Success most often comes with riding the wave of change rather than following in its wake.
Explore the trends of tomorrow and incorporate those that are applicable to your web business.
Trends will come and go, spurred by the technological evolution that can be utilized to entice and engage users. It’s important to look to the future now for ideas and inspiration so that you can stay ahead of the competition.
It’s crucial to look to the future for ideas and inspiration that we can apply to our businesses now.
Engaging Photographic Content
The value of a great photo has never been higher in web design and web development. This concept is not new. During the heyday of print magazines, great product photos were in high demand to help create conversions simply based on the story an image told. Unique pictures and photos that show individuality while conveying useful information will be an important key to online success in 2018.
Gone are the days of boring whitewashed dudes in cheesy corporate stock photography. 2018 will see a huge uptick in high quality personalized, customized, brand matching photography … not generic, boring stock photography.
Phasing Out Flash
Flash has been phasing out forever, and will continue to phase out and be replaced with HTML5, which is quickly becoming the most common, universal format on the web.
Motion User Interface
Originally designed for mobile apps, a mobile user interface allows for the use of animations and transitions to help alert users to actions or important components, along with adding life and style to a project.
This technology offers a high degree of customization, which then allows a developer many options to craft a highly functional and stunning site. Some examples of motion would be easing in, overlay, cloning, obscuration, parallax, parenting, dimensionality and offset-delay.
Increasingly, as you scroll through the web, information isn’t just presented for your approval, but slides up into your awareness, calling attention to itself piece by piece.
A basic static website (no database like WordPress) is a blast from the past but will continue to have a use in 2018. Why would anyone want to take a technological step backward? Cost, Simplicity, Security, Speed.
These websites are safe, load quickly and less expensive. Static websites should see a resurgence in use for cost-conscious projects, as they are miles ahead of the original static websites from the web’s infancy, but not nearly as dull or labor-intensive to create.
Static website generators create websites from plain text, usually stored in files and not in databases. In certain situations, static websites built by generators such as Jekyll, allow for some advantages, such as increased speed, security, ease of deployment and their handling of traffic surges. However, they have no real time content or user content (such as comments), which have become a “must” on the web today.
As Content Delivery Networks and APIs become more and more the way of life of the web and make it easier for content and templates to be deployed, many devs think static site generators might be an interesting area to watch in the coming year.
The single-page website provides an attractive, simple, modern solution to online needs which is less expensive to develop and host. The design consists of one long scrolling web page, with simple navigation based on scrolling or links that jump up or down the page to a particular section. The design works exceptionally well on mobile devices.
Single page website is gaining popularity due to its simplicity and ease of use. Single page websites may reduce clutter and reduce complexities such as multi-level menus and multiple pages.
Another benefit of the one-page website is easy access on mobile devices. It is user-friendly, cost-effective and needs little to no design. The single page website will be the mainstream in 2018.
Push notifications is a powerful mobile app tools that provides ability to send direct information to a user such as traffic changes, sports scores or sales data. Websites with push notification functionality create higher engagement without the additional cost of creating a mobile app.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps are web applications on web pages that behave similar to mobile applications.
A recent mobile usage study found that mobile apps account for 89% of total mobile media time. It follows that utilizing a similar technology for websites will be well-received by target audiences.
They take advantage of the features of web browsers but deliver an app-like user experience. The advantages to this technology are the ability to work offline, fast loading, reliability and the ability to receive push notifications. They can be built faster than mobile apps, work for any user and are generally easier to deploy and maintain.
Being connected to users is more important than ever. LiveChat (texting with a person) and Chatbots (computer programs which have conversations with us either via text or auditory method) allow a website to have a 24/7 contact point. Chatbots are perfect for answering common questions, directing people to information and pages or even how to complete a transaction.
Customers have become more demanding in recent years expecting their problems to be addressed immediately. Hence, having a customer chatbot will help communication with users, resulting in better customer services.
Instead of having a full-time customer support department, a chatbot will guide the customers, resulting in the smoother work process. Make sure to consider having a chatbot as early as possible to stay updated with the latest trends and be competitive.
