So you’ve been given the daunting task of re-doing your company’s website. It’s probably outdated, lacks certain features, isn’t performing as it should, or doesn’t portray the company in the correct light. Possibly all of the above. There’s two ways to approach a website redesign. We’ll show you the best option.
Jeff Lambert: 00:01 So, you've been given the daunting task of redoing your company's website. It's probably outdated, lacks certain features, or isn't performing as well as it should, and it doesn't really portray your company in the best light. It could possibly be all of these, and there's two ways that you can approach how to design this website. We'll show you the best option to save you time and resources.
Jeff Lambert: 00:30 Hi, everybody and welcome to Inbound Academy brought to you by Rizen. I'm your host, Jeff Lambert. Building and redesigning a website is a daunting task, especially for small business owners, but there are methods you can use that will help you do things right the first time, and keep a website that customers are going to continuously love. So, to discuss how to go about that I've invited creative director Nichole Mena. She's here to talk about growth driven design. Nichole, how are you?
Nichole Mena: 01:00 I'm doing great, Jeff. How about you?
Jeff Lambert: 01:00 I'm doing well, thank you. So you have designed a lot of websites over the years.
Nichole Mena: 01:06 Okay.
Speaker 3: 01:09 Sorry. [inaudible 00:01:12].
Nichole Mena: 01:11 Oh.
Speaker 3: 01:12 Excuse me.
Jeff Lambert: 01:16 I got to remember to cut this in post. We're going to have like a weird transition in the middle of the episode.
Nichole Mena: 01:25 It keeps going down, huh?
Speaker 3: 01:28 No, I think that thing was loose is the problem. This guy's that white box, which is the fiber.
Jeff Lambert: 01:37 Do you need me to move out of my chair?
Speaker 3: 01:38 Which [crosstalk 00:01:38]. No, no. That's fine. As long as that moves is the problem.
Jeff Lambert: 01:38 Oh, well we'll ...
Speaker 3: 01:39 Just try not to move it.
Nichole Mena: 01:39 It's not ...
Speaker 3: 01:39 Still behind you. And there. Okay, we're better.
Jeff Lambert: 02:12 Take two.
Nichole Mena: 02:13 Okay.
Jeff Lambert: 02:13 We're going to pick up right where I left off.
Nichole Mena: 02:18 Sure.
Jeff Lambert: 02:20 Here we go. You're trained in how to be able to design a website, you know best practices. And when I think of designing website that scares me a little bit because I don't have that same experience, and I feel like web design used to be, at least, such a complicated process. Is that still the same when it comes to designing a website today?
Nichole Mena: 02:46 Well, really web design has changed so much in the past 20 odd years. Not too long ago a specialist with a college degree was a company's only option to build really an attractive functional website, but nowadays, thanks to so many platforms there's Squarespace, there's Wix, and of course WordPress, an awesome company website can be made by really anyone with a basic understanding of design principles. So, that's the great news. So, you really have no excuse for building something that's going to work well for your company.
Jeff Lambert: 03:23 Sure. Having a website, I mean, it's a requirement nowadays, really.
Nichole Mena: 03:29 It definitely is. It's your online salesperson, if you will.
Jeff Lambert: 03:33 Sure. So, even someone who just has a basic understanding, they're comfortable with the internet, they know some basic design principles you can at least throw something basic together.
Nichole Mena: 03:41 That's right, yeah.
Jeff Lambert: 03:42 So, let's talk about, I guess, best practice then. Say I am a small business owner, I want to set up a new website, or I want to redesign a website that maybe I took over, or that I created a few years ago, and it just needs a refresh. What are my options if I want to sit down and kind of come out with a plan to do the website again?
Nichole Mena: 04:02 Sure. So, really there are two basic approaches, or main approaches, to redesigning. One is more the traditional approach, which is what most people know. It's basically traditional web design project, that person or group working in a small window of time, and they create and polish the websites in your liking.
Jeff Lambert: 04:24 So, you've got like an agency they say, "We're going to give you a website with 10 pages in 60 days."
Nichole Mena: 04:29 That's right.
Jeff Lambert: 04:29 Okay.
Nichole Mena: 04:30 Yeah. So, the process is typically repeated every three years or so. Like you build a website and nobody touches it for three years, and then say, "Okay. Now it's time for a refresh." And they start from scratch. So, that's basically what people have known, and have been doing for since I can remember. So, the process can provide a full website quickly, but it can also waste time and resources because it's either creating things you don't need, or it doesn't meet the interest of your visitors or customers, or requires really heavy updating on a regular basis just to keep it relevant and fresh.
