As the world has changed in the blink of an eye, so has the way we market to consumers. Now, more than ever, your website exists as BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT doorway to your brand and your brand experience. While stores stay shut, and face-to-face interaction is vastly limited, brands will rely on reaching their target audiences via their websites. Therefore, your website is mission-critical to your success.
Bluetext has published a 5 part blog series to help you think about and pressure test if your website is the best it can be.
With 57% of the world’s population now on the internet, promoting your business through a website has become even more critical. Additionally, over 50% of website traffic comes from mobile, and over 66 million American adults now own a smart speaker with digital assistant capabilities. Your website is where a potential customer will get their first impression of your business, and navigating the way website browsing behavior continuously evolves can be tricky. Because having a poorly designed website can be worse for your business than having no website at all, turning toward an expert website design agency can help you find the best website solution for your company. An agency can help you stay on top of the latest web design trends, and bring both your website and your business to the next level.
User experience (UX) is one of the most important things to consider when redesigning your new website. According to Jakob’s law, users spend most of their time on websites other than yours. This means that users prefer for your site to function in a similar manner to other sites they frequently interact with. Staying up-to-date with current web design trends is imperative to keep your users engaged.
Bluetext suggests considering the following seven trends when building your website to ensure that your site combines SEO functionality with the best UX, boosting your brand’s presence online.
1. Make Mobile a Priority
Over 50% of all website traffic comes from mobile. With a user-base continuously becoming more dependent on mobile, it is even more important for website designers to prioritize and optimize web experience for mobile devices. Designers must create a thumb-friendly design to not only make mobile navigation easier for the user but also create a seamless, visually-appealing design.
More than 60% of companies reported an increase in sales after designing mobile responsive platforms; however, approximately 40% of people will leave your website if it isn’t mobile-friendly. While simply having a mobile presence may seem good enough, optimizing this experience through design to cater to mobile users is the most important factor.
If these statistics aren’t convincing enough, it’s also important to keep in mind that Google gives priority to mobile-friendly sites by ranking them higher in search results, positively impacting your SEO. Lacking a mobile-friendly experience can negatively impact your website’s ranking, whereas sites that are mobile responsive will often receive a ranking boost, even for searches on a desktop.
2. Increase Page Speed
It takes users only three seconds to decide whether or not they want to stay on your website. These three seconds are crucial to your website’s dwell time (aka the time a user spends on your website before returning to the search results). Web design agencies can provide creative solutions to help engage your users within these three seconds. Additionally, web agencies know the best tactics for improving page speed, such as image compression. Image formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP often provide better compression than PNG or JPEG, which means faster downloads and less data consumption.
The less time it takes your website to load, the better your SEO. Because of the Google Speed Update, Google won’t prioritize your website to users if it will take too long to load. Taking your site to a web design agency will ensure that your website is optimized for the user, while also ensuring that you have the best possible SEO ranking.
3. Optimize for Voice Search
Page speed is also becoming more important as the number of smart speakers and digital assistants continues to grow. Over 66 million American adults now have a smart speaker, and designing a website that capitalizes on Voice Search Optimization is the only way to ensure that those using smart devices for their searches will have access to your site. Voice search is meant to be a faster, more convenient way to get information, and if your website takes too long to load, it is less likely to be returned for a voice search result.
According to a PWC study, 71% of respondents would rather use their voice assistant to search for something than manually typing their query into a search engine. The differences between these spoken and typed searches may lead to different SERP results, and if your website is not properly optimized for vocal search, you may lose ground to your competitors. Because vocal searches only result in one top result, everyone is vying for this “ground zero” position. You can obtain this coveted position by gaining Google’s featured snippet spot, which aims to directly answer users’ questions. Voice searchers are also more likely to search in long-form questions as opposed to using shorter keywords, so it’s important to consider the types of questions your target audience may ask, and to position your website well to answer these searches.
4. SEO vs. SEM: Choose Wisely
How can you tell whether to focus your marketing efforts on SEO or SEM? Let’s return to square one: what’s the difference? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was traditionally thought of as a component of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which comprised of both paid and organic tactics. However, this language is shifting, with SEM now referring exclusively to paid search. SEO is a method to optimize your website to receive organic traffic, while SEM is a way to funnel in relevant traffic from search engines by buying paid or sponsored ad listings.
