Website design never sits still. Any business looking after its own site needs to be on top of the latest trends to ensure it is visible to the mighty Google, as well as appealing to users and able to attract new business. These five features are what every 2018 site needs.
1. A Mobile Approach
Now that Google has officially launched its mobile-first approach to site indexing, any website focused on the desktop user won’t appear near the top of anyone’s mobile search. Given that around 60% of all searches are mobile, almost 90% among younger demographics, that could be a lot of business you are losing out on. Site built around responsive design look as good on a mobile as the desktop, and feature in Google’s mobile searches. Progressive web apps mix features from mobile apps and websites and act as an exciting new approach. While, if you have both a desktop and a mobile site, only the mobile site will show up, which if it is missing a few features, won’t be as impressive. Whatever your business, ensure it is as visible as possible on mobile devices. Follow Google’s good practice guide and other advice to ensure you remain visible to both your local and global market.
2. Grab A Distinctive Domain
So many businesses struggle to get their first-choice domain these days, especially with the scarcity of dot com or dot org extensions. Rather than settling for a convoluted or less than clear longer name, going for a newer TLD extension is one-way companies are helping to stand out. For example, .io really stands for Indian Ocean territories, but any geek-based business or IT firm can claim the value of something reading “input/output” is more valuable to their business. For other firms, generic TLDs, like .hotel, .sport, .phone, .fly or .london are also available to help make a URL stand out. These may cost a premium from domain resellers but in a world running out of dot-coms, will become more accepted and easier to understand for a generation who don’t care about technical, national or regional TLDs when shopping online.
3. Attract Users With A Chatbot
The growth of chatbots in 2018 is pretty staggering, making them one of the must-have features on websites. Chatbots help speed up customer interaction, they provide information up-front and help sell products or services, or take bookings or appointments. Chatbots use scripts to drive conversations with customers and features like natural language processing and AI to understand what people are asking. Best of all, anyone can design their own chatbot with services likes SnatchBot. It offers a set of templates from travel and banking to customer service. These enable any business to get started, easily customised to your business. Scripts can be updated based on analytics or feedback, helping to save your business time and money. Available 24 hours a day, chatbots also extend your availability and make the business more accessible.
4. Sharing Your Data
Data is king for a growing number of industries, with everyone keen for more data to aid their own efforts. Businesses can attract a great deal of attention by blogging about their (non-mission critical) data. By generalising about sales or market trends, any data your business generates or gets from industry can be a talking point that will help attract interest from prospects and highlight your company as one on the ball when it comes to how markets are evolving. While the new GDPR rules strictly limit what you can do with customer data. General information that any business site or service generates can be used to drive discussion and debate, provide the body of an industry presentation and help raise your company profile, so consider that when designing sites and web services.
5. Be Seen On Social
Even if your company doesn’t have the capacity of bandwidth for a full or part-time social media person, being present on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram is a must. They can help your business grow through sharing, help promote deals and offers, and engage with customers. The likes of Pinterest are ideal for businesses with something striking to sell. One of the world’s fastest growing social media sites, it is no longer about cakes and charming plates of food but can help businesses show off their creative or construction processes, presence at events and much more. Even if you can only manage a once-a-day update or a few tweets each day, being on social media and tying them to your website is a key part of any business online presence.