Static websites aren't cutting it anymore.
Too many businesses go through outdated processes when it comes to website design. They make decisions based on assumptions, and too many prove to be wrong. And, the worst part is, the brand must pay for another round of website design within a few years, based on that same outdated process.
The old way doesn’t work, and if you don’t invest in a data-driven website design approach, you'll lose. Data-driven design is the science of letting real user behavior analytics dictate design decisions, and the end result is a website your customers will actually use.
6 Reasons to Embrace Data-Driven Design
Basically, data-driven design helps create a website that facilitates the typical buyer journey. The data-driven design approach uses information about your customers to fine-tune the entire web experience.
At SprocketRocket, we're all-in on data-driven design because we've seen it drastically improve the web design process, and produce superior websites in terms of performance. And, performance, is really what matters, not pretty graphics.
Reason #1. You Already Have the Data to Start
Chances are, you already have the tools and data you need to make data-driven decisions.
If you already have web analytics tools, you’re ready to start examining baseline statistics. If you don’t have analytics, stop now and get it installed.
The first step in data-driven design is to audit how users are currently using your site. By pouring through the data, you can start to identify bottlenecks and dead-ends.
Look for tell-tale warning signs:
- What pages have the highest bounce rate?
- What pages have the highest exit rate?
- What pages have high traffic, but experience massive drop-off?
Getting this kind of insight helps you to make better design decisions. For example, the page that is on your navigation menu, but gets little-to-no traffic, really isn’t a priority for your design project. But, the page that gets a lot of traffic, only to see that traffic exit the website without clicking through, you can start making a hypothesis as to why that happens. When you are armed with a hypothesis for the performance gaps of each page, you’re ready to make data-driven decisions in the re-design phase.
Reason #2. You Can Set Better Goals
A lot of companies have goals, but they're too ambitious or unrealistic. Other companies have goals that are too conservative. You want goals that are realistic, but still present a challenge.
To create better goals, start with a few high-level goals that depend on budget. Outline how your website needs to perform to accomplish those goals.
Which pages need to have the most conversions?
How much traffic do you need per month, and how much of that traffic needs to lead to a sale?
Determine a set number of views, conversions, and so forth. As a result, you'll have a clearer idea about how your site performance needs to improve, and exactly which pages or categories that performance needs to come from.
This practice allows marketers to hone in on the really important areas of their website, and allocate the necessary budget to push toward the more important goals.
Reason #3: You'll Focus On Where It Matters
When it comes to websites, it's all about getting customers to a few important pages. If you use data to make the right changes to these pages, in particular, you can quickly improve performance through minor changes and A/B testing.
Start by looking at the performance of each page individually.
HubSpot provides tools that show the organic traffic for each page, as well as how many contacts and customers are converted by each page, and how they assisted in the entire conversion picture. Focusing on the areas that will yield the most performance is key.
Reason #4: Testing Has Real Value
A testing methodology needs to be strategic. To really improve conversions and hit your goals, your website tests need to be more than a shot in the dark.
For any test, start by establishing a hypothesis based on a goal you're trying to achieve. A good hypothesis could be: “This "Talk To Us Now" CTA should convert twice as much as "Talk To A Salesperson.” You can A/B test the copy changes, and determine if the hypothesis is correct or incorrect. Then, you move on with the highest-performing version, and test something else.
Reason #5: Make Better Decisions
Analytics won't improve your website by itself. Your team needs to use the insights they gain from that data and apply it to their decision-making process.
Collecting this information comes down to tools and discipline. Tools such as HubSpot, HotJar, Crazy Egg, are great to gather data. Once your team has them in place, don't just let the tools sit idle.
Put together a plan to collect, report, and make productive design changes based on whatever you find.
Reason #6: Smaller Changes Make A Larger Impact
Ever hear of quality over quantity?
You don't have to make a lot of website changes at once. The quality of the improvements is far more significant than the quantity of changes. By making smaller, more strategic iterations over time, you can really see what works, and what doesn't.
If you make too many changes to a page at the same time, you won't know what exactly led to better (or worse) performance.
Adopting Data-Driven Design
You'll never be 100% done with your website.
There's always small improvements you can make. You can get even more data with real user feedback. This is where automatic screen recordings and heat maps can help. The tools will show you exactly how a customer is engaging, clicking, and downloading content from your site.
Any information that helps show the user experience is useful, and can be used to make incremental changes.
By learning how to distill your website data, your team can work off facts. Data tells us what's good and what's bad, and prevents us from making choices based on assumptions.