How improvement cycles will help your web project

Michael Gabrian

by Michael Gabrian on 05/04/2017

What happens when you build something amazing but fail to maintain it? Well, a few things could happen: it will probably become obsolete or dated pretty quickly, maybe it will run itself down, or maybe in a few months it just won't be so amazing anymore.

The same idea applies to traditional web design. You redesign your site to make it "look better" rather than letting it grow with your users and you automatically give your site a lifespan of about 2 years before you need to invest another 30-40K in a new one.

Let's talk about continuous improvement cycles and why they might be a necessity in web design.

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."

- Benjamin Franklin

Think of these improvement cycles with the 5 why's technique in mind. After a release, what went well? Why? What went wrong? Why? If you continually break something down with "why's", you'll begin to understand the real problem and know how to really improve your site.

That real, underlying problem is where to begin improving for the next release. Why haven't you hit your goal yet and how can we move in the right direction?

Steps

Generally, there are 4 major steps involved in each release.

  • Learn - analyze user behavior and enjoy the little wins your site has achieved so far
  • Execute - after we've seen how visitors interact with your site, we can design, build, and release new features and updates for further optimization
  • Inform - let all parts of your business know of the info we're finding and progress we're making
  • Iterate - the improvement phase should go on continuously as long as your company grows

This process allows for ongoing, smart, and seamless improvements to your site. When following this general process, there are priorities that we need to keep in mind. Think of it like a checklist that provides a guide for where you should be focusing. When followed, it will provide the strongest outcomes.

Priority levels

Once the first version of your site is released, there is an overwhelming amount of next steps that make sense to move on to. Do we start with keyword research? Do we begin building landing pages? What about blogging? Where do we start?

It's crucial to have a process after your release. You can't create successful landing pages if you don't have the traffic coming in, and you can't start thinking about the next features you want to add to your site without knowing how successful the ones you have now are performing and why.

We follow a strict checklist of items to follow so that the team always moves in the right direction. Through doing this, our expectations become clear and we'll know exactly how each stage needs to be tracked. Let's briefly run through each phase.

Traffic

The first thing to focus on is getting at least 3,000 new visitors a month. Have you thought about who you're targeting? How are you targeting your ideal audience. 

Helpful content

Once you've hit the target number of visitors per month, it's best to begin creating some content for the middle/bottom of your funnel. The idea is to create great content offers that your visitors will find helpful and useful.

Usability

Now that you have the quality traffic, it's time to optimize your user interface/user experience. You'll want to refine your usability and accessibility.

Conversion path

Are your visitors following the appropriate path? Are they interacting with your site? How can we shorten or optimize the conversion path and call to actions?

Returning visitors

Do your visitors come to your site once and never return? How many visitors do come back? What are someways we can increase the number of repeat visitors?

Dynamic content

How can we take your content to the next level? I mean really personalize it for your returning visitors.

Additional features

What other services, integrations, or features can we add to the site to even better serve your visitors?

Inspiring referrals

What will it take to convince your customers to spread the word about your services and maximize referrals?

To conclude

By creating a continuous improvement process, you create a way for your site to adapt to your visitors as they learn and grow. You won't remain stagnant for 2 years and drop another massive sum on money when it comes time for another redesign. You'll grow with your audience. 

If you want a more detailed idea of this process, click the button below for our FREE growth driven design ebook.

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