What is a Launch Pad Website, and Why is it Important?

August 8, 2016 | Wendy Trem

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Traditionally building a website has been, as our agency's president likes to say, like pushing a watermelon through a garden hose. You have this large, daunting project (the watermelon), and a long and visibly difficult path before you (the garden hose). Frankly, by the time you're done, the result looks nothing like what you envisioned in the beginning.

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Watermelon, meet garden hose.

With the growth driven design (GDD) website methodology, we slice the website project into small, manageable chunks and turn the project into a smoother, quicker process. What you’re left with is a website that performs better and holds more value to your users. Let’s dive into the very first step of the GDD process – the launch pad website.

Why Build a Launch Pad Website?

In the traditional web design process, we think of launching the website as reaching the finish line. With GDD, the opposite is true – launching the website is just the beginning, and it lays the foundation that we build upon throughout the web design process. GDD revolves around taking the guesswork out of building a website and relying on real user data to inform our design decisions. So rather than wasting time, money and resources trying to put forth the perfect website (no website ever is) and hoping for the best ROI, we launch with something quickly that starts collecting data immediately. This “starter” website has a much faster impact on the business.

Learn more about the Growth-Griven Design methodology in our free eBook, There's a Better Way to Build a Website.

Must-Haves, Nice-to-Haves, Pies-in-the-Sky…

A launch pad website consists of the most basic and necessary components that will help your visitors understand your business and interest them to seek more information. Whether you’re redesigning an existing website, or building one from scratch, you most likely have an idea of what makes up the finished website – a long wish list that consists of a homepage, product and service pages, company news and information, a support section, etc. Take a step back and ask, “Which of these are the essential, bare-bones items that will let our visitors know who we are and why they should care?” Similarly, you can apply the 80/20 rule and ask, “What are the 20% of these items that will drive 80% of the value for our visitors?” Be sure that you’re referencing your marketing personas to make sure that you’re addressing your target audience’s needs.

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Try to refrain from feeling this way.

These items are the must-haves on your wish list, and will make up your launch pad website. It may look sparse, but remember that the goal isn’t to launch a perfect website. The goal is to get a new website in front of your audience quickly, start collecting leads and user data, and build and improve upon it over time. This ensures that you’re using your time and money effectively by spending less effort and getting more results.

Next, prioritize the remaining items on your wish list. If something is impactful but not crucial for launch, it can go on a “nice-to-have” list that can be implemented in the following months. For those “pie-in-the-sky” items, keep them on the wish list, but you may want to take another look at what kind of ROI you expect from them and evaluate the time and budget needed for future implementation. You might not even need them at all!

Read how we used the GDD process to launch a new website in just two months, with immediate results. 

Time to Build

After you’ve determined what components will make up your launch pad website, the process is the same as any website implementation:

  • messaging and content
  • information architecture and user experience
  • design and development
  • quality assurance and testing
  • setting up data collection and analytics

The last step, which is standard in any website build, is especially crucial in the GDD process. By learning about your website’s visitors once your site is live, seeing how they are navigating and what they’re looking for, you can make more informed marketing decisions and website improvements. This will ultimately result in a higher performing website that provides more value to both your users and your business.

Topics: Website Development Growth-Driven Design

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