In many businesses, January is a time for reflection and planning. With 2022 on our doorstep, that time is just around the corner. My bet is that a large part of that planning will involve how the business is marketed and a part of that is the business website.
Websites have changed drastically over the years, not just in their appearance, but also in what they offer in engagement and functionality. The “user experience” of the business website has a large impact on the chance of getting that call or contact from a good potential client. In your planning, it pays to give some though on how your website can be in front of the line.
2022 is no different. There are new trends in both design and functionality. Some of the trends are driven by the still increasing move toward mobile, but surprisingly, eco friendliness and sustainability now also play a part in how we present our websites, e.g. “Dark Mode” options.
At the same time, the approach taken by Google in the ranking of websites has had an impact on how we write and present our website content and advertising. Google cannot be ignored.
So, what are some of the essentials:
The reason I put in spot one is that there are still may websites that don’t get this right. The user interface on mobile should be vastly different to a smaller presentation of the desktop version. A site visitor has different needs depending on whether they find your website on desktop or on mobile. That needs to be considered.
The changes in website design over time have reflected not only an artistic element, but also advancements in technology. The software we use to build websites is better and we now have platforms like Craft CMS that bridge the gap between “Web Page” and “App”.
Bold and courageous colours are becoming more common, and the old and outdated “shadow effect” is making a comeback, but in a clever way. Have a look at this Neumorphism Demo or read more about “Neumorphism”.
If your website is a bit outdated, then it’s likely that the page speed is holding it back, not only from appearing high in searches, but also from being used once it is found. Website visitors are an impatient lot and if your website is not fast, a click back to the search results will find your competitors website right above or below yours. If that one is faster and more engaging they will simply not return to your site. To find out why page speed matters then look at this article from Neil Patel. To check the page speed on your website, go to GTmetrix or to PageSpeed Insights.
Likewise, if your website does not immediately tell the visitor what the business is about and whether it is appropriate to what they searched for, then they will quickly have better things to do.
The alignment of relevant keywords to the content of your website. I often make a point about “answering the search” on your website. For that you have to know what the search actually is. Spend some time thinking about the searches that your clients would use to find what you offer.
Content and Keywords are closely related, but not so close that the content becomes biased. The thing with content is that there is so much out there, that Google has the luxury to choose what they deem to be the best content and they will likely ensure that the best content (in their opinion) rates highest.
There are ways to write for the web, and it pays to get a specialist to do it, unless you have the time and skills to do this inhouse.
The new trend is for content to be shaped to the audience. For instance, if you have websites in different countries, then the content should be country-specific for each website.
Completing the user journey
We’ve already seen a significant shift towards this when businesses were compelled to change the way they engage with their customers. COVID19 pushed the face-to-face user interaction online. One example is the “Click and Collect” system that many stores had to implement.
Businesses quickly had to add functionality to their websites that completed the user journey, from initial engagement to the end, with all possible interactions via the website. Website users have come to expect “online” to offer more than just the brochure of the business but want to see all actions that can be done online to be available to them online.
With that change the requirement for online “trust” becomes high as does the presentation of the user interface.
This is not a complete list, but a good starting point. Your website will play an ever-increasing role in how your business is presented to your audience. Include it in your planning at the beginning in 2022. Give us a call if you need some additional input. Our results speak for themselves and you are welcome to ask us for references from our Auckland and New Zealand Web Design and SEO clients.