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There's Only One Website Trend Left... and It's Here Now

Website Trends for 20xx

"What Are the Latest Website Trends?"

I had a website design client ask that yesterday. It's a good question, so I thought about it a second, and the answer might really surprise you because there's just one trend left, and we're living it.

The trend is: quick.

That's it. Think about it... we're not in a time where people are saying, "Guess what? I went to a website today!" No, not at all. People get how websites work. They want to go there, get the information they need, and move on to ordering it from you, or go get something else done.

A Quick Story...

Back in like 1996, I got my first job as a Webmaster (ooh... fancy!) at the company I was working for at that time. It was pretty cool. HTML 3 just came out. Modem speeds were doubling every 6 months. Big 1 GB hard drives were available (I just saw a 170 MB hard drive in my closet the other day... why am I saving that?). And my brother got me a custom t-shirt made that said, "Surf the Web!" with the domain name of the company.

Back then, you had to convince people to go to websites. That was because there really wasn't a lot on the Web. It wasn't easy to publish content, and we were starting at zero. Today, the Web is the FIRST place people go. They'll go there before contacting you, even.

Everything Must Be Quick

Time is precious, so making people jump through hoops of any kind to get to what they want is seen as rude. I hear all the time from clients, "We want a simple website." but then they want tons of things on it. What they mean is, they want a well-organized website.

  • Your website must load quickly
  • Information must be found quickly
  • Articles must be scannable
  • The back-end must load quickly (for editing, processing orders, etc.)
  • And so on...

Even with videos... yeah, they're cool, but is making someone watch it all the way to the 5:21 mark for the info they want, really that quick? How about publishing a great post or page that's scannable, making it quick and easy for people to find what they want, and move on to ordering it from you?

On the side, I play around on the Web, publishing different kinds of websites. By far, the easiest kind of website I've made that gets automatic traffic (for many years now) is one with very, very short posts. I'm talking like less than 100 words on many of them. Why does this work? Each post gets right to the point. It's what people want. People go there, find what they need, and stop searching. Guess what? Google notices that and makes that website rank really high - at number 1 or even number 0 in many cases (if you're not sure what that means, email me).

This just proves my point, and I've been doing it for years.

Does Web Design Still Matter?

Oh, yes. You better believe design matters. It must load quickly. It must take information and organize it very well to keep things simple. Design needs to look trustworthy as well.

Someone I know sent me to a website the other day that looks like it was published around 2005. My first thought was, "Is this information reliable?" but then I started to see some recent dates. I mean, the thought of reliability shouldn't even go through someone's head if you're doing it right. A lot is accomplished through design and you can't just wing it.

Quick = Conversion

Take two websites:

  • Website A:
    • Takes a while to load
    • Has a clumsy design
    • Has clunky navigation
    • Doesn't work well on mobile devices
    • Has search that isn't helpful
    • Has tons of video instead of text
  • Website B:
    • Loads fast
    • Looks trustworthy
    • Knows its audience and what they want
    • Is well organized - making it easy to find things
    • Has product descriptions that are easy to scan
    • Works great (maybe even better) on mobile devices

I mean, which one would you rather have? It's obvious.

Website Trends?

"Trends? You're talking trends? Don't talk trends."

There are no more trends.

Nothing will beat speed. Nothing.

Yes, next to speed is modern design and conversion, but none of these are trends. They're not "trendy" in any way. Going to the Web isn't fun and exciting anymore (if we're being honest). We go there to get things done, then we're gone.

If your website design team is talking about trends, run!

Bells and whistles for the sake of bells and whistles will not improve your bottom line. Using design elements effectively to help website visitors will improve your bottom line because of ease of use. Using the latest, helpful design elements the right way is what it's about - speed is at the top of the list.

-Tony

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