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My Growth Driven Design Tool Box

Dec 11, 2015
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growth driven design tool boxIf you’ve spent anytime on my blog or site, you’ve probably seen something about Growth Driven Design. If you’re not sure what Growth Driven Design is, you can learn more about it here. I have had a number of people ask me about the tools I use in my process. Below I will give you a “peek under the hood” at the tools I use, why I use them and give some insight into how I use them.


Any good website has to have a solid foundation. Hubspot functions not only as my marketing software, but is also my website host and COS. When I moved into Growth Driven Design, I moved my site from my own server and switched to the Hubspot COS. I want to be very clear on one thing. I did not make this move because of Wordpress. I love Wordpress and develop most of my clients sites using their CMS. I moved my site to Hubspot for two main reasons. First, I wanted to have my site pages, landing pages and blog all under one roof. Second, I wanted to deliver more personalized content to my visitors by using Hubspot’s smart content feature. There are a few other benefits to using the Hubspot COS which you can read about here.


Since Growth Driven Design is all about the user you have to have a way to see how your users are using your site in real time. That’s where Hotjar comes in. It’s basically real life user testing. This awesome tool does a lot, but here are the two features I use the most.

  • Heatmaps: The Heatmaps tool shows me where my visitors clicked, and not just on links. It shows me their mouse movement and how they scrolled on the page. These 3 insights alone can give you a ton of information on how your users interact with your site.
  • Recordings: Want to see exactly what your users saw? The Hotjar recording feature lets you replay how your visitor viewed your site. It shows where they are from, how many pages they visited, what device they were on and then gives you a playback of their visit.

Hotjar also has some other great features like Funnels, which help you see where your users fall off, Forms and a variety of Feedback tools.

You can sign up For Hotjar for free here. 

Google Analytics:

Google has backed up their push for better UX by giving developers better tools. Google Analytics tells way more of the story than we give them credit for. Most of what I read online about GA is about the amount of information Google doesn’t give us, but what if we focused on what they are giving us? It’s actually very insightful.

  • Active Users: While this is still in beta, it’s a pretty nifty little tool. It helps us to better understand the level of interest of our visitors. The data can help you determine if you are targeting the right audience. 
  • Cohort Analysis: This tool is also in beta, but again very cool. This helps us better understand the behavior of smaller groups of our visitors. This tool has a lot of uses, but for Growth Driven Design it helps us see the behavior of specific groups of users over time. This helps us make better decisions on how the site needs to function to increase or maintain engagement.
  • Demographics: This is pretty self explanatory, but understanding the age and gender of your audience is helpful. For us, we target small to mid-size business owners and entrepreneurs. If a lot of our traffic and engagement is coming form 18 year olds, we need to change something.
  • Interests: This tool will help give you a better idea of who your audience is and what they are in to. Understanding your Buyer Personas is key to creating a Growth Driven website. Google Analytics give us a peek into who they are and what they like. This also let’s us know if we have the right traffic.


This is the newest tool in my tool box and one that I am really excited about. While I already wrote up a case study on my first week with Brightinfo that details all the features I love about this tool (you can read that here), here I will share briefly how I use it for Growth Driven Design.

Goals are a big part of GDD. One of my main goals was increasing conversions. I wanted to do this by adding dynamic, personalized experience for my site users. Using the Brightinfo CRO I am able to not just add this to my site, but track what content is working in moving visitors towards conversion and what content is not. I then can tweak my content based on my users and what they are telling me they want.

Pen, Paper & Evernote:

Sometimes the best way to work through your thoughts is to write them down. Not on a computer, but with a pen and some paper. This is something I have learned this year and man has it been helpful. If I can sketch my thoughts, scribbled all of the things I am thinking and finding out about my site on paper, I get more involved in the process. I get to feel my way through the process instead of typing away like a robot. Then, I go back and organize my thoughts in Evernote. I create “To Do” lists and prioritize them.  

Today we have access to so much information and there are some amazing tools out there that didn’t make my tool box. The reason is not because they aren’t good, I just don’t use them. Every artist has his preferred paint brush; every mechanic has her favorite wrench. These are the tools I use everyday to help me accomplish the work I love to do.

SEO Tool and Inbound Marketing Tools That Actually Work

If you have a great tool out there that’s not on my list, I’d love to hear about it! Comment below and share a little more about it.

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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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