company’s history and future. Then, more wishlist action items can be included. These might consist of personalisation based on region, Glassdoor reviews, an interactive timeline, customers telling their story, top three benefits and more.
Prioritising your wishlist is all about the demand of the user. What do you assume they’re going to get value out of the most? That’s when you need to start prioritising the list you and your team have created by analysing which one will be of the most value to your users, and which one might not have much value right now, but could at a later date.
As this stage is all about pushing your ideas and translating them into what you want on your website, consider some of these tips on how you can prioritise the wishlist items you and your team came up with during your brainstorming session. For example, it won’t help your new website if you’re stuck on your existing website and you’re thinking about how to improve that instead.
Make sure you’re thinking about the features, functionality and modules when considering which wishlist items you want to prioritise.
It needs to be easy to use and navigate for your users, so that’s critical and those items should be towards the top. You can also prioritise your wishlist items by remapping sections of your new website and either add or remove some pages for further impact.
Remember, not every page needs to be ready for when the website is initially launched in the next stage. Along with this, ensure you have enough brainstorm wishlist items as they’re constantly going to be added to over time - or even subtracted.
It’s never wise to scrunch up your list of wishlist items, especially since it could have plenty of elements and features that might not be important right now, but could be of added value down the line as you continue improving your website. So add them to your GDD Dashboard.
That’s why it’s important to manage your wishlist and add to it when the team has fresh ideas and taking away those that, down the line, you feel might not add any value at all. Although this links in with the Launch Pad stage of GDD, a general rule to adopt is the 80/20 approach as it’s proven to be the best way to manage an ongoing wishlist.
This is where you select 20
That’s not a one-time thing either. As you continue to improve your website, adopt the same approach each and every time so that you’re always adding the wishlist items with the most value first after analysing the data to reach your goals. The same process should be repeated with more items being added, prioritising which one would have more impact and drawing up the 80/20 wishlist based on data results.
It’s essential to manage the wishlist on an ongoing basis when you’re designing a new website, especially since it plays a big role in the second phase of the GDD method as you attempt to propel your website efforts forward.
Although, it’s not the final product by any means. Instead, the Launch Pad website is the foundation on which to build and optimise
One of the first questions
The point of it is to avoid getting stuck on analysis, content or other features while building this website. The fact is, no website is ever perfect when it’s first launched. But during this phase, your launch is able to improve your website, it gives you a perfect starting point to further improve and starts generating useful data quickly.
Naturally, the complexity and size of a website are going to vary depending on what’s on your wishlist (remember that?) alongside the type of website you have. Again, cutting down the list to around 20
Although the Launch Pad website is going to be imperfect in terms of wishlist items, a lot of areas still need to be covered before the Continuous Improvement phase can come into play. You need to consider the following:
Running an 80/20 Analysis on Your Wishlist
Create Hypothesis Statements for Each Wishlist Item
Customising an Acceleration Approach
Running Sprint Workshops
Effective Content Development
Investing in Internal Efficiencies
Continue reading to see how you’re able to do each one in this phase so that you’re in the best position possible when the day arrives to finally hit ‘live’ on your Launch Pad website.
In the wishlist phase where you and your team compiled a long list of the action items you’d ideally want on the website, begin sorting them out by the level of priority to determine which action items will be implemented first.
To do this, review the list with your entire team and identify 20
If it’s a ‘nice to have,’ then it can return to the main list on your GDD Dashboard as you don’t need it right now.
For the rest of the action items, ask whether or not they're absolutely necessary for the Launch Pad website, or question if they can wait further down the line. Remember, the ‘must have’ items are the most important
Once the wishlist items have been narrowed down to the items with the most impact, a ‘hypothesis statement’ needs to be created for each action item.
The hypothesis statement allows you to get some clarity on each wishlist item and relates back to the goal that your website and business is trying to achieve, the expected impact and the persona that you’ve been focusing on all this time.
An example hypothesis statement from HubSpot might look something like this:
You then look at the action item, whether or not it meets the goal you have set and then give it an impact score of 1-10.
