When was the last time you evaluated how well your website was performing? Are you wrestling with the idea of redesigning your current website? If you were to redesign your website, have you gathered the necessary performance and user metrics to make informed strategy and design decisions?
Continuous website improvement is the process of constantly updating and improving your website through incremental changes that are based on site analytics, performance metrics and user research and feedback. Taking a continuous improvement approach allows you to improve and reap the benefits of new features quickly, as opposed to traditional website design, where you may not see results for months, or even years.
Benefits of Implementing a Continuous Improvement Approach:
Compared to a traditional web design project, continuous improvement provides better results for several reasons:
- Quicker launch for new websites
- Site changes/updates are based off real data from your users, allowing you to make more informed decisions
- Allows more flexibility for A/B testing
- Extends the lifecycle of your website because you are constantly making improvements
Who Can Benefit from Continuous Improvement?
Easy answer – everyone!
New Sites: If you recently launched a new website, you should be thinking about next steps in terms of site monitoring and user testing. To do this, you’ll need to identify specific metrics you want to test. After determining what you hope to achieve, start measuring how well you’re doing in getting there. If you’re currently in the process of redesigning a website, try to gather as many metrics as you can from your existing site before launching the new one. The more of a baseline you have up front, the better your ability will be to track the effectiveness of the design, development and strategy that went into your new website.
Existing Sites: Continuous improvement is a GREAT option for those looking to refresh their website. In fact, implementing a continuous improvement approach for your existing website, compared to traditional website design, is a more cost-effective and data-driven approach. Of course, the intensity and speed of your continuous improvement cycle will depend on how old your site is, but why start over from scratch when you don’t need to?
The Continuous Improvement Cycle
The continuous improvement cycle consists of 4 steps:
1. Plan: The first step in the continuous improvement cycle focuses on determining metrics that you want to improve and identifying priority wish list items that will help to improve this metric. Also during this phase, all of the existing research from the previous month (or quarter) is analyzed. The results are compared to the existing performance goals. You and your team will take this information, use it to make any necessary edits to your wish list, and establish the action plan for the current month or quarter.
2. Build: This is the “get stuff done” phase, when you set into motion the priority items identified in planning. Continual monitoring is important here to ensure goals and measurements are being achieved.
3. Learn: A key part to optimization is reviewing experiments and analyzing data to extract learnings about your audience. Learning what works (and what doesn’t work) will help inform the ideas generated in the planning step of your next sprint cycle.
4. Transfer: Once you’ve learned about your audience and customers, it’s time to share those learnings with other parts of the company, including marketing, sales, service, etc. Cross-department collaboration helps your growth team better understand how to make adjustments for peak performance.
Your Website is Never “Done”
It’s important to keep in mind that things change—and they change quickly. From design elements to Google’s latest SEO algorithms to changes in how users want to interact with websites, the digital industry is always evolving. Over time, your site can become outdated and may not be performing as well as it once did. Continuous website improvement offers you a way to extend the life of your website through ongoing monitoring and by addressing needed changes incrementally.
If you want to learn more about taking a continuous website improvement approach to your website, contact Sarah Chula at 440-449-6800 or email Sarah.