Our First Steps in Discovering the GDD Process

By Craig Wiltshire - November 23, 2015

In my previous blog, I told the story of Struto discovering the concept of Growth-Driven Design (GDD). After witnessing firsthand how ineffectual traditional methods of website design can be (as MD of an inbound marketing agency for over 5 years), it was clear to me that the processes traditionally defining the way we build and maintain websites were flawed. I knew we needed something fresh, effective and innovative, for not only our clients but for ourselves as well. 

That said, we set about preparing Struto to not only 'talk the talk' but 'walk the walk' as well. We knew that kicking off the process would require an approach that encompassed the obvious stages of planning, creation and execution but also go beyond that. We needed a plan of action that would include foundation understanding of what we had, the impact our redesign would have on our current marketing platform, and a way to manage and optimise it for the longer term.

The one thing we know is that change is an ever present constant. Our approach had to allow us to evolve, taking into account the constant state of flux that defines the market. This would make it possible for us to shift our focus along with these changes, and ensure we'd achieve our desired results.

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After considerable thought and discussion, we concluded that the best possible approach would occur across 6 clearly defined action phases, each with a specific function and end goal, leading into the next phase in a seamless manner.

We defined these key phases as occurring in the following order:

  • Discover. An in-depth look delving deep into the aspects of our current marketing platform through a series of audits on our website, content and SEO. The goal is to get right under the skin of a website, and its user activities.
  • Plan. A comprehensive mapping process detailing the foundational exercises we'd need to complete to deliver a proposed project plan and eliminate any unnecessary (and potentially unpleasant) surprises down the line.
  • Creation. Getting down to the creation of digital assets that would support our conclusions drawn during the discover phase and our game plan with the help of our designers and developers, and the translation of our discover phase's conclusions into visual prototypes and responsive wireframes.  
  • Execution. Following the creation phase, we'd need to build a master template and sign off on our proposed functional elements before beginning production on our site.
  • Management. After the execution phase, we knew it would be critical to ensure we were managing our efforts and adapting our activities based on performance to ensure we continued along our defined game plan in terms of implementing new feature sets from our wish list going forward.
  • Optimisation. Staying on top of our efforts and uncovering new opportunities to improve is something we knew would be a focus after completing the previous phases, and as such we planned, along with our performance analyst, to undertake continuous reporting and analysis.

 

Entering the Discover Phase

Taking those first steps towards implementing the GDD methodology within Struto meant getting down to brass tacks with who we are as a company and how well our digital assets and SEO had been performing. Our performance analyst Charl stepped up to the plate, and together we sat down to take a good, hard look at how well we'd been doing, and where we'd been falling short.

This in-depth analysis kicked off with setting up our data gathering to ensure we wouldn't miss a single measurable metric, and conducting a thorough user analysis using Hotjar and Moz to gather statistically relevant data on which to base our future decisions and actions.

Let the auditing begin!

We also got started on an audit of our SEO status, taking into account our key ranking pages based on terms we put forward versus Google Webmasters, and identifying our backlink structure for future page redirections. We also set about determining the impact a redesign of our site would have on our current HubSpot software configuration across multiple levels, including campaigns, calls-to-actions, landing pages, smart lists, lead nurturing, workflows and lead scoring (to name a few!).

Our then Head of Marketing, Vee, stepped up to bat next by conducting a thorough audit of all our current site content right across the board, taking the time to carefully evaluate whether or not we had digital assets to migrate across to our new site, outlining our page structure and information architecture at a URL level and our content's overall performance at site, landing page and blog levels. She zeroed in on the mapping necessary to align our content closely with each respective buyer persona and their stage in the buyer journey, ensuring we'd continue hitting the mark as we moved closer to launching our new site, and determining where we needed fresh material.

Countless cups of coffee later, we were ready to address an all-encompassing data analysis and findings review - a process which brought with it plenty of interesting pieces on what we found was (and wasn't) working for us, and several trends influencing our current user journeys, along with trends we knew could help us make smarter design decisions going forward.

Based on our initial discoveries, we were able to sit down and come up with a high-level global site strategy, individual page strategies and a features wish-list that defined our overall requirements for a launchpad website, and set up in good stead to move forward to the next phase - designing our new site. If you'd like to begin understanding the GDD process for yourself, why not download our free guide below?

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