Website trends change every year, and many of them are game changers for your marketing strategy. You need to be reviewing your website regularly to see whether you really have the best possible platform to make sure your personal brand doesn’t suck.
The year is 2016 and there are a lot of design trends taking over the Internet. We’re going to help you make sense of them by showing you some of the main functions every website should have before this year comes to a close.
A Mobile-Ready Website
You shouldn’t have one website you should have two websites. More and more of the world are browsing exclusively through mobile devices. Did you know that by the year 2020 80% of the world will own a smartphone and that 13% of adults access the web exclusively through mobile? That means you need to be thinking about creating a mobile ready website. And if you don’t, your target market is going to go elsewhere.
A mobile-ready website should look entirely different to the desktop version. You need to make sure that you have adopted responsive design so that all the functions that work on your desktop website work on mobile devices.
There are stiff penalties for not having this in place. As well as losing your customers, you’re going to have Google launching you down the search rankings.
Social Media Integration
The chances are most of your traffic is coming from your promotion on social media. That’s perfectly normal because social media is the number one driver of customers in the world today. But don’t just think about the traffic coming from social media to your website. Think about the traffic on your website that you can send to social media.
It’s time to stop thinking of social media as some sort of separate entity. It’s as crucial to the success of your website as the website itself.
Integrate them by installing sharing bars on every page of your website. Send people to social media and bring them back again. Create a total immersion experience.
Are you selling products and services direct from your website?
Then you should allow people to buy that product or service without the need to sign up for an account. One big trend in retail is the option to click one button to make a purchase. If people have to sign up for an account, get the validation email, and then finally make the purchase the chances are they aren’t going to do it.
The guest checkout option lets them make that one-time purchase. You are reducing the barriers to making a purchase and allowing them to make purchases faster. There’s a reason why even companies like Amazon have allowed customers to make a purchase without signing up for an account.
Reduce the Barriers to Entry
This is not so much of a specific feature but a general principle you should follow when organizing the purchasing path on your website. In general, customers want to do things fast. The last thing they want is to mess around with irrelevant fields and processes.
When they’re making a purchase, put everything on one page. When you need their information, only ask for the information you actually need not the information you want.
The FAQ function is one that is often underrated. A lot of people don’t realize how valuable this is from both a customer usability point of view and an SEO point of view.
For a start, Google loves the FAQ feature because it’s a piece of useful content. They are going to elevate your site in the search engine if you take advantage of it.
But where this function really comes into its own is in answering the same old customer questions over and over. You can show your customers that you understand them by giving answers to the same questions they are bound to bring up time and time again.
Avoid Anything Complex
If it has anything to do with Flash or videos that autoplay the moment you hit a webpage, it’s a feature you need to get rid of. Functions like autoplaying videos make sites run slow and they inflict yourself on the visitor like a lion hiding in the shadows. They’re not something you want to do to anybody.
The answer is in keeping it simple. Everything about your site should be minimalistic. Making a site more complex than it needs to be tends to cause more harm than help.
What do you think is the most important function every website should have in 2016?