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A Smarter Alternative to the Traditional Website Redesign Process

Oct 2, 2015
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 website redesign process - growth driven design

If you’re like many business owners, every two years or so, you shell out thousands of dollars and spend countless hours of your precious time towards the redesign of your business' website. If you’re lucky, the project is finished within 3 months and hopefully your users are pleased with the changes you’ve made. Just like you, I found that my agency was in this same cycle. While we may be able to build our own site, the process itself is still very frustrating and time consuming. Worse yet, many of the changes we wanted to make were based on trends at that moment, not user data.

Two months ago we decided we were done with the traditional website redesign process and opted for a better, smarter solution. So far, embracing growth driven design has proven to be a very good decision. By creating a website that changes, adapts and grows to our users' needs and wants, we now have a website that never gets dull and always gets better. We are no longer just hoping our redesign works or chasing the latest trend. We have a living and breathing, growth driven website that is constantly being tested by real users in a real world environment. This eliminates the guessing game and arms our inbound marketing agency with data straight from the people we are looking to serve.

The Results After 2 Months of Growth Driven Design

In August we saw our site traffic increase substantially. We did start doing some PPC, but even after removing the paid search, our traffic was way up. September continued on that trend. Based on the data from August (Read that post here), we added more content to our pages as well as a resource center to easily display all of our offers. The goal was to increase conversions and interaction with the site overall. Let’s look at a few key stats.

 Growth Driven Design Stats

Traffic up 182%, leads up 14%. Overall visits to conversion rate is still lower than I want, but that is why we are doing growth driven design!  When we transitioned into an inbound marketing agency we were only seeing about 200 visits a month to our site. At the beginning of our growth driven design journey, we were at 534 visits. Now we are over 2k. This clearly shows the power of merging the inbound marketing method with growth driven design, but that’s a post for another day.

This past month we started by focusing more on increasing the conversions on our landing pages. We made some small, but deliberate changes to the design of our landing pages. We made them much more simple, added some color and moved around some elements. Previously, users were visiting the pages, but fewer than we wanted were taking action. It seemed that the conversion elements were so plain that they were getting washed out. By adding more contrast to the conversion elements, I believe users not only take notice, but action as well. So, how did these simple design tweaks effect our landing page conversions?

 Landing Page Stats Growth Driven DesignAcross the board conversions were up on our landing pages. In some cases, by more than 1%. This will continue to be a focus for us, because with more traffic, each percentage point increased carries more weight!

Better Defining Our Audience with the Help of Google Analytics

The more you know about your users the better you can deliver your message to them. The burden of communication is on the communicator, not the audience. We place a ton of value on our buyer persona research and the more we learn and focus our persona the better. Google analytics has a ton of great data that often gets overlooked. This past month we used demographic and interest data from GA to give us a better idea of who was using our site.  

Buyer Persona Data - Growth Driven Design 

This graph shows the age range of our users. As an inbound marketing agency, we focus on helping other businesses grow and our target audience is small to mid-size business owners.  The 35-44 age group is exactly who we are targeting so it was nice to see the data back that up.

Next we looked at the interest data to learn even more about our users and how we can better create content and conversion elements that speak to them.

Buyer Persona research -  Growth Driven Design What can we learn and apply from this data? The affinity category gives us an idea of what our visitors are into. This help us develop better messaging that is focused on what speaks to them. Your message, and how well you communicate it, is essential to creating a website that converts.  

The in-market segment helps us narrow down our visitors into prospects who are researching products and actively considering buying a service or product similar to what we offer.  This helps us to see where we may have the opportunity for conversions from customers most likely to make a purchase. This data helps shape what offers we should create and how we should package and deliver those offers to see maximum results.

 Nothing Beats Real Life User Testing

Having data and tracking metrics is essential to the growth driven design process. But it’s more than just tracking the data, it’s tracking the right data and making sense of the metrics. One of my favorite tools is Hotjar. This one tool delivers so much insight for website owners. The heat maps are awesome in determining which elements are getting interaction. It tracks not only the desktop version, but the mobile as well, which we all know is extremely important. This month I focused more on another great tool inside of Hotjar, recordings. This tool captures the screen of your users so that you can watch how real users are interacting with your site!

Side note: If you're not using Hotjar, you should. Plus you can start for free, so no excuses. I don't work for them or get commisson, I just really believe in the product. Get Hotjar Here. 

Watching our users interact has definitely helped to confirm some hypotheses and question others. Mobile users seem to like the updates and have engaged with the site much more. There are a few things I still think we need to do for the landing pages to make the mobile site conversion pathway even simpler for our mobile users. It was nice to see desktop users spending more time on the content rich pages and interacting with the video we added on the home page. We plan to do more videos in the coming months.

After two months, I am officially convinced that growth driven design is not just the best option for website redesign, but the only option we will use as an agency. It just doesn’t make sense to go back to the headache of the traditional website redesign process. In order to grow, you have to narrow your focus. We know that our site and services aren’t for everyone. So as our site grows, we can make it better for those who actually want and need what we are offering. After all, isn’t it better to create an awesome experience for a few than a mediocre experience for many? 

Interested in taking your own Growth Driven Design journey? Check out this free eBook to learn how to create a website your prospects want to engage with.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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