The principles of a
Refresh - Refresh existing website into your initial Launch Pad website. Review the strategy stage to ensure you have a deep understanding and perform a website audit to identify misalignment and gaps. Develop a list of required updates and then jump to the Continuous Improvement stage on the existing website.
Kickstart - Build a new website using pre-built assets to accelerate content and design. It can be existing content you’ve already created, web page templates or modules, modern-looking stock photos or even build your own internal library.
80/20 Method - As highlighted above, look at the wishlist and ask which 20
Launch and Expand - Deconstruct the Launch Pad into various phases that can be executed over time. Phase one = update all of your global elements. Phase two = bucket the highest impact pages or sections and relaunch them in phase two. Launch when it’s appropriate and continue all subsequent phases until the website is complete.
Wise Investor - Ensure your team is investing time in the activities that will yield the best results. Review your website’s goals, audit your existing website, categorise the pages into high/medium/low impact based on their impact towards your goals and add any new pages from your wishlist.
A sprint workshop is a focused period of time where a team steps out of the day-to-day activities to collaborate and develop a set of specific deliverables that will be tested on website users.
To do this, host the workshop off-site, include a dedicated note-taker where possible, take out computers and phone usage, have the GDD strategist facilitate and more.
Here, you quickly create remarkable content that connects with your users and encourages specific behaviour. The content you create can come in any form such as text, videos, photos, audio conversations and more. The best tip to give here is that you should get started as early as possible and stay on top of all content contributors.
At this stage, you should find opportunities to remove roadblocks, build any internal assets you can and empower the team to take action. This can also include switching from the agile to the waterfall process, building internal libraries of reusable templates and modules, coding the website so it’s marketer-friendly and even investing in collaboration tools or project management software.
Before moving on to the final phase of the Growth-Driven Design process, it’s also important that you set up data collection at the Launch Pad stage. This allows you to start learning about user behaviour on your website once it’s
Once the Launch Pad website is live, it’s time to start on the ongoing cycles to continuously experiment with, learn and improve your website. Don’t forget that wishlist that was mentioned in both of the previous two phases either, as this repeatable cycle means you’re always going to add more and more action items to your wishlist and then to your website.
This is the stage where a team needs to continuously collect real user data, build high-impact items and generate more momentum. This stage is obviously extremely essential as you’re able to discover new opportunities, help other teams accelerate and continue adjusting your website based on how users are behaving when using the website.
The underlying concepts of the Continuous Improvement stage are lean thinking and an agile process - the two principles used in the GDD methodology.
Lean thinking is a mindset of eliminating waste, reducing risks and maximising efficiencies all for the goal of maximising value to your customers. The agile process is an iterative and collaborative process which is used for deconstructing complex projects with high uncertainty into bite-sized chunks.
The goal is to go through a cycle and it all revolves around the persona who is coming to the website. At each stage of the cycle, you need to continuously ask yourself how it relates and provides value to the users visiting the website.
If there’s an action item from the wishlist which you realise is no longer adding value, then re-evaluate and adjust the website accordingly. That’s how the website is always being improved.
During the Continuous Improvement stage of the Growth-Driven Design process, there are four steps of the cycle. These are
The faster a team moves through these steps of the cycle, the sooner that team will drive results for the users and for the business as a whole. To break it down even further, each step in the cycle has smaller steps that need to be completed to move on. Let’s break each one down even more.
The first step of the GDD cycle is clearly the planning stage. Here, you need to identify the items with the most impact right now and then plan to implement the top ones in the cycle. Some further steps need to be taken here, which include:
Performance vs Goals: Review the current performance of the website you’ve launched and
Additional Data and Research: Following the previous cycle, review the performance vs goals data. Sometimes, you need to analyse extra data to get even more clarification on which wishlist items can be added during the Continuous Improvement stage.
Learn From Marketing and Sales: Connect with the marketing and sales teams so that you’re able to determine the key items learned about your users since the previous cycle. What this does is give you information which can transfer your wishlist items that have been implemented. For example, the content team might have written a blog about a topic that went viral which received plenty of social interaction and a large number of organic clicks. What have we learnt? That this particular topic was important to the user and persona you’re catering for. So, use that knowledge and add items to the wishlist that can have a similar impact.