Jeff Lambert: 05:12 Sure. And that's the process that I think I'm familiar with in working with different organizations. And you're right like you roll out this nice new website, it's got a page for each service, and it looks nice because you've got this brand spanking new site. But then how are customers going to interact with it? Is it going to stay the same, like you said, from year one to year three so every time a customer goes back to the website it's basically-
Nichole Mena: 05:36 The same thing.
Jeff Lambert: 05:36 The same thing, right? That's not something, I think, modern generations like. We like to see change. We're the social media microwave generation.
Nichole Mena: 05:44 That's true.
Jeff Lambert: 05:45 So, is there a better way to approach planning out your website?
Nichole Mena: 05:48 Sure. So, there's also another approach, and something that we put into practice, which is called growth driven design, GDD for short. So, it's pretty much a gradual multi step approach. It doesn't try to build a city over night, if you will, instead it really takes time to plan things out, and build a few streets a little at a time.
Jeff Lambert: 06:10 Got it. I like the analogy.
Nichole Mena: 06:12 So, the process is slower, but it really guarantees a website that meets the needs of the customers, which is what you want, and is pretty straight forward, and you can budget for it over time as well.
Jeff Lambert: 06:28 Got it. So, it's less of a full roll out, and more of like a gradual process?
Nichole Mena: 06:33 Exactly.
Jeff Lambert: 06:33 Okay. So, let's jump into that a little bit. GDD, growth driven design. Can you give us kind of a blueprint for how to approach that?
Nichole Mena: 06:40 Sure. Sure. So, really GDD happens in two phases. Usually it can take about 10 to 12 months to complete. The cycle repeats itself each time it comes to an end too, so it keeps building on and creating new iterations depending on certain parameters that you're testing for. So, in phase one a company will use facts and feedback to build kind of like your master plan of all the pages and features a website should have. And then usually in the first month a company will roll out what we call a launchpad website, and it's just basic information about the company. Just enough to establish an online presence-
Jeff Lambert: 07:23 So, kind of like one page [crosstalk 00:07:25]
Nichole Mena: 07:25 Like a one page, sometimes a couple of pages just the basics to make sure that you have that online presence-
Jeff Lambert: 07:32 Got it.
Nichole Mena: 07:32 And people flowing to the website.
Jeff Lambert: 07:33 So, that's phase of a two phase process, and you-
Nichole Mena: 07:36 That's right.
Jeff Lambert: 07:37 Do that like immediately at the beginning?
Nichole Mena: 07:38 That's immediate right. Usually within the first 30 days.
Jeff Lambert: 07:40 Okay. Got it. So, you said it's a 10 to 12 month process. Phase one's automatically out of the way?
Nichole Mena: 07:45 Right.
Jeff Lambert: 07:46 What are you spending the other eight to 10 months doing?
Nichole Mena: 07:49 Right. So, after that basic set up is up and running the next nine to 11 months is all about adding to the site based on the master plan that you set up. So, the master plan is just a rough outline. At the end of each month you're going to sit down, and take four steps. So, the first is you want to plan. You want to review the website performance, identify what website features are working best, and plan new features based on what works. Right?
Jeff Lambert: 08:20 So, you're building what is working as opposed to building the-
Nichole Mena: 08:27 Just guessing.
Jeff Lambert: 08:27 Whole house and hoping someone likes it?
Nichole Mena: 08:29 Right.
Jeff Lambert: 08:29 Got it.
Nichole Mena: 08:29 Exactly.
Jeff Lambert: 08:30 Okay.
Nichole Mena: 08:30 The second step is to develop. So, you're going to implement those new features that you've outlined, right?
Jeff Lambert: 08:35 Okay.
Nichole Mena: 08:36 The third is learn. So, you're going to review the data throughout the month to see what's working and what's not.
Jeff Lambert: 08:42 Okay. Makes sense.
Nichole Mena: 08:43 Yep. And then the last step is to transfer. So, you're going to use the information on that the website is collecting, and use it to grow other parts of your business as well.
Jeff Lambert: 08:53 Okay. So, this is more than just a website. You're taking kind of a just data driven approach.
Nichole Mena: 08:58 Yes. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: 08:58 Try a little bit, see if it works, if it works roll it out everywhere you can. Just keep adding the blocks to the-
Nichole Mena: 09:05 That's right.
Jeff Lambert: 09:06 Building.
