By Tim Dearlove

Over the last few years, small business owners have been placed in the unenviable position of having to commit valuable resources to website redesigns. Website redesigns are as popular now as ever.  Over the last 6 months, users of HubSpot’s Agency Directory have searched more for website design help than any other kind of service. Searches for web design services were 50% higher than any other service searched. It’s natural for business owners to want to update their site. Every day new web technology becomes available to incorporate into a site’s design. Everyone wants a new website, but the problem is that new websites are expensive. Costs for launching a new site will depend on context including the type of business, types of features and number of pages. It’s estimated that a new site can cost a business anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. However, a new approach to website design called Growth Driven Design might solve that cost problem.


Growth Driven Design (GDD) developed as an alternative approach to large website redesign projects. In the past, website design projects included a lump sum payment to a design firm that resulted in a large project. At the end of the project, the design firm would launch a fully built new site to the world. After the launch? It’s possible the same firm who helped build the new site will also charge for any kind of post-launch assistance. (Note, any business owner should ensure they negotiate a post-launch maintenance deal with their web design agency to deal with bugs or glitches.)

In addition to the lack of post-launch support, a traditional website project does not account for testing once the site is launched. While it’s true that traditional design firms will conduct research before they begin the design and development process, this research is based on an old site that’s soon to be replaced. The firm may also conduct persona research and interview some users of the old site. Either way, that testing fails in scope and scale when compared to the kind of information gleaned from the analytics gathered from thousands of users interacting with a newly designed site. The truth is that business owner won’t know if their big bets on a new site pay off until after that new site launches. After gathering valuable data post-launch what can a business do if their design firm has already ended the project? Paying more to tweak or change the site is not an option.

GDD addresses these flaws by shifting the nature of how a new site is launched. No longer is the focus a big site launch after months or years of planning. Rather, borrowing from the agile development methodology ( a site is developed over a period of time using launch sites that incorporate a testing methodology. Launch sites are stripped down smaller versions of a new site. These launch sites contain the most important and essential pages rebuilt with the new design while leaving off anything non-essential. Once the launch site is up and running, testing starts to see how this new version resonates with visitors. Results of this testing then factor into the different iterations of the new site that launch over the course of several months.

Financially GDD spreads the cost of a new website out over a longer period. A business owner can choose to pay in monthly installments as opposed to one up-front cost. For a business running on a tight budget, this could mean the difference between having a new site or trying to patch up an old, clunky website.

GDD makes sense from a financial and analytical perspective. Business owners no longer need to launch a new version of their site without knowing how it will perform. Owners won’t get stuck with the sunk cost of a non-effective site. Monthly retainers make site redesigns financially feasible as the free up business owners from the burden of large up-front payments. As you look to invest in a new site or hire an agency to help with a redesign, explore design agencies that can sell Growth Driven Design retainers.

Tim Dearlove runs the global growth strategy for the HubSpot agency directory. HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform. Find him on twitter @tdearlove.