Continue Brainstorming and Prioritising Wishlist Items: This process never stops. Using all of the data and research to this point, brainstorm again to come up with new action items that will have some real value. Think along the lines of items that will boost your conversion rates like user paths. Improve UX with blog layouts, mobile experience, navigation and more. Pick items that can be personalised, such as content offers and CTAs as well as build marketing assets, such as SEO-focused assets and other marketing resources.
Prioritise the Wishlist: Once all of the new items have been prioritised - as we highlighted earlier - decide which ones are of the highest value to the users.
Plan the Sprint Cycle: Once the wishlist has been prioritised, you can pick the most impactful wishlist items that you want to implement in this cycle. The cycle duration depends on how many items are picked to be implemented.
Once you’re at the build or
To measure those experiments, use tracking software like Hotjar so that you’re able to track the metrics of the relevant wishlist item that has been implemented.
Once you’ve collected enough data from the experiments, it’s time to move towards the learning phase. In this stage of the cycle, you’re reviewing the information you’ve collected about the users visiting your website so that you can gain a deeper understanding and make smarter decisions to the changes you eventually make to the website.
Then, based on all of the information you’ve collected and analysed, it’s time to validate or disprove the hypothesis highlighted in the Launch Pad section regarding the wishlist item.
It’s important to ask questions such as whether or not the impact changed as expected and
Following this, the correct findings should be published about the users so that your whole team can access them. This needs to be done for all 20
Finally, the goal of the transfer step of the cycle is to share learnings across all of your departments and find opportunities to better align. This is so you’re able to create a much better user experience throughout the entire customer journey.
So, this stage of the cycle revolves around you transferring any impactful information you’ve learnt throughout this cycle towards other parts of your business - that’s how Growth-Driven Design can assist all parts of your business.
At this stage, you need to review all of the previously completed action items from the wishlist and implemented on your website to see whether you can find any patterns about the users you’ve targeted. This could be anything. You might find certain blog topics are drawing better traffic than others, there might be two different landing page variations with one getting more success of even certain design elements that are giving you contrasting results.
Once you have the results and see the patterns, you’re able to inform all other teams to start incorporating more of what’s working based on the data you’ve analysed. After that, it’s the perfect opportunity to educate team members about any recommendations and brainstorm ways you can transfer the ideas into wishlist items within each department. Everyone benefits this way.
And that’s it. The cycle is complete. The only thing left to do now is to go right back to the beginning and start planning your next cycle.
This cycle will always repeat itself time and time again. Each time a cycle is completed, you’ll end up learning more and more about your visitors. The more cycles you complete, the more wishlist items you can implement, the more data you analyse and the more impact your website has.
That’s the key difference between Growth-Driven Design and traditional websites. A traditional one will never live up to its potential because there’s no data to go off and that means it'll have very little impact compared to a GDD website.
In Growth-Driven Design, one of the most important factors of the Continuous Development stage is the Website Performance Roadmap. This is a framework used by the strategist you have selected - or whoever else is accountable for the website’s vision and results during the planning stages. This framework ensures that your whole team is working on the most impactful items at any given time to drive the team towards the goals you have set so that you can drive value to the users and maximising your results.
The GDD Website Performance Roadmap is put in place at the Continuous Improvement stage so that your team knows exactly what to focus on. It sets clear expectations, it brings a sense of clarity to the long-term vision of the website and it also helps to measure, communicate and take action on the progress your team is making.
The Website Performance Roadmap is something to follow for building a peak performing website. You need to provide focus, set clear expectations and measure progress to goals. Think of it as a type of hierarchy; you need to think about the audience, the value it brings to them, the usability factor as well as conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
There’s also the personalisation factor to take into account, stickiness, the product, journey, teams, assets and the promoting stage. Although there are several factors to consider, going through each one ensures that you’re setting your website up to achieve the best results - all while adding value time and time again for the users you’re targeting.
The important thing to note about this roadmap is that each of the topics mentioned above - such as the audience, value and so on - they all have to go through the sprint cycle that takes place during the Continuous Improvement stage. For example, if we pick out the ‘value’ from above, it needs to go through the plan, build, learn and transfer cycle so you can implement the high impact items, set up experiments to test the impact and then review your results and publish your findings.