Broken Grid Layouts
Broken grid layputs allow images and text elements to drift into and across the gutters that usually serve as hard stops in more sober layouts. Here, the usual discreet boxes of images and text begin to overlap and converge, often creating beautifully unexpected juxtapositions of bitmap and letterform.
illustration dominated the advertising world up till the late 60s or so. Illustrations can be very powerful in bringing more abstract concepts to vivid life. Illustrations can resolve some of the representational challenges posed by photography.
Organic & Oblique Shapes
Both web and mobile design have been dominated by card-based UIs for several years, until recently, most of those cards were sharp-edged and right-angled, exposing the geometry of their underlying divs.
Now, most apps such as Google Now, Twitter and Facebook boast rounded corners on their cards, input boxes, profile avatars, and more.
Before HTML5, a video could only be played in a browser with a plug-in (like flash).
The HTML5 <video> element specifies a standard way to embed a video in a web page.
The Video Element is powerful for several reasons:
- It can slip seamlessly into the design without the intrusion of an embedded YouTube or Vimeo video.
- It remains extremely high quality, even with lots of colors, gradients, and detail in the image — something GIFs struggle to do without exponentially ballooning in size
- It can be looped to ensure the details of the copy and those of the image remain in sync, and repeat for those who need it
So it’s no surprise we’re seeing the video element spring up all over the web. Videos are no longer just something to watch, they are now becoming part of a brands presentation and communication.
Expect to see video content in multiple areas of a website instead of the typical main page video alone. Videos can deliver a great deal of information quickly and visually, expect to see videos used throughout websites in 2018.
A single font file that behaves like multiple fonts.
By Erik van Blokland, from the Typekit Blog
Content ebooks (instead of PDF’s)
Leading brands are changing from the familiar gated PDF approach to ebook distribution and embracing the web’s potential for publishing longform content.
The CSS Grid Layout Module offers a grid-based layout system, with rows and columns, making it easier to design web pages without having to use floats and positioning. CSS Grid is the first real layout system for the web designed for organizing content both into columns and rows, which gives developers almost more control of the various screen sizes before us than ever before.
Pivot from Text to Video
Publishers continue to be amazingly bullish about switching from text to video. You see it everywhere from news sites insisting that you watch video rather than read the short-form “stories” pushed by Snapchat, then Instagram, and Facebook.
Unless you’re on Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat, chances are you’re seeing a whole lot of writing. However, even on those visuals-first platforms, text still plays a key supporting role.
Content Marketing & influencer networks
Content marketing can take many forms – such as blog posts, videos and infographics.
70% of people said they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad, and content marketing is cheaper than many other forms of marketing.
Content marketing has been a top strategy for a long time, so it’s becoming saturated. Most brands with a website have some kind of content strategy, and social media networks are bursting with content producers fighting for visibility.
Rather than fighting for new space, many marketers will focus their efforts on working with influencers who already have built an audience and reputation. These influencer networks may be less expensive to manage, and can give brands a leg-up in online visibility.
It’s kind of hard to do it all yourself while running your business, so if you don’t have time, consider outsourcing your content creation to streamline your process.
Like AI, live video is nothing new, but it’s growing exponentially. Everyone wants a piece of Facebook Live.
It isn’t just popular with marketers. People love watching live video too. In fact, 80% of users said they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog post, while according to Facebook, live video gets 3x more views.
“Facebook users are increasingly captivated by videos on the platform — not just on Facebook but on Instagram as well. Video, both live and recorded, is a key driver of growing user engagement and advertiser enthusiasm,” added Peart.
No wonder video display ads are expected to be the second leading highest ad spend platform in 2018 and in 2019.
Brands will have to tell their story in an even better, more elegant way. The use of live videos on social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, is also going to increase.
Video is slowly occupying more and more of the space on Facebook and many other platforms. A brand which strives for success MUST be great at telling its story in a compelling manner through video (especially live video).
The engagement of such live videos is slowly increasing nowadays. This means that everyone should start taking advantage of live videos as soon as possible.
Here are a few tips for getting started with live video:
- Use live video at events to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at the event.
- Show off holiday displays and sales in live video.
- Use live video to introduce your followers to your employees.
- Advertise an exclusive sale or promotion to anyone who watches your live video.
Whatever you do, make sure your employees and any customers who are in your business at the time are aware that you’re filming to avoid any mishaps. It might be better to film a live video during off hours, though, since you can’t edit live video and people will see everything as it happens.
