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3 min read

Growth Driven Websites - No Dead Weight

By David Mills on July 12, 2020

Most websites are carrying a heavy burden. It's not just the need for high-performing lead conversion, it's the massive amount of dead-weight content that simply doesn't perform. If you run a page count on your website, and compare it to pages or articles that people never visit, you'll see just how much content falls into the category of "no visitors."

The amount of low or no performance pages on a website reminds me of the the famous Marley quote from Dickens' A Christmas Carol:

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it."

Websites are like that too. They build up content over time that wasn't really strategic, nor is it valuable to you or your prospects. It creates a burden that gets carried forward into the traditional web redesign process as a mass of content. While the server data cost for carrying that content may not be very high, the human management toll is large- how many dollars and hours are spent managing and re-designing and migrating this content? What is the ROI on content that is never viewed?

When you actually look at the percentage of pages that get traffic, it's often surprising. There is a large number of pages that might only get 1 visitor per year. There is almost no way to justify redesign investments in that kind of low visibility page.

Growth Driven Design - Invest in performance, not baggage

Growth Driven Design (GDD) and the Launchpad websites that rise from this agile approach take a different view. They begin by identifying the top performing website assets. This top 20% is the focus of a rapid website launch, that builds from strength rather than from baggage. Rather than re-managing and re-investing in a lot of content that may actually creates no visits each year, GDD focuses on improving high performing pages and website assets so they produce even more. While the entire blog is migrated and added to the new launchpad, the investment in re-design and CRO (customer response optimization) is focused on pages that are already showing signs of life.

A lot of web redesigns resemble the lost baggage office at the airport instead of a runway.

What follows the redesign and launch of a new GDD website is ongoing improvement. Consistent monitoring of high-performing pages, along with data-based improvements, A/B testing and careful review of lead capture patterns allows traffic and lead growth to constantly trend upward. This is a far cry from the static launch and leave pattern that occurs when the website process requires massive content management that is disconnected from how visitors and leads are driven to your website and how they become customers.

In the process of making improvements on your website based upon data, you will discover a need to add additional content. Often this content is driven by the questions that customers ask, or content that is uncovered in the sales process. Much of this will be housed within effective blog articles. Other additions will include pages that add to the ability of the site to serve visitors across their entire buyer's journey and will build increasing rate of visitor-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversions.

If you do intend to bring over lots of questionable content, that's a job that should be completed by a task-driven worker with minimal strategic guidance, and should not clog up the menu, or design time. The best way to look at this is that if you've got lots of content on your website about which the market has already spoken- it's not interested. But the market is interested in some very specific parts of your website, and those elements are creating customers. That's where the time and energy should go.

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The Pain-Free Guide to Website Redesign walks through practical steps you can take in planning an easy-breezy web build.

David Mills

Written by David Mills

David is one of the founders of Story Collaborative and serves as the Chief Growth Officer. He is passionate about finding the right strategy for each client and helping them move into sustainable growth. He is a veteran of organizational development and communications and has worked with thousands of businesses and nonprofits across the country.