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What Is The Growth-Driven Design Methodology?

By Melanie Moore

What Is The Growth-Driven Design Methodology?

If you’re like a lot of digital marketers, you’ve heard a lot about growth-driven design without ever learning much about what it really is. Sound familiar? Now’s the perfect time to change that!

So what is growth-driven website design?

Growth-driven design (GDD) is a methodology that uses a steady, systematic approach to create continuous growth. This is done in three primary phases.

The Phases of Growth-Driven Design
Phase One: Strategy

The first phase of growth-driven design begins with a thorough audit of your existing site. Take stock of what’s working, what’s not and where significant improvements can be made. In addition to helping guide your initial revisions, an upfront audit will also provide accurate benchmarks against which to judge your site’s progress moving forward.

From there, the Strategy stage of GDD involves the following steps:

  • Performing User Experience Research: This takes the initial audit a step further, incorporating user testing, surveys and interviews to deepen and color your understanding of how users interact with your site and how they think it could better meet their needs.
  • Setting SMART Goals: What are the ideal metrics you’d like to see improved? Organic traffic? Lead conversions? Something else? Set specific, measureable goals to help clearly define the results you’re looking for.
  • Building or Revising Buyer Personas and Journeys: If you’ve done any inbound marketing at all, then you’ve already got personas in place and buyers journeys mapped out. But these should be revisited and revised regularly. The Strategy phase of GDD presents the perfect opportunity to do so.

Once all this has been accomplished, you can create a wishlist of the most important features you’d like your new site to have. Your wishlist could include bolder calls-to-action, content that’s more acutely aligned with your buyer’s journey or more intuitive navigation. Whatever you think can’t wait for later should be on your wishlist.

Tip: Use an 80/20 rule to help pare down your wishlist to the essentials—what’s the 20% of items that will produce 80% of the impact for your site’s users?

"#GDD wishlist items fall into 4 groups—expected impact, required effort, impacted metrics & definition of completion" TWEET THIS

Phase Two: Launchpad

A “launch pad” site is one built with your wishlist in mind. Launch pad sites are made with a relatively quick turnaround and the understanding that it’s not yet a finished product.

The launch pad site is completely functional for the end user, but it should be thought of as a working base to build on and optimize over time.

Once your launch pad site is live you can begin tracking user behavior and start the process of ongoing optimization.

Phase Three: Continuous Improvement

This is the longest-term phase of the growth-driven design, where the site is refined and improved over time.

The process has four basic steps that repeat continuously, building on past improvements and lessons for steady growth:

  • Plan: Measure your site’s effectiveness and decide what changes can have the best, most immediate impact on your long-term goals.
  • Build: Implement the changes that you outlined in step 1.
  • Learn: Review the effectiveness of your past changes to learn what works and to help guide the next iteration of the improvement process.
  • Transfer: Take what you’ve learned and share it with the rest of your team—marketing, sales, service and others.

The growth-driven design methodology also features a “Website Hierarchy” that can help guide designers by outlining which aspects of the site should take priority for improvement.

Growth-Driven Design Vs. Traditional Web Design

How does this process differ from a more traditional web design paradigm? A traditional web design timeline looks something like this:

  • A business realizes that their site is old, out-of-date or just underperforming. A website redesign is needed.
  • After some bureaucratic delay, a designer or agency is hired to revamp the site. They spend a few months building the new site more or less from scratch.
  • The new site is launched.
  • A few years pass, and the process is repeated.

This is a reactive model that’s costly, time-consuming and often produces poor results. GDD, on the other hand, is proactive and works by optimizing the site in real-time to better meet the needs of marketing and sales.

Looking at the two side by side, it’s not hard to imagine GDD outperforming the more traditional approach. In case you still need convincing though, there are statistics to make the case as well.

According to the 2017 State of Growth-Driven Design Report, “agencies that used Growth-Driven Design reported seeing 16.9% more leads after 6 months [and] 11.2% more revenue.”

Growth-driven design is just one part of a wholistic inbound marketing strategy, but it can be particularly effective. Done right, GDD synthesizes the best of what inbound offers—focus on the end user and the drive to never settle for good enough.

Free: Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?
Take this free 6 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.


Web Design
Published on January 26, 2018

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