Instead of redesigning a website by initiating a giant project every few years, the continuous improvement stage of Growth-Driven Design allows businesses to make make gradual improvements over time. This stage of the process never ends, but operates in monthly cycles. Thus, the website becomes a dynamic tool for your growing business.
Companies are never static. Over time, they will grow and change in sometimes unexpected ways. Changes in a company’s direction, strategy, branding, or industry often leave their website outdated. This can put companies in an awkward spot.
Do they want to deal with the monster that is a website redesign? Or should they put it off and live with an outdated website that can sometimes hinder the company more than it is helping. Neither of these options sound appealing, do they? This has been a problem that has plagued companies since the beginning of the internet.
Growth-Driven Design aims to solve this problem by quickly launching a redesigned website that will look and perform better than your current one. But the bread and butter happens after the initial launch of the new website. Once the new website is live, the real improvements can be made during the continuous improvement stage of Growth-Driven Design.
Continuous improvement allows the developers to continuously monitor the effectiveness of your website and gather data on how it is performing. With this data, they can make decisions on how they can improve your website to bring in more traffic and convert more leads.
This method allows websites to become agile and adapt to the company as it changes and grows. No longer will the website be an afterthought or dreaded project that comes along whenever a major change happens. Instead it will become a dynamic tool for business and allow the company to stay on the cutting edge of their industry.
Unlike the strategy and launch phases of Growth-Driven Design, the continuous improvement stage has no real end to it. There are always improvements that can be made to drive better performance from your website. Whether it be optimizing existing items on your website or implementing new ones, continuous improvement allows for flexibility while keeping your website up to date.
Growth-Driven Design is centered around the idea of continuously collecting data from users and making informed decisions on how to best improve the website using that information. Both the strategy stage of Growth-Driven Design and the continuous improvement stage rely heavily on the collection of user data to make meaningful improvements.
A company's website should be created for their clients and buyers. Without knowing how clients interact with the website, any new implementations or fixes are based on assumptions and industry “best practices”. These may be fine from time to time, but are often a shot in the dark and run the risk of not connecting with the correct audience.
Using data given to you by the clients is a sure-fire way to create a website that they will connect with. It will become a resource they will gravitate towards in the future.
Every quarter of the continuous improvement stage, a summit will be held with the development team and any stakeholders. Rather than a meeting, this should be an open and engaging conversation about the website. This allows for a collaborative process in which everyone can give their insight about the project.
To begin, discuss what was achieved in the previous quarter and what was learned. Again, this should not be a formal meeting. Instead of throwing on a slideshow about how the metrics of the website changed, have a conversation about it. Make sure everyone understands what caused improvement in some areas and decline in others.
Transparency and understanding is key during these meetings. No one will benefit from withholding information; doing so will actually hold progress back. Making sure everyone is informed and on the same page allows the team to work together as a collective group and create the best plan to move forward.
After the previous quarter has been discussed and learnings have been shared, develop a plan for the next quarter. When developing a plan, decide on the priorities for next quarter.
Whether it be converting more leads, increasing overall traffic, or implementing new features, deciding on the theme for the quarter will provide direction to the upcoming months. Once a general theme for the quarter has been decided upon, the group can begin to discuss what can be done to best achieve that theme.
Consider what actions can be done to achieve these goals and brainstorm a list of implementations or items that need to be reworked. Choose some ideas from the list to be the focus of sprint cycles. Each idea should be assigned to a sprint cycle and a plan for what should be accomplished and when should be flushed out.
Taking the time to plan everything out during these summits streamlines the whole process. Now there is no waiting for idea approvals or bouncing emails back and forth over the course of a few days. Instead everything can be discussed and approved in person so everyone leaves with a clear understanding of the goals and expectations.
When it is finally time to start adding in the new site features or improving old ones, it can feel a bit daunting. Even with a plan, having a list of dozens of tasks can be overwhelming for anyone.
Sprint cycles provide guidance and break down the massive to-do list into small, bite-sized tasks that can be focused on one at a time by the whole team. Each cycle should be a bi-weekly process where the whole team swarms on a single task and gets it done quickly and effectively.
Each sprint cycle can be broken down into four key steps: plan, build, learn, and transfer:
During the plan step, user data should be reviewed and the focus for the sprint cycle should be set. If needed, conduct additional user testing and create a plan for how the sprint cycle should run.
The build step is a focused and collaborative attack on the items that need to be implemented. During this step, everyone will work together to create any content, features, or items needed. Use the information and data from the plan step to efficiently and effectively develop or optimize features of the website.
Once the deliverable has been developed and the build step is complete, the team can start collecting data once it is live. Learn how it is affecting the website and metrics. Is it having the impact you wanted? Why or why not?
This is the time to analyze the information and learn from it. Maybe the CTA was not getting the results you initially hoped for, but after moving it to a different location, you learn it generates more leads. Take the information you just learned and use it to influence future decisions. In the future, you may think twice about where to put certain elements and make an informed decision.
Now that the items have been implemented and data has been collected, share what you learned with the rest of the team. Remember that transparency is what allows for the best team work.
Share all of your findings regardless of how insignificant you may think they are. Someone else may benefit from that knowledge. Every little bit helps and you never know what you may need in the future.
Just because the sprint cycle is over does not mean the job is done. There is always something that can be improved. Work your way down the list and implement items that may not have been critical for launch but would still be a nice feature for the site and improve the performance.
Generally, the goal should be to implement items that will have the most impact and push the website to its goals. Whether it be optimizing a landing page or giving the website a fresh new coat of paint, there is always something that can be improved to make your user’s experience an enjoyable one.