Gone are the days where you could produce a website with all bells and whistles and it’d do the job perfectly on looks alone. Those of us who remember the early days of the web will recall that web design wasn’t actually all that pretty back then – but we made do with what we had! These days, however, websites need more than just a few visual enhancements and a pretty look to be able to perform well in a market that’s growing all the time.
Getting seen by Google, and by your potential audience, is going to mean you doing more than just sprucing up your colour scheme or using the right fonts – you’re going to need to present a functional interface which works wonders across a variety of devices and browsers. You’re going to need to produce genuinely engaging and informative content that appeals to the right people, and which keeps them on the page.
We’re already over halfway into 2018, but it’s worth looking at this year’s website design trends and strategies to get a better idea of how to create effective and genuinely substantial websites moving forward. As experts in both SEO and web design – the two come hand in hand – we’ve taken a closer look at what’s making current web design tick and what all good websites should be doing to appeal to wider audiences for years to come.
Yes – this is a big one – and even if you’re not already steeped in the world of modern web design, you might actually have heard about the way the online landscape is changing. Essentially, more and more of us are drifting away from our PCs, Macs and laptops to browse the web on our smartphones and tablets instead – so it makes sense that Google would be changing the goalposts moving forward.
It’s not just a case of appeasing the search engine and its mobile-first strategy for search results, getting your website mobile-friendly is essential if you’re interested in making sure your core audience benefits from a functional and engaging experience. Is your site easy to read and viewed via phone or tablet? If not, you’re missing a very large boat. Opt for responsive design where possible, this means your site will adapt to any devices that come across it.
Believe it or not, we’re still very much talking about email marketing. While sending marketing flyers to random inboxes is old hat these days, it’s still a huge point of engagement for existing customers. Good web design in 2018 should offer its readers the opportunity to ‘opt in’ to marketing missives – to directly engage with your brand on a regular basis – and to be reminded of what you can do for them by prompting them on their smartphones every so often. It’s a great way to encourage repeat custom or upselling. If your website doesn’t have an interest capture form, set one up.
Once again, it’s thanks to the rise of the smartphone and the tablet that average audience patience has shrunk considerably – this isn’t a bad thing! It does mean, however, that if your website isn’t loading up within a couple of seconds of a link being clicked, you’re going to get ignored, and that ‘back’ button is going to be clicked with gusto.
SEO may be all about keeping your audience on-page as much as it is about getting people to you in the first place, but if you lead with a slow and clunky web design strategy in 2018, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Your website needs to load quickly and provide all the information a reader needs as soon as they arrive. You only have a few seconds to make that good first impression, capture interest and keep people around!
From an SEO perspective, this is a no-brainer – and it really goes without saying that regular, engaging and varied content is going to be a big winner with readers and visitors. Supplying the same old content in the same old format is going to get stale. Mix things up with multimedia, visitor interaction, social media integration – the works.
Consider what would appeal to you as a website visitor – what would keep you coming back for more? That’s what we’re looking at in terms of modern web design – a content management strategy that regularly tops up, doesn’t dumb down and which provides moments of direct engagement and interactivity. People love to have their voices heard.
Yes – despite Facebook having had something of a turbulent year thus far in terms of press, social media – from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to YouTube – is still an integral part of online marketing, and your online survival. We are now at a point in time where a website or online brand that neglects a social media presence stands to neglect a whole chunk of their market – it’s become essential for you to run a Facebook page and an Instagram account at the very least if you’re hoping to connect with a younger audience.
Therefore, don’t shuffle the networks to one side – stack them up, brand them, install them on your website. Integrate them within your content. Encourage sharing – let people know you’re active and alive from Twitter to Tumblr and everything in between.
While some web trackers may be frowned upon and while many people will be browsing with ‘do not track me’ enabled, many websites benefit from having advanced analytics switched on. This data is, of course, anonymous, and it’s important – again – to obtain user consent – but where you can, certainly make use of trackers and analytics to ensure that you know who your site is appealing to, when and how.
This will help you to grow your web presence moving forwards – education and feedback is, of course, always a good thing! Work with a web designer or developer in looking at the best tools available to you – keeping within the white hat SEO ring, of course!
Yes – we’re coming back to that all-important king of the web design staples – search engine optimisation – it’s in our name, after all. SEO may have undergone something of a transformation over the past few years thanks to changing browsing attitudes, trends and Google making changes to their algorithms, but it remains absolutely paramount to say that SEO strategy is still getting your website the traffic it deserves.
White hat SEO ensures that your content is engaging and not stuffed with keywords – that your linking and tag strategy is on point – and that you’re appealing to all of Google’s policies when it comes to developing fair content that can be easily spotted. The days of just running up a list of keywords in the hope of getting found on Google are absolutely over and done with – and trust us when we say that SEO is going to be the integral asset of good web design for years and years to come.
The next stage – which we’re going to see more of in the next few years – is making web design and content more palatable for artificial intelligence such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. This is still very much a move that’s in its infancy, but rest assured we will be evolving our strategy with every new, long-lasting trend that emerges.
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Web design in 2018 is free from traps, from hidden agendas, and from shady techniques. It’s home to engaging content, varied content at that – flexible interface design, speedy loading times and impeccable SEO strategy. Things are only going to move further in this direction in the years to come – so if any of the above has sounded alien to you, it’s likely time to consult with a web design team who knows their trade and all the key trends and changes.
SEO CoPilot can be your on-board web design and SEO experts for the rest of 2018 and beyond – call us today on 01246 556 565 for a free consultation – and let’s bring your website into the modern age.