gdd methodology | the dubose web way to building websites

DuBose Web Group

Hannah: Hello everyone and welcome back to DWGTV. I’m Hannah and today I’m joined by Julie Goguen, our creative director here at DuBose. What we’re going to be talking about is GDD, which is growth-driven design, and why we’re so passionate about this idea and why we use this method when we’re developing our websites. So Julie if you want to first explain what growth-driven design is and what that means for us? 

Julie: Sure. Growth driven design is a twist on the traditional web design method. The way that we use it is building up websites in more of a phased approach. Instead of doing the whole website upfront, which is painful, it’s building it out in stages based on what’s going to make the biggest impact for the users and also for the partner that we’re working with. 

Hannah: There are three stages: there’s the strategy, launchpad and then continuous improvement. Can you kind of break down that idea and explain to our viewers what exactly those stages mean? 

Julie: Sure, the strategy phase is just that. It’s research and strategy. What we do in that phase is we go through and we do a lot of benchmarking competitive analysis. We do research; we do that industry-wide. Within our own industry and depending on who we’re working for to see what’s trending we look at a lot of data. We look at the analytics for your current site and how it’s performing and how the users are interacting with it. We listen to your goals. We listen to your wish list for the year and what you’re planning on doing from a marketing standpoint. And then we take all of that together and we stick in a giant mixing bowl, and we put it all together and then we’re able to come out and form a strategy that’s going to based off 20/80. What’s going to be the 20% that makes the 80% difference? Our goal is always to get that in phase one so that you’re able to pick the low hanging fruit first, and then you can start to tackle big things as it goes. 

Hannah: You hit on some of these in that explanation, but what are some of the benefits of using this method for developing websites? 

Julie: Some of the best benefits are that you’re able to build a strategy around what users are currently doing, and you’re able to be flexible within your goals. One of the things that happens, I mean we see it happen here, and it happens everywhere, is what you think your goal is for Q2 in January, it changes by the time you actually get to Q2. So, then you’ve got to somehow, quickly change course and do something different. What GDD allows you to do is because it is what its name says, continuous improvement and growth-driven design, it allows you to anticipate those changes a little quicker. With the phased approach if there’s going to be a big update then you can change course and you can make those modifications as your building the website out and you’re not lumped into this original strategy that now those goals have changed. 

Hannah: How is this more cost-efficient? I know that’s one of the benefits as opposed to some traditional methods? 

Julie: We do both of them. We build full-site builds all at once, so I guess a one-timer. And then we do the phased out, staged approach. Cost-effective wise, when you compare apples to apples, websites are not cheap in general. Unless you’re doing a template, which we don’t use templates, but unless you’re going that route they’re just not. They’re custom and they’re built specifically for that company. When you compare that way in the initial, they’re relatively the same. When you start to be more cost-effective is in that because you’re building it out based on how your business is growing and how your goals are changing and how the users are interacting with the site, then you allow yourself flexibility there, you’re not lumped into this project you’re already paying a one-time cost for and then you’re having to go back and revamp it. Or let’s just go ahead and get this live and then we’ll come back and revamp it, which you’re just pouring extra money into it. Growth driven design is more of a retainer model-based, so it’s a per month pricing versus a flat rate fee pricing, and that allows you to have that flexibility to change. The cost isn’t going to change, but the strategy and the design might change as you’re building the design up. In the long, it is more cost-effective in the end to go with a growth-driven design methodology than it is with a traditional design just because you don’t allow that flexibility for changing and strategy or for changing in goals and user behavior. 

Hannah: It makes total sense. For growth-driven design sites that are built this way, you’re technically launching before everything is perfect. What would you tell a business owner whose kind of hesitate about that idea; they want everything to be perfect before they go live. What would you tell them? 

Julie: I’m pretty sure I’ve said this to you before, but pretty much we’ll be dead before everything is perfect. There’s no such thing as perfection. The web industry changes daily. I mean it changes hourly. That’s not an attainable goal. That’s not a goal we can measure perfection because it’s so subjective. So, what I would say to them is let’s get the website to a place to where it’s performing and it’s making you money and it’s doing good things for your business versus let’s wait on perfection because that’s never going to happen. 

Hannah: So, personas is something that goes into the strategy phase of GDD. Can you explain to our viewers who don’t know what personas are, what exactly those are and how we use them to develop our sites? 

Julie: Yeah absolutely. Traditional personas are fictional characters; they’re made up. We find Google images of people that look like these fictional characters and we make up statistics and personalities around them so that we can get in our minds of what that person looks like. What their pain points might be, what their goals are and what they’re searching for so that can help us when we’re developing out the strategy. Where our method is a little bit different is we’ve adopted a data-driven persona mentality. We look at real user data. We look at how people are interacting with the existing sites. So, it starts out with this pseudo fictional character based on the target audience that we know from the partner. But it grows into a data-driven personality that we know exactly who this user is. If we’re targeting millennials, then we know how old this person is, where they’re located, how often they’re using it, what devices they’re using it on, what their browsers are and those types of things. That’s more data-driven then like, “They like to click here, here and here.” It’s a little more strategic and a lot more beneficial in the end. But it is definitely part of those first steps of what we do. 

Hannah: What success have we seen firsthand by using this methodology with our own site and also with our partner’s sites? 

Julie: I mean a lot. We’ve seen a huge traffic increase for everybody. We’ve seen a lot of engagement from an organic perspective. We’ve seen a lot of engagement from social media. We’ve seen the browsers change a little bit so that’s affected our strategy. It’s just helped us overall with molding as we go, because again, what our goal is the beginning of January 2018 last year, we didn’t have the same goal by the time we got to summer. The success is we’ve been able to see the data, analyze the data and then make changes as we’ve gone. Through it all it’s been successful with driving users to the site, converting leads through the site, because we know if they’re going to a popular page and there’s no way to contact you through that page we know we need to put a form on that page so we’re able to convert users into leads. A lot of the success has been in the traffic and the learning and improving the methodology to work for DuBose, from where it currently stands.

Hannah: For someone who wants to learn more about GDD and what it’s all about, what resources would you suggest to them? 

Julie: I would say HubSpot is a great resource and that’s one that we use here all the time. HubSpot is really good. Luke Summerfield is the one who pretty much started with the foundation of growth-driven design, so you can look him up; he’s great. We’ve got a lot of awesome resources on our website, that you’ve done a stellar job writing. But we do have a lot of great resources on growth-driven design. We’ve done extensive research into it and adapting it to our own business model. I would say we’re a viable resource as well. I would also say reach out to us if you have a question about it or you’re unsure or you’re just like, “I just want to talk about growth-driven design,” I actually enjoy that kind of stuff. 

So, just reach out to us, as us a question and we’re happy to answer it, whether it’s through one of our social channels or through a phone call, we’re here. 

Hannah: Well that’s all the questions that I have. Going off of that resource-wise in the description box I’ll have a link to one of the resources. It’s a package getting you started with growth driven design, so that’s a great way to get informed on what this methodology is all about, what it means when we say GDD. Feel free to follow that link and download that resource to learn more. 

Other than that, we be back here on DWGTV on March 19th at 1 pm EST to chat with our designers. Julie will be there. And we’ll just have a panel-style discussion about what exactly our designers do, what they’re passionate about, and just give them the platform to really share that. I’m looking forward to that, and definitely mark your calendars and follow along with us on our social channels. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Give us a like, give us a follow and connect with us there and you’ll get updates on your feed as to when we’re going live and all that good stuff. Thanks for being here today, I hope this was helpful and we’ll talk to you next time. Bye. 

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