Phase I - Strategy

As with traditional web design, the GDD process begins with establishing the goals and a fitting strategy to reach them. By creating buyers personas we know who we are creating a website for and what we need to serve them.

Website Audit

What follows is quantitative research through a website and analytics audit, which will explore how users find at your site, interact with it, and why they’re dropping off or bouncing.

In addition to gathering user feedback about why they visit your site and their pain points, this research will help you assess what opportunities there are to improve your user experience on the new website. It will help you see:

  • Why users come to your site
  • The value proposition they receive
  • How they’re accessing it (i.e. from their desk at work or from a mobile device, while sitting in traffic or at the mall)

Overall, you will learn why they are taking a particular action at a particular time, and be able to incorporate this insight into your global and page-specific strategy for high-performing webpages

Website Wish List

Finally, you’ll brainstorm a wish list of everything you and the client can think of to improve and increase the impact of the site, such as new modules, new design or navigation features, integrations, functionality, or additional pages.

This process starts with an 80/20 wish list, where you’ll tease out 20% of the actions that will inspire 80% of the impact.

With a nice-to-have versus must-have analysis, we move items off the list that can be phased in during the second or third monthly sprint cycle. Through this whittling-down process, we’ll arrive at your website’s core purpose—what your site is and what it is not.

Outcome phase I: The output of the strategy session is a very well-scoped project that is easy to handle for a single sprint (the launchpad)

A clear strategy drives momentum for the website launch

Davey Minkhorst

Phase II – Launchpad

The results of phase I (the scoped wishlist or minimal viable product (MVP)) will be used as the start of the launchpad phase.

A launchpad is a simple word the bare minimum you need to go live with a new website. In comparison to traditional web design, we see the launchpad as a starting point instead of the final product.

The launchpad involves the standard work you do with traditional web design:

  • Designing the content and messages
  • Information architecture
  • Wireframing and design
  • Programming and development
  • Simple UX testing

We’ll still be setting up data collection ideas during the wireframing process and check the data to ensure you’re going in the right direction. Finally, we’ll move to launch the site quickly to get the site live so you can begin collecting the user data that will inform the next step in the iterative GDD process. Ideally, this entire phase should take one month to complete.

Rounding out the phase-one process, ideas that didn’t make the first cut can be sorted into the following buckets:

Opportunities to Boost Conversion: This includes content conversion opportunities, conversion points, user-paths and flows, value propositions on the site, split testing, and A/B testing.

User Experience Improvements: There may be some overlap with conversion-boosting opportunities, but this list could include UX ideas for improved navigation and a better tagging system. It might also include better search, suggestion or filtering functionality, and the placement of user interface buttons (where they are and how they’re laid out on the site), and how the mobile user UX experience is impacted.

User-Based Personalizations: As marketers, we’ve learned the pitfalls of sending mass emails from bulk email lists. Now, we segment our lists to send different messages to different groups. Unfortunately, this strategy hasn’t been fully adopted with most websites. For customers using Hubspot, the Smart Content functionality is personalized to each user. Most marketers think Smart Content is an awesome feature, but lack a system for implementing it with clients. GDD provides that opportunity, offering a system you can study weekly or monthly on an ongoing basis so you can update your wish list and adapt your site based on user personalization, user demonstrated interest or previous actions taken by users.

Marketing Assets to Build: Just as businesses have assets such as machines or software technology, your website is your most important marketing asset. Your blog and social accounts are additional assets you can use to increase traffic and win more lead conversions from your site. Tools like Hubspot’s Marketing Grader offer a great value to the end-user who receives a detailed report, as well as Hubspot, who receives links, and increased traffic and lead flow. This is the type of marketing asset you should try to create for your customers. Marketing resources, such as the section of MOZ’s website dedicated to Google algorithm changes, is another great example. This has great value to customers and builds tremendous SEO value for MOZ.

Outcome phase 2: Launching a high conversion website/webshop in 60-90 days!

The Difference

Phase III – Continuous improvements

Phase Three of GDD focusses on iterative development/ongoing improvement & validation including monthly sprint cycles. This will require a fundamental shift in thinking from a traditional website redesign.

Your end-users — or visitors to your site — will become the focus of everything you do. You’ll need to discover how site updates will impact the user at every turn — what they might say or think about them — and may need to gather additional feedback from them to make this determination.

The iterative development/ongoing improvement & validation process requires four steps:

1. Plan

You’ll figure out what will be accomplished during a particular monthly sprint cycle by comparing your site’s current performance against goals for the site redesign.

Again, you may need to gather additional data or research, including consulting with your sales and marketing team. Perhaps a recent blog post addressed a particular pain point and resonated with your audience. It might have been shared liberally on social media, receiving many retweets.

You can then use this data to shift the messaging on your site to better reflect the end-user interests and can use it to brainstorm and update your wish list. You may want to bring your clients into this process as well so they’ll have a better understanding of the site’s impact when completed.

It may also help you prioritize the most impactful items for your next monthly sprint cycle.

2. Develop

Next, you’ll create the tasks and deliverables required for your site based on user feedback working with the relevant departments at your organization—developers, marketers, etc.

You’ll set up validation tracking codes on your site in order to measure your success metrics and you’ll develop targeted marketing campaigns to drive traffic to the new pages and places you’ve just built on your site—this could be blog posts, email, social content with PPC, or a combination of all of these.

3. Learn

Here you’ll ask yet again: What did we learn about the user?

You’ll review the data from your experiments, e.g., split tests, which will help you to decide whether to validate or kill the assumptions you’ve made previously. You’ll shift the content on your site accordingly, then publish your results and learnings to inform and educate new team members and for reference later to inform future monthly sprint cycles.

You can also provide this information as a deliverable with your clients who could use it to facilitate data-based and data-driven decision-making amongst senior leaders at their organization.


Last, but not least, you’ll share what you’ve learned with your marketing team.

In this way, GDD’s iterative process works hand in hand with strategies to help you achieve your desired outcomes and does so without shifting the focus of your marketing team unnecessarily.

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