Nichole Mena: 09:06 And then you can inform other parts of your business too. So, that, let's say, the sales team really wants to know what your customers are doing online, and that's a great way to, that last step, transfer information to other departments in your company.
Jeff Lambert: 09:19 Sure. You know what? I'm just thinking, so GDD you're starting off slow and you're building, so I think that would be exciting to me as a customer because every time I go back to the website there's something new that maybe I can interact with, there may be a new feature that's being offered. But do you think, in your experience, is there a danger there too where like if I go to check out a product's website, and there's one page I may think like, "Oh. This is kind of like they're not a big time company, or maybe they don't have everything together." In your experience is that maybe a reaction that happens?
Nichole Mena: 09:47 I mean, I guess it could be a reaction. But at the same time if you have just the pertinent information there, and you're seeing a constant evolution I've never seen website performance go down or anything like that just from that.
Jeff Lambert: 10:03 And I guess, I mean, if you have one or two pages that doesn't mean it looks unprofessional.
Nichole Mena: 10:06 That's right.
Jeff Lambert: 10:07 It's still going to look good-
Nichole Mena: 10:08 Of course.
Jeff Lambert: 10:08 It just may not be as expansive, but at least the stuff you're adding is going to be beneficial in the long run.
Nichole Mena: 10:14 Absolutely. Yeah.
Jeff Lambert: 10:14 So, let's jump into the beneficial side of this. The process makes sense. Can you explain maybe some overall benefits of using the growth driven design method?
Nichole Mena: 10:25 Yeah, sure. So, there's really four main benefits of using this GDD approach. The first pretty much the cost is for not overtime. You're not dishing out 5000 dollars in the beginning even if you split it. Sometimes company's will charge half up front, and half at the end. So, there's that cost savings in the beginning. Instead of building 12 pages with four videos in two months, which it can really cost thousands of dollars, so you can pay a little bit each month for a handful of thought out features, which is great.
Jeff Lambert: 10:56 Okay. That makes sense.
Nichole Mena: 10:59 You can also launch a quick site, and then you can make constant improvements to it. So, really making sure the customer's always getting more, like you said, not less. They're seeing the evolution over time. And a traditional approach may give you a bigger site at launch, but it takes a really long time to roll out. At least three months usually.
Jeff Lambert: 11:18 Yeah. That's true. Okay.
Nichole Mena: 11:22 Another great benefit is that all the decisions you make about what to add to your site are really based on data. So, the research is what guides the plan, which is great.
Nichole Mena: 11:34 And then lastly, the website is always continuously improving instead of staying in the same state for two or three years, and then tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch.
Jeff Lambert: 11:45 Yeah. That makes a lot of sense, and it's one of those things that you probably don't think about it till the year, and like, "Well, that is a cost effective approach." Do you see large companies using GDD more nowadays?
Nichole Mena: 11:57 Yes. Mostly large that really understand the big picture of how customers thinking evolves, and how a website should evolve based on customer feedback, and things like that. So, it's definitely the best approach.
Jeff Lambert: 12:11 And, I guess just circling back to the beginning, if I'm a small business owner I don't have a degree in web design, and I'm using, like you said, Squarespace or Wix the tools don't necessarily determine my ability to use GDD. I can use GDD, growth driven design, no matter what software or tools I'm using.
Nichole Mena: 12:29 Sure. Sure. You can always apply the basics of GDD even to one of those basic websites that you create in house.
Jeff Lambert: 12:37 Got it. Got it.
Jeff Lambert: 12:38 So, to our listeners there's really no reason why you shouldn't start either building website or redesigning your website, and just, as Nicole said, taking an incremental approach to making it something that's useful instead of just wasting your money on building something that you're not going to touch-
Nichole Mena: 12:54 Right. Absolutely.
Jeff Lambert: 12:54 For a long period of time.
Jeff Lambert: 12:56 Well, Nicole, thank you very much. I think this has been a great thing to learn about-
Nichole Mena: 12:59 Yeah. Thanks Jeff.
Jeff Lambert: 12:59 Just approaching website design.
Nichole Mena: 13:01 Great.
Jeff Lambert: 13:02 All right. And thank you for joining us for another episode, and remember you can always tune in every week and see a new episode, and we're always willing to make sure that we fill it with advice that will help you grow your business. And remember if you're looking to partner with a company that can help advance your marketing and sales efforts, or even your design efforts, in that sense, there's an experienced and friendly end results driven team that can help you, and that's Rizen. And you can see more about what they offer and what they do by going to their website at gorizen.com.