When most businesses decide to rebuild their website, it can be quite an undertaking. It generally takes up a lot of their marketing budget, lasting many months, or even years, before realizing a worthwhile end result. Sometimes that’s necessary…but not always. We think there is a better way for many businesses.
We have a solution for these businesses. Yes, every page on a website is needed, but only a few are crucial or require special customization. Why not find a way to focus on those critical pages, while building out the rest without wasting time or overspending?
So we decided to change the way we look at our projects.
In defining the success of our work, we transitioned the notion of “on time, on budget” to “fast, meaningful impact.” Interestingly enough, this approach results in more “on time, on budget” work. When everyone involved is spending time on what matters most, the most efficient and effective work can be accomplished.
Which brings us to our new option for web development for certain clients: The Rapid Impact Project.
What Is a Rapid Impact Project?
Rapid Impact Projects are an approach to web development that utilizes pre-existing templates for less pivotal pages, allowing for more customization on higher priority pages.
We discovered not every project is built the same, and using a one-size-fits-all mindset limits the diversity of clients we are able to work with and the business problems we can be employed to solve.
Rapid Impact Projects are a way to direct our resources in the most efficient, and beneficial, way possible, allowing us to approach certain projects in a way to maximize our ability to be creative while highlighting the pages that matter most.
Developing Our Rapid Impact Approach
In 2020, we delivered a presentation at Denver Startup Week. In preparing for our presentation, we reviewed several hundred of our clients’ Google Analytics accounts. We accrued a lot of data, and made some surprising discoveries.
What We Learned
Some trends were in line with what we expected to see. Homepage traffic was high across industries, but outside of that, typically only one or two other pages captured a majority of the traffic. There were even trends based on industry. For example, law firms tended to focus on Homepage and Lawyer Profiles, while other industries drew more attention with their Product pages or a Blog. Either way, the rest of the site outside of these core pages saw very little traffic or conversions.
Across all industries, we discovered there are generally two or three areas of a site that drive the majority of traffic. If we could hone our more custom creative efforts on those pages, while still creating clean, less labor-intensive secondary pages, we’d be able to rapidly build a project that can address the client’s needs now, while giving us the option to go back and add further interactivity with those secondary pages at a later date.
Custom Where it Matters Most
All content needs a home. But as we discovered, only a few pages really have an important impact. By focusing on those pages we can concentrate our efforts where it makes the biggest impact. But we also need the rest of the pages to be clean, branded, and exciting. We need to build both custom and flexible pages.
Custom pages are bespoke and goal-driven, with more complexity and interactivity than most pages. Typically, custom pages include the homepage and an additional key page, such as Products or Services pages. Essentially, the most-viewed pages are the best opportunities to tell a client’s story and are great opportunities for custom designed pages that uniquely position their differentiators to drive conversions.
Throughout the Discovery process, we determine where to best utilize our custom pages so they can make the most impact. Of course, that leaves the rest of the site. The non-custom pages, which should offer a great user experience without needing time-consuming customizations, are flexible (or “flex”) pages.
While flexible pages aren’t “custom” they are heavily customizable. Each flexible page is unique to its client, and utilizes their branding, fonts, and images, while having the same look and feel as our custom pages. The difference? They take far fewer hours to build, meaning we can devote our time to the custom templates, while shaving months off a project.
That’s because these templates have already gone through the Quality Assurance (QA) process. As Bridget Cahill, Engineering Manager at Clique, points out, by having templates that have already been tested for usability—
“We’ve ensured the boxes are checked that need to be checked before launch.”
We looked across industries and compiled a list of templates that most sites require, or may need in the future. Those included:
- Blog detail
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Various other industry-specific pages
We built eight different flexible pages that were designed to be used for common website sections such as Blog, About Us, Contact Page, and other typical areas. We made these pages to be comprehensive with the ability to remove sections that aren’t needed.
Is Rapid Impact Right for Me?
The ultimate driving force for establishing this process was to empower our clients. We wanted to provide them with more options, and address their needs in a less rigid way than the industry standard.
As Clique’s Growth Director, Sean Maconachy puts it—
“Our Rapid Impact Projects allow us to focus on how we can efficiently deliver the most value for our clients, and open up opportunities to work with an even wider variety of organizations.”
Ultimately rapid impact projects aren’t about being fast and cheap, or cutting out steps required for a successful website. They are about prioritizing efforts where they matter most, and determining the best steps to achieve that.
The Future of Rapid Impact Projects
At the end of the day, the purpose of a Rapid Impact Project is to find ways to more efficiently build websites and realize a return on investment sooner. We’ve leveraged our extensive research to determine what pages are the most important, and utilized our internal expertise to figure out how to build the lower-value pages in a way that they still look bespoke and engaging.
If we launch a Rapid Impact Project, with the high impact pages leveraging our best-in-class templates, along with our intentional and highly-optimized flexible pages, the project doesn’t have to be finished. We can always go back and replace flexible pages with custom pages as part of an ongoing partnership.
Since we’ve started this approach, we’ve discovered a surprising new benefit for our clients and partners. We’ve worked with many businesses who assumed they’d go back to the flexible pages and replace them with custom pages, but that hasn’t happened yet, and maybe never will.
Why? As anticipated, they are serving their purpose. The sites are performing, and they are making the desired impact. And they’re able to use that additional budget they would use for future custom pages to help grow their business in other ways. We see that as a win for ourselves, but most importantly, a win for our clients.
Founding Clique Partner Ted Novak puts it succinctly—
”We want our partners to put their money where it makes the biggest impact.”
If our Rapid Impact Project can help our partners do that, then we view that as a huge success.