Hey there and welcome back!
It’s 2021 and of course everyone’s looking ahead to trends that we can expect this year, from cars to houses to fashion. So let’s go ahead and just hop on that trend and talk about some of the trends that you can expect this year with websites. And hopefully these will help to guide your website decisions this year. These will range from ecommerce to web design to content and more.
Before we get started, if you want to see more videos this year about ecommerce, web design, WordPress, digital marketing and other website-related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and ring the bell for notifications.
Now let’s get started.
Increased online shopping
Obviously we can all expect another increase in online shopping in 2021. The pandemic in 2020 forced more people to shop online, and that trend doesn’t seem like it’s going to be slowing down any.
According to Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 43 percent of shoppers have a positive feeling about online shopping. And 38 percent of people are now more comfortable with online shopping compared to pre-pandemic.
Plus, we were already headed that way before the pandemic. According to Statista, 23 percent of all retail sales are expected to be online by 2023. That’s up from 14 percent in 2019.
All of which is to say, if you haven’t already done so, it’s probably a good time to create an online store for your business.
Page speed is going to be a big thing in 2021. Actually, it’s been a pretty big thing for the last few years, but expect that to really continue this year.
We all know the stat. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, you’re going to lose about a quarter of your visitors.
Plus, Google will be using page speed, especially mobile page speed, more in their page ranking of pages in searches. So you definitely need to be focused on that this year.
One great way to do that is through Google PageSpeed Insights. I talked more about how to use it in a video last year, which I’ll link to below. But the two things you need to check is getting your First Contentful Paint and DOMContentLoaded times as quick as possible.
So schedule some time to check your website’s page speed and fix those issues. You want to make sure that it’s as quick as possible this year.
Better photography for products
Let’s face it. We live in a visual world that likes to look at photos and videos.
Plus, as we move to an online shopping world, with or without a pandemic, we have a greater need for better photos on websites of the products we’re shopping for. People can’t physically be there to touch and look at the product. So you need to fill that need.
Make sure that your product photos and even if you have videos are top-notch. Take action photos to show off what you can or the product can do. Make sure you take shots of every angle of it so people can understand what it does and how it can help them.
That will help the potential customer or client have a good idea of what to expect, and that will help them make the decision to buy or sign up or learn more.
A photo is worth a thousand words after all.
More white space
On the design front, you’re going to want to focus more on having white space in your design if you’re redesigning your website. That is to say that you’ll want more blank space where there isn’t content.
This is something that will definitely help your readers and users. For starters, it removes a lot of clutter that might distract readers from reading all of the content on that post or page. If the message you are presenting on that page is important, you don’t want people being distracted as they try and read it.
Also having a lot of posts, ads or just a whole lot of other information stresses people and a computer out. There is a reason that I prefer to read The Athletic compared to my hometown newspaper. A lot of white space makes the experience a lot calmer.
And ultimately that makes your content stand out easier. And it makes it easier for you to guide users through your sales funnel.
So if you’re going through a website redesign this year, see if you can add more blank or white space to your design.
Continuing on the design trends, dark mode is continuing to become more and more popular as time goes on.
To put it briefly, this is where the background is black or some other dark color and the text and other content is white or a lighter color. And I’ve really found it to be much easier on my eyes compared to the standard white background, especially when I’m trying to read at night.
Apple has introduced this option on their devices for a couple of years now. And WordPress’ new default theme also has this option. If a device or app has a dark mode option, I’m using it.
So what does this mean for your website? Well, if you’re happy with the way your website looks and you’re not expecting to go through a website redesign sometime soon, then just leave it be. But if you’re in the market for a new website, you might see how a dark-mode can help your design.
How much more likely are you to buy from somebody who talks to you directly by using your name as opposed to using something like, “hey valued customer”? You’re probably more likely to buy, even if you think the difference is marginal.
That’s the difference of personalization, and it’s becoming a bigger trend in ecommerce these days.
One way some businesses are jumping on the personalization bandwagon is by using chatbots. These are web applications that allow users to chat with them and help them find what they’re looking for. They’re essentially like live chat applications, except that on the other end there’s an AI machine instead of a human person.
But there are other personalization things you can do that aren’t that crazy. If you’re running an email marketing campaign, you can start each email with the person’s name. And using tools like Google Optimize, you can even open up a landing page by greeting the person by name as well, although that might be a little too far and a little bit unsettling for them.
So see how you can add personalization to your website and marketing efforts this year. Even if you think it’s small, it could go a long way in convincing someone to buy from you.
Progressive Web Apps
Something else you might want to take a look at for your website this year is to see if you can turn it into a progressive web app.
To make a long story short, a progressive web app, or PWA, is essentially a website that acts a whole lot like a mobile app for phones. And mobile users can even add your website to the home screen much like a regular app.
PWAs make loading your website on mobile a lot quicker, which is always a plus. And they make the overall experience much better on mobile devices; again that’s also a plus.
Some content management systems, like WordPress, have plugins that can make it easier to turn your website into a PWA right now. So see if that might be an option for your website.
We’ve seen this trend occur really since the iPhone was introduced in the 2000s, but you really need to be making sure that your mobile website experience is as good as your desktop experience.
More and more people are browsing the web on their phones. I mean, we’re usually all on the go, or at least we once were.
Plus as I mentioned earlier, Google is using the mobile experience a lot more in its page ranks. And that’s a direct response to what we’ve been seeing with mobile usage.
And according to Statista, 73 percent of online sales this year are expected to be made via a mobile device.
So this year make sure that your mobile website gives users as good of an experience as your desktop users. Your users and Google will greatly appreciate it.
Long form content
On the content side of things, you might want to focus more on long form content when you’re blogging. And by long form, I mean basically anything with 2,000 words or more.
For starters, a well-thought out and well-researched post that’s pretty long can help people understand what you’re saying and you become more trusted by potential customers and clients. Essentially it gives you that authority to speak from.
Also, it has SEO benefits. Google is focusing more on quality content that helps people out. So by writing these longer posts that answer questions and help people learn more about that subject, you’re playing right into that.
If you love to write all the time, set some time to write out these longer posts for your website this year. I think you’ll like what you see this time next year.
Increasing need for video
Finally, another content trend that you can expect for this year is more videos, like this one.
I’ve personally found that a number of my videos, particularly the ones on content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, outrank my blog posts in Google searches. A lot of this happens because Google will sometimes put videos ahead of text-based results when someone is searching for a topic. And that gives you the opportunity to answer their question before those other regular blog posts.
And videos of your product or service in action can go a long way in helping a potential customer or client take that next step and contact you.
Also, live streaming is becoming another great way to market your services, especially on Facebook. People can find and ask you questions in real time, and they can learn more about your products and services.
So as you plan out your year for marketing, see if there are any opportunities for you to add more videos to that marketing plan.
So what do you think of these trends? Is there anything you’re excited for? Are you going to try one of these out on your website? What other trends do you think we’ll see this year?
Be sure to leave your answers down in the comments section below.
Next week we’ll be discussing the difference between Etsy, Shopify and having your own website, the best themes from the WordPress directory and how to get the perfect domain name.
To see those videos and more videos about web design, ecommerce, digital marketing and other website-related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and ring the bell for notifications.
Also, be sure to check out the blog to learn more about websites and digital marketing. And if you’re in need of a website, I would love to help you out and work with you to create a great looking website that fits your budget. The links to all of those are down in the description below.
But until next time, I wish you and your business the best of luck.