Then, you move on to the next thing to focus on, which could be usability, and then repeat that process. This way, you’re optimising each stage of the GDD Website Performance Roadmap hierarchy.
During the Roadmap stage, you need to focus on a theme, the focus area as well as tactics. Each element is nested under the previous one which creates a decision tree. A theme is a directional mindset that your team should use to think through building and optimising your website.
This is where those themes from phase 2.2 come into play. Each theme in the Roadmap has a different focus area and has a single metric to show progress, which is called a focus metric. All ideas, wishlists and how items are prioritised should be centred around improving that particular focus metric. To do this, you’ll need to implement some specific tactics. These are the actions you could implement to impact the focus metric.
The three themes we’re looking at are Establish, which has harvest, audience and value as its focus areas. Optimise, which has usability, CRO and personalisation as its focus areas and Expand is the final theme, with product, journey and teams as its focus areas. Continue reading to find out about each one in more depth.
The establish theme is all about the core foundational activities you need to do when you’ve built something new. In this case, it’s your website and this is a common theme to pick directly after launching any major website initiatives.
You need to start off by completing any important items that didn’t make the cut for your initial website launch. This is followed up by getting people to engage with the website so that your team is able to start collecting data and feedback to analyse and make key, impactful changes. Finally, see if the users that are engaging actually care about and find value in what you’ve built. If so, then great. If not, then it’s time to reevaluate with your team and decide what could add more value.
Harvest Focus Area: Build high impact items that are easy to accomplish directly after the launch.
Audience Focus Area: Build a consistent and predictable flow of new, good-fit visitors to gather data and feedback to gain some quick-wins.
Value Focus Area: Look over all of your website’s major elements, including pages or sections, to see whether they help solve the users’ pain points and provide value in a remarkable way.
This was a quick run through the basics of the Establish theme. We’ve actually written an entire blog post dedicated to this topic which you can find by clicking here.
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.
Here, you need to lean into user experience and user value and then slowly and carefully integrate user-friendly ways to interact with and nurture the users to achieve your business goals.
Usability Focus Area: Make sure your website is intuitive, inviting and easy to use to help users solve their problems.
CRO Focus Area: Eliminate the friction points and reduce the number of steps between a user entering the funnel and completing the end-of-funnel conversion event.
This was another skim through what the Optimise theme is. We’ve also written a blog post focusing on this theme. It features information on the focus areas, tactic examples you can use and more. Click here to read the full blog post.
The Expand theme is all about thinking of the bigger picture and finding creative ways to expand your website’s impact on users and your whole business. If you’re a company that wants to move fast and you have the resources to do so, you can even have a dedicated team that focuses entirely on the
Out of all three of the themes mentioned in this section, it’s the expand theme which tends to get visited more often. This is because your website becomes more mature over time and will continually need to be changed. For example, you’ll need to launch new digital web products on your website. You’ll need to find how you can add more user value and you’ll also need to find some creative ways for your business to use the website which will help all of the other departments achieve their own specific goals.
Products Focus Area: Launch new digital web products that are so valuable that your users are willing to pay money for them, but you offer access for free.
Journey Focus Area: Find new ways to use the website to drive your users’ value and business goals in new stages along the journey.
Teams Focus Area: Use the website to help other teams throughout the organisation scale and achieve their own goals.
This was a brief look at the Expand theme of the GDD Website Performance Roadmap. For more information on each of the points above, including some example tactics you can implement, click here to read the full blog post.
An important tip to take into consideration is that you should commit to a theme for a minimum of three months. If you shift themes too often, it makes it much more challenging to discover any meaningful user learnings and build traction towards any particular direction. So, stick with one theme for a minimum of three months, but ideally around six to nine months if you’re able to manage the workload.
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with wanting constant work on your website but only if you’re still
Although the Roadmap is laid out in a specific order to match the evolution of your website, it’s not exactly a linear path as you’re able to move or return to themes and focus areas over time. It’s a fluid framework, and it’s highly likely that you’ll return to areas you’ve already completed as your website evolves over time.
