Website Design Trends for 2018

blog 2018 trendsWith a new year on the horizon, we like to share what we believe are the top web design trends that may be applicable for the clients we serve. You’ll quickly notice that it’s all about designing for the way we access the web now and where the web is going in the future. Mobile is up over 35% from last year and the trend won’t be slowing down.

  1. Search engine giant, Google, has announced that they will use the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine. This means that Google will rank mobile sites higher in their index than sites that are not mobile responsive. If you’re website is not mobile-friendly yet, it’s time to get serious about a website design upgrade.
  2. The use of whitespace is becoming more important as designers learn that whitespace, or negative space, makes content stand out so that it’s easier to read and navigate. Here’s a recent sample of ours »
  3. Irregular grids are replacing the uniform grids that have served as the base for WordPress themes. WordPress will likely continue to have security holes and its bulky, buggy code will continue to leave it a target for hackers worldwide.
  4. Bold fonts and bright colors are replacing oversize images so users can focus on content that will likely remain the most critical component of page rankings. Unlike images that slow pages down, scaling the size of typography wont impact performance.
  5. Responsive design has been around for a number of years because we now use phones, tablets, smart watches, desktops and smart TVs. So this design principle is not going anywhere.
  6. For designers, scalable vector graphics (SVGs) have been part of our toolbox for a few years and we expect this graphic format to overtake more traditional files format such as PNG, GIF, and JPG. SVGs don’t lose quality when scaled up or down and don’t affect page speed, so we’ll be integrating more SVG graphics in the sites we build this year and beyond.

In 2018, our focus will be on designing simple yet powerful websites that are optimized for mobile devices and care deeply about the user experience. We will use new formats, styles, and technologies to help our clients say more, do more, share more, and enjoy a greater return on their digital investments.

Web Builder vs Web Designer

There’s an old adage attributed to copywriter Gary Halbert (1938-2007), “The Prince of Print” that goes like this:

What does it take to have a successful restaurant?

Great location? No.
Superior service? Nope.
Good prices? Nope.
Ambiance? Not even close.
Amazing food? Actually, not even that.

To have a successful restaurant … you need a starving crowd.
Everything else is a means to serve that crowd a little better—to get their attention
and give them what they want.

Your business has its own version of the starving crowd. It’s up to you to figure who’s starving. Or is it?

dog and catHalbert goes on to say that once you know who’s starving, get their attention and give them what they want. If you have a successful business now, you’ve got a pretty good handle on who is picking up what you put down. But guess what? Those starving people can now find you!

New customers, patients, clients, donors, whatever, tell Google their problem, and like magic (not really magic, more like an algorithm) up comes a menu of solutions providers. Often, the list is long, so you want those eyeballs to see your business name right in front of their eyes. Not an easy task! But we’ll get to that later.

So now they found your website and it’s beautiful. They love the look. But they’re still starving because they can’t figure out in the first 3 seconds how you can solve their problem. This is pretty common when you’ve chosen a website builder like Squarespace.

I mean, would you hire me to take photos at your wedding? I’m a whiz on my iPhone camera and have Photoshop, so why not? It’s just the most important day of your life. Well the same thing applies to your website.

There are so many complicated back-end things that go into a beautiful custom website that have nothing to do with design:

  1. Write marketing copy or repurpose existing copy that is intelligently packed with keywords in the right tone and voice for your business.
  2. Build a navigation scheme around that copy that gets attention, raises curiosity, engages visitors so they spend time on your site, and finally, to get a visitor to engage or take action.
  3. Ask questions in order to know you and your business; do exhaustive research on the competition and outline a strategic marketing plan. (Clients often get more out of this process than any other).
  4. Refresh a logo or repurpose images to put your best face forward online.
  5. Implement and integrate SEO, social media, email marketing, blogging, e-commerce, CRM, and more.
  6. Provide for approval a written content document and a static mockup of the site before the actual site building starts.

If you’ve thought about using a website builder, give us a call. We’ll buy you cup of coffee, lay out the pros and cons in a fair and honest way, and give you a chance to really understand your options. If we move forward, great. If not, no hard feelings and you never know what’s down the road. Just saying though, next time, coffee is on you. I like the Flat White at Starbucks.

A Bit about Blogging

There’s a lot to say about the value of blogging.

blogging_au_plein_air

“Blogging Au Plein Air, after Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot” by Mike Licht on Flickr

For starters, Google plays favorites with websites that update on a regular basis. Blogs network – they generate quality backlinks with colleagues who share a common interest and start conversations. Blogs are a powerful tool for building relationships with customers – in certain industries, maybe the most powerful! I could go on, but I promised “a bit” about blogging so intend to stick to my promise.

Top 3 Types of Bloggers

  1. The sincere blogger. He or she blogs at least twice a month, loves to write, is good at it, and considers the blog an important cog in the gears that keep the business thriving. He shares a lot about his business, a little about himself, and sees his blog as the linchpin of an overall marketing strategy, and not just an add-on.
  2. The cheater. The Cheater wants to blog at least twice a month, understands the value of blogging, but never got an A+ (or even a C) on creative writing assignments in the 9th grade, or ever for that matter. She buys greeting cards with sentiments so she doesn’t have to think up what to say in a letter. On her blog, she cheats by grabbing an article sent to her inbox by someone else, and basically “forwarding” the article with only a quick, one sentence endorsement. Not a bad method, and far better than no blog at all.
  3. The mystery writer. This type is clever. He’s way too busy, busy, busy, to do the research required for a well-written blog. So he found a ghost writer who can get into both his business and his head, and write from his heart. His blog fans don’t need to know they’re not his words, because in a sense they are. He’s figured out that paying $50 per post to a real writer while he earns the equivalent of $125 an hour working the money end of the business– well, do the math, then hire a ghost blogger.

If you want to learn more about setting up a blog or finding a ghost blogger, let us know. If you have ideas about blogging, tell us what you think in the Comments section.