Another year is upon us, bringing with it lots to look forward to in the world of online marketing! Reflecting upon the developments of 2013, Eden has compiled a list of web trends your business should be keeping an eye on for 2014!
All the design trends for 2014 can be summed up in one word: simplicity. Current web design trends are all about making it easier for your customers to navigate your website, find your products and complete a transaction. Studies have shown that websites with fewer obstacles – minimal clicks, shorter forms, larger buttons, clear call-to-actions, etc. – are more likely to convert leads. Web designers are embracing simplicity and making it easier than ever for users to navigate.
Design Trends For 2014:
- Responsive Web Design
This type of intuitive web design automatically reconfigures your website’s layout to fit mobile, tablet and desktop devices. It’s even been given Google’s stamp of approval! With over a billion active smartphone users in the world, designing a mobile optimized website is essential in today’s online marketplace.
- Scrolling Websites
This type of web design allows you to fit a lot of content on a single scrolling page without overwhelming your customers. Scrolling designs are particularly natural and friendly for tablet and mobile users, and they are proving to work for desktop users as well. It simplifies the on-page experience and minimizes clicks.
- Static Headers
Static headers make key information easily accessible to your customers no matter where they are on your website. Things to consider adding to your static header include: contact info, social sharing buttons, your main naviagation, or anything else your customers might want close at hand.
While far from new, infographics are becoming the preferred way to share information. Infographics use a visual format to make complicated or dense information interesting and easy to absorb at a glance.
- Larger Fonts
Large print isn’t just for books anymore. It’s easier to read and your customers will appreciate not having to strain their eyes to read the text on your website.
- Elimination of Flash
With Apple’s blacklisting of the once popular format, and the introduction of HTML 5, Flash has been rendered obsolete. Focus on creating HTML 5, jQuery and Java sites that are mobile and search engine friendly instead.
For years marketing experts have been warning about explosion of mobile marketing and Mcommerce. If you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the mobile bandwagon! Mobile and smartphone use continue to rise steadily and shows no signs of slowing. Making your website mobile-friendly is the first step, but there’s a lot more to mobile optimization than you might think
Mobile Trends For 2014:
- Mobile Optimized Designs
Exclusive mobile sites are waning in popularity in favour of more versatile responsive web designs. Responsive design customizes your site for all types of devices simultaneously – eliminating the need for a separate mobile site.
Click-to-call is a form of search engine marketing that allows prospective customers to call you at the click of a button, directly through your search engine listing. It’s ideal for targeting mobile customers that don’t have the time or inclination to read content on your website and want to reach you directly and immediately.
Note: Make sure the phone numbers on your webpages are clickable, too. Don’t make phone numbers graphics, and don’t use text or words in the number.
Use dashes instead of dots on your numbers. This format allows customers to dial directly from your site. (Ex. CORRECT: 905-669-9550 . INCORRECT: 905.669.9550).
- Local Search Optimization
Over 50% of mobile users use their smartphone to search for local businesses when they need immediate service, and then take action based on their findings. Optimizing your website for local searches ensures your website captures mobile users with a high probability of converting.
If you’re selling your products or services online, you should also be selling them on mobile. Smartphone users are using their phones to shop. Optimizing your Ecommerce site for mobile users extends your reach and gives you an advantage over competitors with clunky outdated Ecommerce sites.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is far from new. Over the last decade, search engine marketing has played a crucial role in driving traffic and creating opportunities for businesses online. However, 2013 brought with it several changes in search engine algorithms from search giants such as Google. The Panda and Penguin updates, among others, have changed how businesses must approach search engine marketing in 2014.
Search Marketing Trends For 2014:
- Contextual Search
What is contextual search? Contextual searches take into consideration all the content on a page (not just keyword density) to determine how relevant it is in relation to the search term. Google and other search engines are beginning to favour this method for their algorithms, so take note!
- Google Authorship
Google’s authorship program is changing the way brands and content makers approach posting content. It puts a face and a name on all your content, providing credibility and culpability. Naturally, Google is prioritizing content from established Google authors, so getting on board with authorship will give you a boost in your search rankings, too.