As has been emphasised throughout this page, the decision on how to flow through the roadmap should always be determined by data, your business goals and the feedback you’re receiving. Remember, the focus metrics will be different for every business and the unique situation or industry you’re in. But the Roadmap is still a great starting point for which every business can build from.
It’s a helpful framework that assists the strategist you have chosen so that they can help your team build a peak performing website to satisfy the users as well as driving your business growth.
The obvious first step is to be all-in on Growth-Driven Design. If you know that you’re ready to ditch the traditional web designing method then there are some steps you can take at the earliest stage to make the transition much smoother.
Certifications: Although it can be tempting to dive in at the deep end and try to reap the rewards that come with Growth-Driven Design, the first step is perhaps the most important. You need to complete the classes and become GDD certified so you’re in the best possible position to understand GDD as well as every stage that’s involved in the methodology.
Whoever in your company or team is going to be involved with GDD at some point, then it’s recommended that they become certified. This is critical, as it’s important that everyone understands the process before it’s time to build and
Up-to-Date Buyer Personas: Make sure you have a deep understanding of
Visitors: For GDD to work effectively, it’s vital that your website has a suitable amount of visitors. The whole point of the method is to always improve the website by
For example, having 500 visitors on your website makes it hard to
GDD Dashboard: Think of your GDD Dashboard as the hub for where you’ll plan everything. It’s a spreadsheet which shows that every aspect of your new website is being tested,
Tools: To build an effective Tool Stack, you clearly need the tools to implement. This can be anything from programs to software for you to install. However, when the time comes around to select your web design and
If this happens, your team is less efficient and the websites can slow down. Types of tools you should look to implement include:
Team Collaboration Tools
Project Management System
Content Management System
User Research and Testing
Continue reading to see which specific tools you could use for the above in the ‘Building Your GDD Tool Stack’ section.
Other Useful Documents: There are some other useful documents you might want to download, take a look at and even use as a good starting point, provided by the Growth-Driven Design website.
Once you feel like you’ve made progress at the starting point, it’s a good time to check out some of the tools you might decide to implement.
A Tool Stack is a commonly-used term in Growth-Driven Design. It’s used to describe the integration of several tools that you’ll use together so you can achieve or surpass your desired goals. The important thing to take into account with a Tool Stack is that integrating a group of tools will yield a lot more value than by using each tool by itself.
There are two major reasons why selecting the right tools is important towards the success of the website you’re designing. Firstly, choosing the right tools in your Tool Stack increases your team’s ability to drive results in a manner that just wasn’t possible before.
Using an integrated Tool Stack lets you gain new insights on user behaviour as you’re collecting the right types of data and getting it from multiple sources. With single tools, the data can become less powerful and it’s borderline-impossible to understand the true data to analyse.
By having an integrated Tool Stack as opposed to single tools, you’re able to store all of your data in one centralised area so you can make that data more actionable while your team will have a much better understanding of exactly which actions are driving results for your business. So, it’s then much easier to build and optimise your website to drive more of those actions.
The second reason why it’s important to implement a Tool Stack is that it helps you drive results much faster. Rather than hiring more people to get the work done and shelling out money that can be used elsewhere, software and technology can help streamline, automate and simplify the process. Instead, it allows your team to get more work done in less time.
Before deciding on the tools you want to use, you need to note down the goals you’re trying to achieve and also the functionality you require to reach your goals. Before you do purchase any tool for your Tool Stack, ask yourself if it can help you, your business, growth and goals with the following:
Improve collaboration and efficiency
Create, manage and grow content
Understanding user behaviour
Turning insights into experiments
Impact all of the departments to drive overall business growth
Once you’re confident that the tools in question help all of those areas, then you’re in a much better position when it comes time to purchase them. When you’re searching for tools to utilise, consider breaking them up into subsections. Take a look at some of the examples below for some inspiration of a Tool Stack featuring popular and beneficial programs.
GDD Dashboard: The GDD Dashboard is a tool which helps the strategist to track performance, plan your quarterly theme, focus on sprints as well as managing and prioritising your wishlist action items.
Slack: Slack is a team collaboration and communication software. This tool helps to create faster and better communication which combats the number of unnecessary meetings and emails by decreasing the frequency. You’re able to invite teams, stakeholders, management and even clients to Slack to keep things moving much quicker.
