Growth Driven Design: What it is and why it matters to you

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Websites are notoriously a big expense on both your bank account and your time. But in the end you have your biggest marketing tool and best salesperson rolled into one neat package - at least for a while.

The problem with the way websites are designed and developed currently is that they aren’t responsive to the current trends, content or Google updates. So while your website will perform amazingly for around a year, it will slowly decline into redundancy after around 4 four years. So how can we solve this problem after already investing so much into your website?

• Continually spend more on it to try and extend its lifespan?

• Have a new one every year?

• Take a different approach to design in the beginning?

That’s right! You take a different approach to designing your website! This is where Growth Driven Design (GDD) comes in - but what is it I hear you ask!

What it is

GDD is a new and unique methodology that can be used to help grow your website in an impactful and meaningful way, and does this through a continuous development process.

The process can be boiled down into 5 easy steps:

1) Strategy

2) Wishlist

3) Develop

4) Review

5) Repeat

Or SWDRR for short - OK, maybe an acrostic isn’t right for this.

This continued process will make sure your website is constantly up-to-date and performing at its best, unlike websites of the past.

How it works

Unlike a traditional web project, GDD starts you off smaller with essential, considered components, rather than an expansive website. This is called a ‘launchpad website’ and is there to help you keep control of your site, what users see and how they interact with your company.

It sounds like a terrible idea, to not have all the information and pages on your website to start with. But it isn’t about restricting information and leaving your leads not knowing what it is they are looking at, it is about giving leads the information they NEED quickly and concisely.

You do this by first entering the strategy stage.

This is where you look at the current website, how it is performing and any user research you have currently so you can plan out your web goals and personas. After creating these strategic points you will then need to create a wishlist of items that you want on your new website and rate them starting with 1 and going until you run of items or numbers.

By creating this wishlist and referencing it to your strategy you will start to see what you really need to have on the website and what you don’t need right away. The items on this list could be:

• Key impactful website sections and pages

• Marketing assets, tools and resources

• Specific features, modules and functionality

• Design elements

• Changes in experience based on devices, country, etc.

You should come out with a list of between 50-250+ items for your site. Not all of these will be implemented right away but will be sorted into priorities for the initial launch pad website and for the continuous improvement cycle.

The next stage is to start designing and developing your launchpad website. This will contain a selection of items from your wishlist and will be a base on which to improve on, it will be a full website, but should have room to grow. You need to see the launchpad as the beginning of the website, not the final product unlike in other web design methodologies.

You then review the website after a month and see what has happened, how it’s performed and where it needs to improve. This is an essential part of the continuous development process and should be done properly.

Once you have seen all the stats, you need to go back to the start of the process. Now you have more data on launchpad site, you can adjust your strategy and wishlist to match what you want to achieve. You then spend time developing the next items on your wishlist, this might be a new page or you might want to improve on an existing page, you need to see where the most impact will be made and decide.

Why use it

So you have a basic understanding of the process now, but why should you use it? It seems like a lot of work, right?

The benefits of running a GDD website are:

Smaller up-front cost - by creating a smaller launchpad website, you reduce the initial time it takes to create such a large website.

Faster launch time - Again because of the smaller size there is less initial development time needed, making sure your website is going as soon as it can be, this is perfect for smaller or new business.

Keeps within budget - Because of the nature of the continuous improvement cycle, you can spend as much or as little as you want. Just bear in mind that the less you spend, the less time will be devoted to keeping the website performing well.

Performance driven - GDD is all about making your website have maximum impact, so you know your website will always be performing its best.

Agile - The focus of your website can be changed quickly to fit your marketing and business.

I like to think of GDD over traditional web design like this:

Traditional web design is like buying a car. When that car runs out of petrol, you buy a new car.

Growth Driven Design is like buying a car but you keep topping it up with petrol and giving it regular services - it just makes sense.

What do you think to the Growth Driven Design Methodology? Let us know on Twitter: @TwoGuysCreative