Out of the three phases of Growth Driven Design, the planning/strategy phase is arguably the most important.
If not done properly, you’re blindly diving into the project with no clear understanding of why you’re doing it, who you’re creating the site for, or even how to know if you’re successful at the end.
I’ve created this step-by-step guide to planning out your project and building yourself a strategy to move forward with.
"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning."
- Winston Churchill
Why do you need a redesign?
This question is the first thing you need to ask yourself because it lays the foundation for the whole project.
We hear all to often people say they need a redesign to make their site look "modern" or "simple". Though these are design styles to aim for, they won't help you actually achieve your goals. So if you think you need to redesign your site, you need to think about what your site's problems are.
If you’re not sure, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Is your site bringing in the amount of traffic you were hoping for?
- Is your site converting as expected?
- How long do people stay on your site? Are they repeat visitors?
- Is your website being used properly in your marketing efforts?
Once you understand why you need to redesign your site, you can move on to setting some goals.
What are my goals?
Maybe you’ve decided that you need a redesign because your current site isn’t converting. You have a decent amount of traffic but for some reason, no one wants to fill out your form or click your calls-to-action.
Now we know what areas to focus on improving, so we need to set some goals. These goals need to be SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
In this case, some solid goals would be:
- Optimize my top-of-funnel activities to only bring quality traffic to my site
- Improve conversions by 5% in the first 3 months of the first launch
- Create one new piece of gated content a month with an open rate of 25%
If you know what needs improvement and set goals that can be measured, with continuous improvements, you'll see a lot of success.
Who are my personas?
You can’t create a successful site if you don’t know who exactly you’re targeting. Who actually visits your site? Who does your content speak to? What do you actually know about them? In order to make great, relevant content, you need to know their interests, goals, challenges, etc.
How do we create our personas? Create a profile with the following criteria:
- Demographics - age, education level, location,
- Role - level of responsibility, skills, and knowledge
- Goals - what does it mean for them to be successful in their role and how can you help them?
- Challenges - what problems do they typically face and how can you help overcome them?
- Watering holes - Where do they go to learn? What blogs do they follow? Where can you find them on social media?
Create a handful of personas and use them when creating copy for your site or content offers. Now you’ll know where to find your audience how to twist your content to make it more appealing.
Research and test assumptions
Now we move into planning the site. There are a lot of details to iron out before starting: colors, layouts, features, API integrations, etc.
Let’s start with your existing site. Do we really need to redesign it or could we use it as a launchpad and take off from there? The answer really depends on how your visitors are engaging with it. Analytics will give us an idea on how successful the site is.
From there, we could move on to the features and APIs we’ll use to make them work. Are certain features really proving their worth on your existing site? Could you do with out on certain pieces? This is another area that analytics could shed some light on. We should always start with the minimum viable product, just the site necessities and build from there. The wise move would be allocating hours toward proven features.
Map the user’s journey
You have the moment a visitor lands on your site and the visitor completed a call to action and converting to a lead. What we need to do is map out how they are going to move through the process. This is the backbone of journey driven design.
Let’s start with how they arrive at your site. Are they finding you organically, through social media, through another site? Regardless, they will find their way to your landing page. Through research and testing, we can optimize the CTA to make it more noticeable and compelling, but maybe they came to your site to learn. In that case, the buyer journey may be to cycle through some of your blogs. This is good but we need to create a path that will lead them through your blogs, and ultimately to a CTA that matches their needs according to their persona whether it be a consultation, gated content, etc.
It doesn’t end at the CTA though. From there, when you have their email, you’ll want to push content that they’ll be interested in. You can decide on this based on the pages they visited on your site or their general interests.
So to map a user’s journey successfully, you’ll need to really know your personas and user behavior when people come to your site. From there we’ll create several different ideal paths visitors will follow all leading to a call to action tailored to the path/visitor.
We've covered a lot here. By going through and really thinking about these points, you're starting your project off on the right foot.
If you think this strategy could help you, grab your free download of our Growth Driven Design Playbook below.