Your Website Isn’t a Destination — It’s Often the Beginning of the Journey
For most businesses, a website is a crucial platform for growing and connecting with their audience — not simply an end product.
Yes, many, many, many websites are typically designed to sell, but even when a site visitor has taken some sort of action, like filling out a form, redeeming a discount offer, or making a purchase, your relationship with this customer is only beginning.
In order to best nurture this relationship, your website must feature components that help generate brand loyalty, and possibly even advocacy through word of mouth or person-to-person referrals.
But with mobile and desktop website features continuing to evolve at a rapid pace, it can sometimes be confusing for business owners to know what to include and what to ignore when it comes to the ongoing development of their sites.
Many trends that pop up across the internet can easily distract visitors from your business’s message, rather than enhance it. Unique UX (user experience) approaches, clever design choices, and new technologies should be employed strategically so that your business shines and isn’t lost in the noise of gimmicks and novelty.
When Choosing New Features for Your Site, Remember Your Business’s Goals and Your Customers’ Needs
The endless possibilities for features and elaborate layouts and design choices, it can be easy to forget what purpose your website serves for your business. It is your home on the internet, and — for the majority of businesses — a lead generation tool.
I recommend that you look at it this way: Your website should be performing, not putting on a performance.
Taking cues from the best trends around the web, and integrating them with your business’s unique brand and value proposition, will give you a website that’s enjoyable and engaging to navigate and that directly supports your business objectives.
Still, you might be wondering, how do I decide what’s truly best for my business? That’s where finding a trusted web partner can come in handy.
Years ago, it was incredibly trendy for websites to feature a carousel on the homepage, where different images, messages, and links would cycle through, presumably with the intent of getting more information to the visitor, quicker.
An incredible number of businesses embraced this strategy, and while the spirit of it certainly made sense, it didn’t always function so well in practice.
Not only does this strategy presume that the end-user will actually spend the time to sit through the carousel’s cycle — and they typically won’t! — often the carousel’s timing, either switching too quickly or too slowly, leads to a poor experience, especially for those with accessibility issues. Carousels were also found to slow down page load times, disrupt customer journeys, and do very little in terms of conversions.
In general, we recommend that you avoid any features that disrupt pushing your visitors deeper and deeper into the marketing funnel. The goal is to create a desired conversion. Let that be your guide when making these decisions for your site.
Current Website Trends To Consider — An Overview
New Ways to Engage
New tools are constantly being developed to connect more features to your website and provide new ways for visitors to sign up, follow, or otherwise engage with you.
It’s easier than ever to add online shopping, event calendars, social media feeds, and newsletter subscriptions to your website. This trend is likely encouraged by the transition to GA4 (Google Analytics 4) and its increased focus on events and engagement metrics.
Strategic use of these engagement points can support growing your audience and achieving your business goals, but it’s important to avoid sabotaging your website’s main purpose.
Consider your user journeys so that these auxiliary interactions don’t prevent visitors from taking the primary action you’d like — it’s nice to gain a social media follower, but you might not want it to come at the expense of a potential client reaching out through your contact form because they’ve already moved from your site to Instagram.
If gaining followers still matters to you, consider adding a call to action for social media after the contact form has been completed, either through a thank you page or a follow-up email. In these cases, the order of operations is incredibly important to your ability to achieve certain goals tied to specific tactics.
Fresh This Season
Website design certainly isn’t immune to the whims of fashion. Typography and color trends currently lean toward bolder and more adventurous choices, and modern web tools make it simple to mix and match fonts, add vivid gradient overlays, and round the corners of every image and container.
Making a statement with your site’s design is generally a good thing, but it’s crucial to ensure that you’re making a statement that’s in line with your business’s brand and mission. It’s also important to guarantee that the bold choices on your website don’t detract from the legibility and accessibility of your site and its content, so that everyone on every device can engage with your business.
Creating brand recognition for your business is hard-earned work, and creating an all-new, unfamiliar experience for your visitors can create confusion if not part of a larger strategy.
There are two broad schools of thought when it comes to making these adjustments to your brand identity — the first is to slowly incorporate new elements into your brand, and the second is to launch a full-blown brand update.
The former strategy is typically for subtler adjustments to a brand update, and the latter is generally used for much more dramatic changes, and is more successful when associated with a comprehensive PR strategy, which gives the public a clearer sense of the reasoning behind the update.
No matter what, careful thought and consideration to your customer base is essential when making these decisions.
Remember, web tools and technology are constantly developing, often for development’s sake, not necessarily for the sake of businesses or users.
Augmented and virtual reality, screen-hijacking videos, elements that react to your cursor and scrolling movement, and of course, AI integration stem from advances in digital technology, not user experience.
Demonstrating developmental prowess is a valuable endeavor for some businesses, especially if their industry relates to technology or online culture, but these features can quickly overwhelm your business’s messaging and obfuscate your value rather than highlight it.
It can also overwhelm your visitors’ browsers and data plans, leading to slower load times, quicker disengagement, and even lower search result placement. Balancing technical features with reliable speed and ease of use will ensure your website’s results are as impressive as its bells and whistles.
You can create an incredible user experience, have the most advanced data tracking capabilities, and an aesthetically pleasing, secure website without incorporating all of the newest, trendiest website features.
Key Things To Remember When Updating or Launching a New Website
1. Your website is a tool — You want visitors to be wowed by what your business offers, not necessarily by your website’s technical innovations.
2. Bells and whistles can create distractions instead of conversions — Tricks that make your website operate in a novel way that visitors are unfamiliar with can lead to lower engagement and fewer opportunities.
3. A trusted partner can help you choose what’s right for your business — Not all trends are gimmicks, and it is important to stay up-to-date with website technologies and UX/UI strategies and optimize your website to be as accessible and effective with your audience as possible.
If your business needs a new website or a website refresh, Formada is here to help. We provide conversion-based strategies focused on content, web design, paid campaigns, and more.
Getting started is easy! Contact us today to set up a call.