Competitor Analysis + CRO + Branding + UX
GoDaddy wanted to know how its website shopping experience measured up to the competition. One key finding led senior leaders to commit to changing their brand on the spot.
GoDaddy had recently updated their Websites + Marketing tool, a templated DIY site designer competing with Wix and Squarespace. They wanted to learn more about how small business owners shop for websites and how GoDaddy was performing compared to its competition. Findings would be used to optimize top-of-funnel experiences and improve free trial sign ups and conversion rates.
What We Did
At the time, I was a Director on GoDaddy’s CX Strategy team. I partnered with a research team member to design a CX benchmarking study, based on my team’s customer journey work.
We keyed on the flow in the early phase of the journey, when small business owners were getting their businesses set up online.
- What companies do they think of first?
- What do they type into Google to start researching?
- What influence to ads have on their shopping journey?
- What are their impressions of provider websites?
- How do they shop the sites?
- Based on first impressions, which provider is the best fit?
- What are their next steps?
I designed the study with a fellow researcher. We ran a pilot on usertesting.com, made adjustments, then ran the full study with 90+ participants. Afterwards, we synthesized the findings and wrote the presentation. Then we presented the findings to senior leadership, and shared our recommendations.
A Closer Look at the Benchmark Study
The first part of the study was focused on small business owners’ organic thoughts and behaviors. Tasks and questions were open-ended, allowing them to do what comes naturally.
Next, we asked them to shop for websites at GoDaddy, Wix, and Squarespace. We wanted to know their first impressions and see where they went on the website to learn more. It was a blind study and we randomized the order of which competitor they saw 1st, 2nd, 3rd to keep it non-biased.
Something we noticed right away was that the look of GoDaddy’s website was turning people off. At the time, GoDaddy still had its bright orange and green colors, a blocky layout, and its original “crazy head” logo. The small business owners didn’t think it looked as modern and professional as the competitors, and they were worried that if they chose GoDaddy, they’d end up with an outdated look and feel for their business.
Changing the Brand
When we presented our findings to GoDaddy’s senior leaders, they decided on the spot to change the brand — something many had been contemplating already. They formed a Tiger Team that included leaders from Marketing, Brand, and the GoDaddy.com team and went to work immediately.
Over the next few months, the homepage was updated with new colors, fonts, images, and a new logo. We re-ran the benchmark study, and GoDaddy scored much higher on homepage appeal. The look and feel was no longer a barrier and more small business owners considered GoDaddy as a place to build their website.
By simulating the customer journey in this early stage shopping study, we discovered a critical blind spot in GoDaddy’s shopping experience. GoDaddy acted quickly to modernize their design and remove this potential barrier to gaining new customers. The test framework we developed was used to craft additional studies, covering more phases of the journey. It was a brand new method that’s now part of an ongoing body of research used to improve GoDaddy’s top-of-funnel experiences.