If you have a website built for your business, chances are it will be built with WordPress. The number of advantages are far reaching by using software that is shared with millions of users. The last statistic I read was the number of websites on the internet by WordPress was over 25% and almost 1 trillion websites. There also seems to be no slowing down or being replaced by anything else, anytime soon.
With all the plugins and themes that are either free or cost very little, we can build fantastic websites that are rich in features quickly and easily. This has changed the entire industry and how website design is proposed and executed. This has caused the effect of speeding up how much web design changes over time. We now see web design standards changing every two years on the average. This has caused a ripple effect on how we much approach designing a website today vs 5 years ago. This new method is what we now refer to as Growth Driven Design.
Traditional Web Design
Looking back it seemed easier. We would put together a team of experts in their field, web designers, graphic designers, copywriters,...etc. We would take 6 months and a few hundred hours to build something beautiful. We'd send it out into the web and it would last around 5 years before we needed to redesign it.
The problem with this approach is that we know very little about how visitors would behave on the website. We wouldn't have any information about how users are clicking through our calls to action and landing pages. This makes it very difficult to prove ROI on internet marketing efforts and most business owners abandon their projects too soon.
This is why website construction is so painful. This is still one of the hardest parts of our job. I'm still a little unsure as to why but I think it's because your average person thinks they know how to design websites. The most difficult clients are the ones who want to be hands on and drive the design process. I can't even count how many times this has caused problems with the project or even killed it.
If you hire a plumber to fix your leaky sink you don't tell them how to do it. Why do you think you can tell a web designer how to design your website?
New Web Design
To solve the problem described above we need to think outside of the box and find better ways to design websites. We can't charge as much and put as much effort into a website that is only going to last 2 years. This problem has created a new way of designing websites. We need to build a stripped down version and make updates in real time based on our analysis of user behavior.
We started this process about 3 years ago. We really didn't know what we were doing then or why but it seemed like things were working better. Instead of just building a website we engaged in a retainer to deliver internet marketing results over time. The end result was much better.
Growth Driven Design (GDD)
This concept came out of Hubspot by Luke Summerfield to help agencies adapt to the new ways of approaching web design. For us this was a retronym which was describing something we were already doing. We never really built huge bloated websites that took a lot of money to build except for a couple of projects that were very painful.
In a nutshell, we deliver the website as part of an internet marketing retainer or Inbound Marketing service. This is paid monthly instead of by project which makes it easier for everybody. Our goal is to build a lightweight version of the website, get it launched, and make updates in real time.
The nice thing about Growth Driven Design is there is a smaller upfront investment and creates less stress. With a lower initial investment we are allowed to demonstrate how the process works over time.
WordPress and GDD
So how does this tie in with WordPress? Here is the best kept secret of all. Because of the development around this system we can rapidly prototype websites quickly and facilitate the launch pad website. We can buy a pro theme with all the latest design features, tweak the design for a branded look and feel, install and configure any extra features with plugins, and launch the site more quickly and easily.
Since adopting this process our success rate had gone way up. Here's why:
- We have less stressful meetings once we get buy in from the owners.
- We can deliver a great product at more affordable rates.
- We can execute better results with our internet marketing retainers.
Win, Win, Win.