Google Docs: Google Docs offers a brilliant way to collaborate and store documents on Google’s cloud for everyone within your team to access. It could also be beneficial to implement a shared drive to save time.
For GDD, a reliable and agile CMS is pivotal as it helps with the growth aspect of your business and the website. An example of an ideal CMS is HubSpot (which we’ll get on to
How can the CMS help you develop a solid content strategy? It’s not all about just building the content. It’s also about understanding how to deliver the right types of content to the right people at the right time.
Does the CMS improve your team’s workflow to help you create better content? You need to evaluate how intuitive and efficient the CMS is and whether or not it empowers your team to create the best content possible.
Does the CMS support your core technical requirements? The best CMS’ will be flexible and they’ll offer deep integration options to tie other tools together.
Hotjar: Hotjar is an all-in-one research tool that gives you insights on how the users are interacting with your website. The tool also features a click and scroll heatmap, user recordings, on-page slide up questionnaires, funnel reporting and so much more. Hotjar is a beneficial tool to use if you’re building and
Lucky Orange is another tool similar to Hotjar. However, there’s one major difference between the two. With Hotjar, you’re able to implement an NPS - a Net Promoter Score - which is used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationship with a regular survey. With Lucky Orange, there’s no ability to implement an NPS survey so you’re unable to measure that loyalty number with the tool.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a tracking and reporting tool which you should use to measure the performance of your website and the behaviour of the users. It’s not wise to simply install Google Analytics, though. Instead, it’s important to invest to set up and customise your Analytics tool and integrate it with any other tool you might be using and ensure you measure before you test.
Zoom: Zoom is an outside-of-the-box yet beneficial tool that can be used for research. It’s a video conferencing platform which you’re able to use for running and recording user interviews or even user testing. While it’s more of a simple tool than the ones highlighted above, sometimes interviews with real users can be the best way to understand them.
A/B Testing: Running split testing is a good way to test your hypothesis and understand your user behaviour. If you decide to use the HubSpot CMS, for example, then it already has built-in A/B testing ready for you to use in any tests.
Google Analytics: The Google Analytics tool can also be used to experiment. You’re able to use the tool to measure the change in user behaviour over time by using features like event tracking and cohort reporting.
It’s important to implement an agile project management system that can be used as part of GDD. It empowers everyone in your team to take action while it also speeds up the process to create results quicker. Some of the project management systems you may want to look at include:
It all comes back to the tools that will help drive business growth. While it can be committed to be trigger-happy and pick what you are comfortable with yourself, make sure you’re opting to use and invest in tools that will prove to be the best solution for overall company growth.
Although Growth-Driven Design might sound like the perfect solution for you to eliminate those headaches, reduce costs and every other issue that traditional web design has brought your way, a reliable CMS is essential. Without a CMS that has the sufficient tools to help you grow, your website isn’t going to help your users and you won’t achieve your business goals.
The CMS you choose is like your central hub for all things marketing and GDD. The traditional focus was to create and manage content. Now, it’s more important than ever to find a CMS that enables user-centric and a data-driven approach to growth as the industry continues to shift a website’s mindset towards it being pivotal for business-wide growth.
The CMS you use can’t be entirely focused on GDD either. Remember, the website you’re designing is there to help every department and team within your business achieve their goals. So, the CMS you use needs to enable the entire business to create, manage and grow content so the marketers can drive overall business growth.
HubSpot is arguably the most effective CMS that can and should be used for GDD. The reason being that you’re able to code and design pretty much anything on the HubSpot CMS, regardless of whether it’s data-driven content to e-commerce with the Shopify integration.
HubSpot’s CMS has a visual editor as well as a coding IDE. The code IDE allows developers to continue working in code and building all of the complex elements they’re used to. The visual-editor, on the other hand, is a hugely beneficial tool for your marketers as they can help build, update and
Along with this, the HubSpot CMS is cloud-hosted. This means that the websites you design using this CMS are not only secure and fast, but the website will always be online - safe from any compromise or attack. Plus it’s always kept up to date. This allows you and your team to focus all of their energy on the growth of your website and business, as opposed to other external issues.