So which is better to focus on for your website? SEO allows your business to get more visibility, building brand awareness at a low cost. Choosing keywords that are relevant to your website can earn you a spot on the first page of the SERPs, automatically earning you credibility and trust from search users. In order to increase your website’s chances of making this first page, follow these simple steps:
- Use relevant keywords in the URL to describe the content of the page
- Use your main keywords in the beginning of the title tag of your page
- Use the right keywords in the meta description of your page and make sure it is enticing enough for users to click-through to your site
- Use your primary keyword(s) in the H1 tag of your page
- Use your main keywords along with related long-tail keywords in the first few paragraphs of the page
SEO will bring your website brand visibility at a lower cost, but it’s important to invest in researching which keywords will best optimize your website.
While SEO is typically more sustainable, turning to SEM can also do wonders for your website. SEM allows you to capture the attention of your target audience by claiming a spot above-the-fold of the SERPs. Sponsored listings also give you more control over the results you achieve; every element of the ad can be customized and tweaked to target your audience. SEM charges on a per-click basis, and while this may be more expensive, it allows you to achieve quick, measurable results without going through the trial-and-error process that SEO typically involves.
Both SEO and SEM have their pros and cons, and both may be right for your business at different times. Turning to an agency that specializes in SEO and SEM will help you choose the right tactic at every turn.
5. Hello, Homogenous Hero
The fast pace of modern life means that people have less time to spend on your website. When they enter your site, simple and intuitive web design will allow them to quickly find what they’re looking for. The use of minimal design allows for the rapid digestion of information and ultimately leads to more satisfied users.
The inability to spend endless time searching for information on a website also means that many web design agencies are moving away from the once-popular ubiquitous site, and shifting instead toward the homogenous hero. Instead of boldly featuring the headline in the center of the landing page, designers are opting instead to move the header and CTA to one side, with the image on the opposing side. This split-screen aesthetic also allows for easy conversion to mobile, providing a clear dividing line between the two content blocks.
6. Animate Your Site
The use of animation is an easy way to make your website appear polished and dynamic. Animation also helps bring your brand’s story to life, quickly engaging users and drawing more visitors to your homepage. When used as a tool to communicate complex messages easily, animation can reduce the time that a user must spend in order to understand your message, which enables them to spend more time exploring your website.
When adding animation and motion into your website design, it is important to consider web image optimization, which is the process of providing the smallest-sized images optimized in terms of quality, resolution, and format. With the rise of internet browsing on mobile, images and animations must be optimized to perform well on mobile. While animations are a fantastic way to engage your site visitors, they can also slow down your website load times and negatively impact your SEO. Let a professional website design agency like Bluetext help ensure that your website can support lively animation without dragging down your website load time.
When Bluetext redesigned the Clarabridge website, we made sure to incorporate motion in a sophisticated way, making the UX come alive. We used motion throughout the homepage to engage the user and pull them further down the landing page. This design also quickly explains how Clarabridge works and allows a site visitor to visualize how they might best use Clarabridge’s services.
7. Incorporate More Video Content
Video content diversifies your web page, and also appeals to those fast-moving users who do not have the time to search through a lot of text. Videos are also a great way to make an emotional connection to your users and lead to a better overall website experience. By 2020, experts predict that 80% of online traffic will be video. Additionally, 72% of businesses say that video has improved their conversion rate, and 45% of people watch an hour or more of video per day.
While video content is clearly an important marketing tactic, 64% of marketers see video as the most difficult content to create. Not only do videos take time to plan, shoot, and edit, but it is also tough to decide exactly what type of content should be presented in your video. Because viewers’ attention starts to drop off after roughly two minutes, finding an expert who specializes in video content may be the best route for creating the perfect video for your website.
Not only will video content boost your website’s success, but it is also rewarded by Google. If your site includes video, it is 53X more likely to get a first-page spot in search results. Video improves SEO, which boosts your ranking. But if a short video is one of the first impressions a user will have of your business, how do you go about creating successful video content, and keep the user coming back for more? Many website design agencies have video specialists who can tell your story in a clear and powerful way. Check out Bluetext’s latest video work with Invictus.