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Is Your Website A Hedonic Treadmill?



"Our website looks outdated, we should redesign it."  Sound familiar?  Nearly everyone with a website has redesigned their site multiple times over the years.  Many of these projects were embarked upon because their website 'suddenly' seemed outdated and tired.  The fact is it probably looked old and tired because it was old and tired.  It sat stagnant for years after all.  


Redesigning your website is like buying a new car

You might be thinking of buying a new car.  The idea of having a new car is extremely exciting.  You dream about it, you goal yourself towards buying it.  You consider purchasing one for a while and then finally pull the trigger.  You love your car so much.  You tell all your friends, you show it off, you drive it everywhere.  Sometime soon after the excitement begins to wane, however, and you're stuck with a used car.  It won't be long until you start dreaming of a new one.

Similarly, you've probably been through the painful process of designing a new website.  You dream of all the fancy new bells and whistles you could have.  You shop around for ideas and the right website design firm to sell you that shiny new website.  Once you hire an agency you get to work and together you produce something great (hopefully).  You love your website so much.  You look at it with pride and admiration for a week or two and then go back to doing what you do.  The shine wears off quickly, that's the concept behind hedonic adaptation.  

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. - Wikipedia

No matter what it is that makes you happy, you can get bored of it after a while. This is because of a concept known as “hedonic adaptation.” - Eric Ravenscraft


To avoid this cycle with your website you have to change the way you manage the process

We pursue pleasurable items (like a new car or new website) because we think they'll make us happy.  We think our new website will work magic from the time it launches into infinity.  When we achieve the goal, we adapt in short time and it no longer gives us pleasure.  This is the major problem we face with traditional website design.  

The stories all have different variables, but the same general scenario plays out.  

  • Marketing and sales complain about their outdated website long enough
  • The executive team finally makes the decision to move forward
  • An agency is hired, promising a gorgeous new website, delivered in short order and within budget
  • The project drags months longer than anticipated as the scope creeps and opinions differ
  • The site goes live and everyone's happy
  • A few month's goes by and everyone forgets how much they liked the new site, hedonic adaptation creeps in
  • Traffic growth flattens out, lead production dries up
  • Complaints begin all over again, and the process repeats itself

If you've experienced something similar you're not alone, at least you can say misery loves company.   


If you'd like to achieve success and happiness with your website over a long period of time you need a continual growth and improvement plan.

To short circuit the treadmill there is a solution. The fancy marketing term for this process is called Growth Driven Web Design (GDD).  It's the idea that your website should never stop growing, never stop improving, and continually produce results.  

Growth-Driven Design is the new gold standard for delivering results and bringing measurable business value to clients through web design. - Gabe Wahab of Square 2 Marketing

To help you understand how this process is different, let's look at three simple steps you'll work through as you implement a growth driven web strategy


Step 1:  Get your new concept launched fast

GDD starts with a launch site strategy.  By getting a great building block in place, you'll be able to make a real impact in the fraction of the time it takes to do a complete redesign.  Instead of 9 months of back and forths that drain energy and optimism you'll shock the executive team with a true record launch timeline.


Step 2:  Evaluate traffic to determine what's working and what's not

This is the step that's often overlooked with traditional website redesigns.  Solid marketing decisions are based on reliable data and accurate interpretation.  Once the launch site goes live the tracking begins, you'll need some tools to help. Because the goal is to harvest and evaluate data on which elements attract attention and engages visitors software is a necessity.  You'll be wise to consider utilizing analytical tools like Hot Jar, Crazy Egg, Google Analytics, and HubSpot.  


Step 3:  Make strategic improvements as you grow your site

As data flows and strategy develops your website should live in a continuous state of improvement.  Your strategy team, empowered with the tools to make sound decisions, can form conversion hypothesis to improve the user experiences of target personas.  Traffic will grow as additional web pages are launched and enhanced conversion opportunities will convert more leads for sales.  With intelligence, strategy, and execution your website will never get stale.  You'll stay off the hedonic treadmill and on the path to true business development.  


Proceed with caution, individual results may vary

No, it's not that easy but the concept is that simple.  To execute effectively, you'll need a sound creative team, some new tools, and a great deal of collaboration.  Put it all together and you'll find yourself off the treadmill and into the money.  If you'd like to talk about your current set of challenges and see if we can't come up with some solutions, reach out.  




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