Nothing is for sure, and there’s much more to be said about trending website designs in 2015, but here are 10 functions your website can’t do without in 2015!
People check online not just to see what their friends are up to but also for information or inspiration. Check out CBC’s 103K twitter followers or HGTV’s 366K twitter followers, and while you may not be breaking national headlines with your business, you have something to say and information to share about why your products stand up against the competition or a new service being offered at your location.
Rather than sending visitors somewhere else, create a blog and position yourself as an expert. (As a bonus, adding information to your blog provides Google more information to index about a specific topic on your website.) Not sure where to get started? Start by answering Frequently Asked Questions from your clients and categorize them by topic.
Clean, Minimalist Menus
Though this isn’t practical in some situations, for the most part, people are attracted to spend time on a website that is clear and concise, not overbearing with information and menu options. Pick 5 to 6 headings for your website, and fit all of the other menu items within those headings.
A helpful trick for this is to create a footer menu with information that needs to be on your website, but doesn’t need to be predominant like privacy policies, terms of service, admin logins and copyright information. This will keep your top menu uncluttered while still helping the visitor find the information they’re looking for.
When Apple released the iPhone6, their website was a grey background, a large picture of the iPhone and a learn more button. They still have their menu at the top, and a few details at the bottom, but it’s obvious what their focus is. TeslaMotors.com loads with a tesla car, Typography that says “Go Electric” and underneath shows icons for 5 common questions about electric cars.
Your visitors should know right away what your focus is and how you’d like them to respond (make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter, enter a contest, call for a reservation, etc.)
Offer something of value in exchange for joining your mailing list, or offer a coupon in exchange for inviting a friend to check out your website. This is a simple interaction automated through your website that does exactly what you say. The customer puts in their email address and then receives an email with their coupon.
Instantly the customer thinks “This company did exactly what they said they were going to do.” It’s the start of a trust relationship and the opportunity for you to follow up with that person.
In 2014 the number of people visiting websites on mobile devices surpassed the number of people visiting websites on desktops. Responsive design means your website automatically adapts to the device that’s being used and responds to the user’s device size. If it’s a desktop, you get full-width menus and complete horizontal layout which is proper for the screen size and for a mouse click (less than 1% of your screen space) but if someone is visiting your site on their phone, the menu adapts to be the correct size for a finger tap (about 5-10% of screen space).
If your website is not responsive, you are forcing more than half of your visitors to zoom, finger click where only a mouse should and scroll sideways while reading your text. Responsive design has become a matter of proper customer service. Find out why your website should go mobile.
Updated layout and content
In an ever changing world, your content can’t remain the same as it did last year, or last month and in some cases last week. With new products, features, specials and design trends emerging, 2015 looks like websites will be a continuing evolving piece of software rather than a bunch of code put together with the intention to set it and forget it.
Keeping your website updated will let your clients and returning visitors know that your business is current, and the information they’re looking for is accurate.
When your readers find something they enjoy and think their friends will value, give them the opportunity to share your content. This is as simple as some icons floating on the side of your page or a button at the beginning of your blog posts or at the end allowing people to share on their network of choice (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, Blogger, etc.)
On these social channels it gives the impression that the person posting is making a recommendations that other read your content. This is much stronger than Google search or you posting this content since you’re using the credibility from that other reader to reach their friends and audience, and often these are a “Set It and Forget It” plugin, so you don’t add an extra work to each time you create a blog post.
It’s no surprise that people want things to load faster, run quicker, and cut to the chase. Often there are some simple changes like updating your website software or removing content that’s no longer public that will help reduce load times. A few things to check right away are your web images.
For example, if you’ve uploaded an 8 megapixel image to use as your blog post featured image, it’s likely that something as small as 1/4 of a megapixel will show without any quality loss on your website, speeding up your load time by 16 times. Do this on the past 25 blog posts and you’ve turned your blog into a lean, mean loading machine (ok, don’t quote me on that line.)
Yes, this probably goes without saying, and it’s nothing new for 2015 but with increasing competition and visitors comparing your product or services to people from all over the world, it’s a matter of trust and removing the distractions from hearing your message.
Run a spell check and have a 3rd party read over your website content and give you some suggestions on wording and content. If /when someone let’s you know about a typo, GET IT CHANGED RIGHT AWAY!
These are functions that the person visiting your website won’t know it happening, but is essential for EVERY website to properly understand how they’re functioning, what’s working and what can be improved.
- Regular backups of your design and content to a 3rd party server
- Google Analytics reporting to know how people are finding your website, where they’re visiting the most frequently and what information is being shared.
- Security scans and virus protection
- SEO (Search engine optimization) – the degree of this depends on your business and industry, but there should be enough SEO in place so people who are typing in your business name find your exact website.
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