The HubSpot CMS has been specially-designed for driving business growth and not just creating and managing any content. What makes this CMS different from others and a popular option is that HubSpot’s CMS lets you pull all user and company data into one centralised spot so you’re able to see an extremely in-depth view of every user. This includes who they are, the company they work for, the things they’re interested in, every interaction they might’ve ever had with your company and more.
The data that’s pulled from here can then be used by all of the other growth tools available that are natively built into the impressive HubSpot CMS. As these growth tools all push and pull data from the same source, there are ways to drive results and growth that isn’t achievable on other CMS’.
Some of the growth tools that are built into the CMS which leverage user data in unique ways include:
User Engagement Timeline: You can see how all of your contacts are engaging and interacting with your website. With this tool, you gain a deeper understanding of your users so that you can make much better decisions by seeing exactly how every user is interacting with your content. You can also leverage integrations to see just how engaged your users are.
Personalising for Your Visitors: We know by now that visitors are different, so your website isn’t adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. You’re able to create a personalised website experience for specific visitor behaviours, segments and even personas. HubSpot Smart Content allows you to personalise based on any field within your contact database along with conditions such as device and location.
HubSpot Forms: GDD is all about collecting data and user feedback to help inform decisions and boost your results. Using a tool like HubSpot Forms lets you effortlessly convert anonymous website visitors into leads with some powerful online forms with progressive profiling and smart fields. Plus, you don’t really need technical experience.
Website Platform: Rather than focusing on updates and maintenance of your website, the Website Platform tool lets you focus on improving results instead. HubSpot’s Website Platform tool is built to allow you to spend time making improvements to your website rather than wasting valuable time updating the plugins.
Automation Tools: HubSpot’s Automation Tools allow you to build a sticky website that keeps bringing your visitors back. The automation tools help to continuously drive and engage visitors to come back to your website again.
Attribution and Event Reporting: This tool lets you track all of your key metrics from the same platform. This means you can shorten the Growth-Driven Design feedback loop and improve your marketing as a whole. This is accomplished by learning which pages or custom events are contributing towards revenue and conversion - and which aren’t.
CTA Builder: Using a CTA Builder from HubSpot, you can convert more of your visitors into qualified leads with calls-to-action which you can personalise, test and analyse. They’re easy to create, they look professional and you don’t really need any technical experience either, so you can help to turn every piece of content into a gateway for conversion. You can even A/B test to create variations of each CTA to ensure they’re outperforming the rest.
On-site Chat with Meeting Scheduler: With HubSpot, you can implement live chat features on your website. This lets you connect with website visitors in real time so that you can convert more leads, close more deals and provide much better support to your customers. In fact, you can go one step further and eliminate the back and forth meeting scheduling. You’re also able to schedule any appointments so that your team remains productive.
These are only some of the data-driven tools that HubSpot’s CMS provides to make it the perfect platform for GDD. Some others include:
Landing Page Creation Tool
On-page SEO Tool
Content Strategy Planning Tool
HubSpot’s CMS is also directly connected with all of the other HubSpot products. This includes the marketing tools, CRM, sales tools, automation tools and the customer success tool. The important thing to note is that all of the tools work from the same user contact data and complement each other to boost company growth.
The point of any website you create will surely be to either raise awareness, convert leads and even boost revenue. So, it’s clear to see how the tools above can help when ditching the traditional method and adopting the HubSpot CMS for the GDD approach.
To get the most out of your website’s marketing efforts, then combining inbound marketing with Growth-Driven Design is the route to take. If you think about it deeper, Inbound Marketing features all of the crucial elements that it takes to attract users to your website. On the flip side, GDD is busy dealing with all of the mechanics behind the scenes that will help make your users as loyal as possible thanks to having a perfectly tuned website.
When you think about the inbound methodology and what each stage is trying to achieve, it’s easy to see just where GDD actually fits in (hint: it’s at every stage). For example, at the Attract stage, you’re creating a strategy that will help drive traffic to your website. By now, you’ll know what’s included in the Strategy phase of GDD before you launch that all-important Launch Pad website.