Mobile Everything & Mobile Video Consumption Will Grow
If your website, and your marketing strategy more broadly, isn’t optimized for mobile yet in 2017, 2018 is the year to start. Put simply, search engines will penalize you if your website isn’t mobile friendly.
Besides, it’s no secret that consumers spend much of their lives staring at their phones.
In 2018, mobile video consumption is expected to grow by 25% (and video consumption is supposed to decline on laptops and desktop computers for the first time ever), so get ahead of the competition now by planning a mobile video strategy.
Live video (see above) is a great place to start if you’re a DIY kind of business owner.
- Mobile is the most popular way to browse the web (51.4%)
- Laptops come in second at 43.4%
- About 70% of searches are projected to come from mobile next year, so if you’re not working on your business’s mobile presence, you’re only marketing to 30% of those searches
Voice Searches Will Continue to Grow
Consumers can use voice search just about anywhere now: phones, smart speakers, laptops, tablets, desktop computers. By 2020, 50% percent of all searches may likely be voice searches.
Optimizing for voice search tends to include long-tail keywords and conversational phrases (‘best pad Thai in Columbus’ vs. ‘Thai Restaurant Columbus’) that people would be more likely to say out loud.
Content marketing works well for optimizing for voice search because it’s easier to work those conversational keywords into a blog post then to try and stuff them elsewhere into your website content.
Television Migrates to Digital World
Facebook, YouTube and Amazon have their own TV series’ now. Netflix and Hulu have exclusive shows you can only see on their platforms, and television streaming services keep winning Emmy awards.
We know people are watching video on their mobile devices, and there’s more to come in 2018. As TV migrates to the digital world, so will savvy business owners, opting for social media and YouTube ads rather than local TV commercials.
Strategic Social Media
Strategic Social Media Will Become Your Best Chance to Reach Followers. It gets harder and harder to reach your intended audience on social media, with updates and changing algorithms. You’ll have to work for your social presence.
That’s why 2018 is going to be the year for strategic, actionable social media plans for local businesses and large brands alike. Get started by building a solid social media base so that you can amp up your social strategy in 2018.
Facebook is overwhelmingly the social media platform of choice for small businesses. Most small business owners expect to use social media content to acquire new customers in 2018, according to recent research from Infusionsoft.
The report was based on data from a survey conducted in October 2017 among 1,000 small business owners in the United States.
Some 71% of respondents say they plan use social media content to acquire new customers in 2018. Three-quarters of respondents plan to include Facebook as part of their social media strategy next year.
Transparency & Trust | Crucial Elements of Marketing
Transparency and trust are already a big deal when consumers look for local businesses. Everyone reads reviews. They search for your social media profiles. They Internet stalk you because they want to know everything they can possibly know about you before they come to your business.
People can leave reviews on your social pages and profiles. Google recently added an extra layer of verification and trust to home services businesses with its Local Services Ads.
So beef up your review marketing strategy and start giving consumers a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Add a human element to your marketing so that you’re more than a logo, a product, a service. Bring the transparency in 2018 and you will be rewarded.
The Digital World Will Continue to Focus on Local
The digital landscape is making it easier than ever for local businesses to interact with consumers. Google Posts rolled out to all businesses in 2017. Facebook Local gives consumers a more localized social platform.
Local Services Ads make it easy to prove you’re trustworthy. Let’s hope we see more of this local focus in search results and social media in 2018 and beyond because this gives local businesses the chance to compete with even the biggest brands for consumer attention.
With all these local advancements, big brands will focus on local marketing – getting all their locations ranking in local search results, local events, local social media pages, etc, will create even more heated competition for local businesses.
Pop-Ups Are Finally Going Away – Yeh!!
We can expect the pop-ups to be gradually replaced by better designed and less intrusive cross-device responsive native advertisements.
Industry Threats & Opportunities
A growing number of potential clients are internally developing and maintaining their own websites.
Many businesses are developing mobile-responsive websites to create a superior user experience
The industry will benefit from the changing media landscape as more content is produced online.
Google recently introduced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to help improve mobile search experience and boost rankings.
With the increase in mobile usage, having a mobile responsive website is necessary. As much as 80% of users browse websites on their smartphones. In addition, make sure to optimize your website for speed. Users will opt out if the website takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
In addition, AMPed pages are 4 times faster and use 8 times lesser data as compared to traditional mobile optimized pages.