- Geo-targeting and Local Search
Local search has long been a key part of search optimization for businesses. With the explosion in smartphone use, more and more mobile users are searching for businesses on the go. Smartphone users who search for local businesses are much more likely to walk into a local business within an hour of searching than desktop users. If you haven’t hopped aboard and made local search a part of your SEO strategy, now’s the time to get on top of it!
- Google Places
Google Places puts your business on the map – Google Maps, that is. If you haven’t signed your business up for Google Places – do it now. Google Maps is the most used mapping program (on both desktop and mobile devices), and having your business on it is sure to garner you some important leads. If you’re listed on Google Places, your search listings on Google will link to a map of your business. Your Places account also features a place for customer reviews – which can be helpful for earning the trust of new customers.
Since MySpace popularized social sharing a decade ago, social media has grown into a global phenomenon. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter, among others, have taken over the market. Facebook is the second most visited site in the world (behind Google) and rakes in billions of dollars a year as the web’s second most popular channel for advertising (again behind Google). With dozens of social media sites to choose from, there’s certainly a social media channel (or a few!) that are suited to your business.
Social Media Trends For 2014:
- Branded Social Feeds
Most social media giants have been steadily making accommodations to make it easier to promote your business on their site. Fan pages and company pages are incredibly popular and when consistently updated with fresh, relevant content, can give your brand’s reputation and sales a boost.
- Share Everything
There’s no such thing as TMI – that’s “too much information” for those of you not up to speed on your Internet acronyms. Social media is all about sharing information with your customers. Share articles that are relevant to your industry, photos, ideas, anything! Companies with an active social media presence are proven to have more loyal customers.
Google’s social media platform is one of the newer entries in the realm of social media (it was launched in 2011) but that doesn’t mean it’s not influential. Google has been laying groundwork to integrate their social media platform with their search rankings (see Authorship, above!). Many of its features were built with businesses in mind, so it’s a perfect platform for promoting your company.
- Online Videos
The easy-to-share nature of videos makes them an ideal medium for promoting your business. If you can get a viral video rolling, you can reach a sizable audience with the help of your followers. Though humor is often a component of popular viral videos, online videos are versatile and adaptable to your brand message. Common video formats include tutorials, testimonials, and informational videos, among others.
85% of the world’s Internet users, have made purchases online. As you can imagine, Ecommerce is huge business for retailers. If you’re able to sell your products or services online, you’re able to target a sizable market you might not otherwise be able to reach offline.
Ecommerce Trends For 2014:
Mobile commerce, often shortened to Mcommerce, is Ecommerce’s fastest growing trend. More people are using smartphones and tablets for daily tasks, including shopping, than ever before. Making it easy for customers to purchase your products or services on any type of device gives you a leg up on your competition. Eden recommends responsive web design to optimize your website on all types of devices simultaneously.
Ever noticed Amazon’s ‘recommended books’ section seems to be made just for you? That’s because it is. That’s personalization at work, and it’s becoming a huge trend in Ecommerce. Customers who feel you’re creating content just for them are much more likely to spend more and be more loyal to your brand.
- Content, Content, Content
Yep, content is still king. It’s especially important for Ecommerce stores that need to drive steady traffic to their listings. Ensuring you optimize the content on every item listing is an important step that will help consumers accurately find your products or services, and therefore make purchases.
- Big Data
If you’re not familiar with online marketing, Big Data refers to the massive amounts of data collected from your website and other online marketing initiatives. Web analytics programs compile this data into an easier-to-manage format that you can use to improve your business. Using your big data, you can find opportunities to improve your Ecommerce site. Your data can determine things such as the best way to categorize listings, what keywords bring in the best leads, and a whole lot more. Trust that your competitors are using it. You should be, too.
So there you have it, Eden’s predictions for what’s going to be big on the web in 2014! Do you agree with our assessment? Are there other things you think we should have mentioned? Let us know in the comments. We want to hear your predictions for 2014’s biggest web trends.
Eden Advertising is an experienced online marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization, responsive design and web analysis. Get your website ready for 2014, give us a call at 1-800-844-0106. We’d love to consult with you and determine how we can optimize your website and online marketing campaigns to get bigger and better results for 2014! Happy New Year!!!