At the Convert stage of the inbound methodology, it’s all about implementing GDD to optimise conversions on your website which leads to you generating more leads. This is the perfect time to see how the website is being used, the troubles your users are facing, things you can take out and looking over the wishlist items to see what can be included to help close more leads.
When you’re at the Close stage of the Inbound Methodology, it’s all about nurturing those leads and converting them into customers. Throughout the page, we’ve emphasised just how important it is to analyse data to influence the future changes you’ll be making to your website. Here, you may be implementing those changes after prioritising your wishlist items by fundamentally assuming what you believe the user wants from the website that will turn them from users to customers.
Once you’ve done all of that, you’re at the Delight stage of the Inbound Marketing methodology. Now, you know what works as customer satisfaction leads to repeat and new business. This is where you Continuously Improve your website to implement new changes time and time again by referring back to the prioritised wishlist and seeing how the users will benefit and how the company will benefit.
Utilising GDD can help improve the buyer’s journey, too. Businesses that are failing to generate a suitable amount of web traffic and leads probably don’t have a thorough understanding of their buyer’s journey, but with GDD that’s not a major issue. In the GDD approach, you can rely on the website metrics to understand the conversion pathways which are turning visitors into customers, or even what’s turning them away. This allows you to refine your content as you develop a much better understanding of your buyer’s journey.
You can also improve conversion gateways, too. For example, you’re always able to improve things like landing pages, CTAs and more when utilising GDD. What this means is that you can determine the most effective forms of conversion before implementing these changes throughout your website. By always testing, implementing changes and re-testing, you’re always able to optimise with the ideal customer in mind.
It’s natural that any business is going to discover issues once a website is launched. The way in which GDD assists Inbound Marketing is that marketers can use GDD to quickly make those important changes to fix bottlenecks so that you’re not stuck with detrimental hurdles that can stop prospect conversions.
Thanks to vendors like HubSpot, businesses like yours can offer smart content to users and if you’re utilising GDD, then you can always work to refine your smart content offering based on your marketing metrics. By overseeing all of the materials your customers are engaging with, you gain a much deeper understanding of your buyer’s journey. Along with this, GDD helps you to always improve what you’re offering to your leads and other users that are repeat visitors.
Both GDD and Inbound Marketing make sure that your team isn’t stuck with the same website failure for months on end. By implementing both of the ‘new concepts’ to your marketing strategy, you’re able to apply the data insights so you’re always improving.
It’s important to take certain factors into account when you want to attract your ideal customers to your new website. It’s done by combining both Inbound Marketing and Growth-Driven Design.
Design is key. Functionality is also another major factor to consider, however, it’s vital that the website you’re designing looks both professional and appealing to your ideal customers. Think about using simple designs with easy navigation to avoid confusing users. Also, make sure it loads quickly. That’s pretty important.
Your new website might look amazing on a desktop, but it needs to look just as attractive on a mobile device. It can be argued that users are going to be more prone to using their phones to browse your website rather than desktop, so leaving that good impression is vital. Make sure the text is easy to read, nothing is clunked together and keep the design in mind. If it doesn’t look good, those mobile users won’t hesitate to click exit.
It might sound obvious, but even a tiny detail like this can go a long way. Think about a CTA that can capture your ideal customer’s attention - this means both the design of the CTA and where you place it on the website. Remember, keep it consistent.
The fact is, users are coming to your website because they’re under the assumption that you’re going to solve their pain points. Give them the content they’re searching for, give them the solution and make it clear where they can find more content.
We can’t emphasise enough just how important data analysis is in GDD. It’s the whole point of the new approach. Study your statistics thoroughly so you properly understand what users like and dislike.
The main focus of both GDD and inbound marketing revolves around the user experience. The more you’re working on making your website a website worth revisiting, the more likely it is that your website is going to be successful.
Our GDD work has seen us become a fully-certified GDD agency - one of only a handful in Europe, in addition to our Diamond Tier HubSpot Partner status. We also won the HubSpot 2018 Partner of the Year Award. Not only do we understand GDD and use it to get results way beyond client expectations, but we also produce when it comes to design and aesthetics. If you’re interested in handing over the GDD burden to a qualified, helpful and experienced agency, then take a look at our pricing guide below.