A new year often kicks off with a health drive, and the same can apply to your website too. The demand for faster, leaner websites has never been more important, and yours had better be mobile friendly if you want to get a good Google ranking. For marketers then, there’s a whole host of design trends and web technologies that can really help revamp your site and help achieve your marketing goals in 2018.
1: Refresh the experience
We’re bombarded by web images and marketing messages competing for our attention, so it’s no wonder that bright and bold minimalism is considered one of the top continuing trends in web design. On average, marketers have less than a second for users to form an opinion about their site. Having a first impression that reflects both quality, trustworthiness and delivers a strong brand message isn’t easy, but a less cluttered approach is less likely to bamboozle a new visitor. Bright and bold minimalism and engaging photographic content will never go out of style according to web designer Paul Jarvis for a recent Forbes.com article. “Gone are the days of boring whitewashed dudes in cheesy corporate stock photography. 2018 will see a huge uptick in photography… and the photos will be brand matching-ly customised, not just generic.” We’ve done just the thing of course with our new website, new look, new case studies and new messaging to put our best foot forward in 2018.
2: Get Progressive
We hear a lot about the move to mobile and the mobile experience for websites being important, and finally Google admits that mobile page speed is a ranking factor because of its Mobile-first Indexing algorithm. The web is also being driven primarily by mobile searches, so businesses can no longer afford to fall behind with their mobile sites. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a technology allowing pages to load much faster, but it’s not the only solution in town. There’s a recent move to Progressive Web Apps (PWA) which unlike AMP pages create an app-like experience on user’s phones and tablets. They load instantly, even without a network connection, and could be just the solution to ensure an always-on experience of your site on mobile. PWAs don’t compete with AMP pages either, they are addressing different needs and you’ll hear a lot more about them in 2018.
3: Automate simple enquiries
Chatbots are no longer the hated pop-up of five or six years ago, they have begun to get smart, less intrusive and more responsive to user queries. A great customer service tool when used properly, chatbots can eliminate the need to wait on an email enquiry and could well be your lead gen best friend in 2018. You can either bake a system into your website, build your own or rely on other messaging systems such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to create a chatbot for mobiles.
4: Avoid non-compliant ads
Google Chrome is blocking non-compliant ads from February, well a specific version of the browser anyhow, so if you carry adverts on your site or make them for clients then you need to take action. It might seem counterintuitive as Google makes the vast majority of its cash through advertising, but its number one concern is making a searcher’s experience a good one. So, no longer will you be able to use many types of pop-up or prestitial (full page overlay) ads or auto-play videos with sound. And you guessed it, if users download the new browser in their droves, Google might make it a permanent Chrome feature.
5: Prepare for the future… the future is now!
It’s been said for many years in a row, but video consumption on mobile is seriously increasing (by another 25% this year according to Zenith Media) and companies need to capitalise on this through PWA and ensuring video on websites is exciting and will spark conversation. In fact, desktop video consumption may actually fall in 2018. Make sure your video strategy puts mobile at the centre this year and prepares for 2019 when mobile devices are expected to account for around two thirds of all online video viewing.
At TBT Marketing we’re obsessed with keeping on top of web technologies and creating digital experiences for clients with a variety of needs. Contact us at [email protected] or reach us on 01373 469270 and see if we can help move your website on to the next level.