View Part One:
Missed the first part? Learn all the Design Trends for 2019 here.
But let’s talk about design trends. They’re wonderful, but we can’t just go after them without forgetting SEO. I was the very first SEO expert at CBS Sports line back in the 90s, (giving away my age now). And it always has to be part of everything you do. Your website is your brochure on the Internet. It’s going to be more interactive, but it’s a marketing tool.
Therefore, it needs to be viewed not just from beautiful design, it’s got to be more than a pretty site. It can’t just be all functionality where you have a developer, not a designer. You need the webmaster appeal to design, functionality, and marketing.
Google has consistently said – mobile first. They are not just mobile first. They are now mobile priority. Not the main priority necessarily, but mobile priority. You need to make sure that you incorporate a lot of what is involved with SEO and that includes Google PageSpeed. For years, we told clients that Google PageSpeed, “ah, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t affect [SEO].” July of last year they announced that they were adding lighthouse, which is a data analyst component that they incorporated. It still doesn’t tell you actual speed. If you want actual speed, there are other tools for that. It is evaluating your site for best delivery into the mobile and they finished rolling it out, it appears late December.
We are now in the middle of May. So, we have had about four or five months, not quite of viewing as to whether it’s going to affect your SEO. There are extremists out there that are saying absolutely going to effect and [other’s] “no, it’s still not going to effect.” Well, we can nix the “no’s” because we are seeing that it does affect it. Your bounce rate goes up if you’re [site’s] slow and most people are now searching on mobile phones. The percentage is going up every year for the [mobile] searches. Therefore, mobile speed and making sure it can be delivered well is absolutely important.
One thing to know is that you can optimize [your site]. I showed you themes from ThemeForest. If we have clients that are a little budget friendly or budget minded, I should say. We will bring in a theme and we have no problem with it. (We’re very transparent. This is not developed by us. And then of course we do custom designed websites for WordPress.) But if you purchase a theme, and this would be for another video (I should be writing all these down). But you purchase a theme, you can use several plugins together to help reduce the PageSpeed. Having a CDN, a content delivery network, such as Cloudflare will help. Using caching plugins, using image modification plugins, all of that will help.
But the best optimization, of course, is custom because as you build out the design and you develop it, you can get a lot of that junk code out. A lot of those [pre-made] themes are open for across the board [sites]. They’re not necessarily just for your practice, if it’s medical. Not just for your business, if it’s a generic general theme. So, you can get rid of a lot of things that you wouldn’t use in your business because it’s custom.
I’ve not seen a hundred yet in PageSpeed. And when/if I do see it: I’ll see it on mine, but my lead programmer who’s in Philadelphia, he won’t see it. So, PageSpeed still isn’t 100% accurate. Your internet speed comes into play and other things. But we have never been able to match the exact numbers on a website ran in PageSpeed – just a heads up.
And then of course, what was one of the hot sales last year EchoTM from Amazon – voice search. This phone is listening to me right now. Bixby is listening to what we’re saying. Google now, Siri (has been listening for years) and if you’re shocked by it – sorry to break the news to you. But when you’re building a website, you really want to focus on making sure your schema is taken care of and put important information, not in images but in text so that you’re optimizing for voice search.
Now this is still lending more into development, but when you’re designing, you really need to account for when these things are going to happen.
The plugin, “What Would Seth Godin Do” has not gone away, But, it’s not the only personalized user experience. Pinterest does an amazing job with personal experience.
So, if you are tracking, they’re freaking out because, “oh, big brother, big brother, you’re watching us. What about our privacy?” They see a retargeting ad. They visited your site, now they’re seeing your retargeting ads everywhere. “You are following me.” “Well, no, I’m not really, but Google and the cookies on your computer are following you.” So that’s what the media is screaming. But what people are saying, and their actual actions are opposites. They don’t want you to follow them. However, when you do follow them and you deliver content that is personalized to them, they’re not thinking about it and they’re actually taking more action and faster actions. Example is Pinterest, as I said [earlier]. Pinterest will track searches that you do, when you get your email [from] them, they will tell you, “hey, there’s more searches with these same results for you, more pins for you.”
When you come into the homepage, all the pins you see – they’re based on your past searches and things that you have liked or commented or re-pinned. That’s personalized user experience. It isn’t just flat, “everyone gets the same content” delivery.
Now the next one I’m going to show you may not appear as automation, but it can be automated. In marketing automation, most people are talking about the bots – the bots in social media (most specifically). That’s the current trend in conversation right now. When it comes to your website, there are bots there, too. You can use. (Now this is Tawk.to, that we use just because I prefer it, it’s inexpensive because it’s free – my favorite word. They have a paid version. You can upgrade if you want.) But there are actually other chats out there where you can [set it up] if they use any of these “words” – this is the response. If they use any of these [other] “words”, this is the response.
Other forms of automation that we have used is auto-responders. I am still amazed how many people when they fill out a consulting form and they get an auto response [that says], “Hey, great, when is a good time to chat with you, time and day to set up a conversation?” I’ll get an email back going, “wow, that was a fast response.”
Yes, it was, and I wasn’t anywhere near the computer. It was automated. And I did that because I was tired of responding to everybody going, “when is a good time to talk?” (because we can’t give you a quote without talking to you). So, automating things that you consistently do time and time again on your website or from website visitors is fantastic. And you can automate, like I said, with a bot using the live chats, they’re a little pricier of course than “free”, where you can plug in certain things, certain questions or query strings that a customer would be adding in. Where they’ll say, “hey, how about these?” And some say [live chat will show], “you asked about this, would any of these three help you before you contact us?” In marketing, having your WordPress site setup with an RSS feed emails, so all your latest blog posts automatically go out once a month – that’s another form of automation. But that’s been around since WordPress [began].
Everybody knows these guys. Well, if you’re not on Facebook, you don’t know these guys. If you’re on Facebook, which billions of people apparently are (I don’t think billions of people. I think maybe hundreds of millions with multiple fake profiles should be counted. But they’re not saying who’s real and who isn’t. Anyone in the social media world knows that there’s a lot of fake profiles out there.)
So micro interactions, what are they? Micro – small, interactions – creating an action. That is leaving feedback, compelling information, etc, etc. These guys are the best way to explain or show micro interactions. When you’re on social media or any of your mobile apps will have micro-interactions. You see an image or a post that you like, you will click, hover over the like button. These guys will pop up, you click one of those, you have just created an interaction with the website – you have given a feedback. It was small, hence micro-interaction.
On a website, on a form. If someone completes a form, the submit button can then pop up with animation saying, “click here now”, “send this” – whatever. It gives a little feeling of the “wow” in the brain and it also helps the visitor feel like they are actually part of your site. That’s why Facebook works. The interactivity on the site is really making you feel like you’re interacting with all your friends and family (when most of the photos are now filtered, everything you post is all the happy stuff, etc, etc.)
And I added here on this side, AI.
AI is trickling down from corporate to mid-size businesses and now even down to the small businesses. That would be an entire video on its own. AI doesn’t need to get people fired, but it does mean it can help with your website to be more personalized, free up more of your time, and it doesn’t have to actually be a physical robot. We’re not going to be thinking of any of the 80’s horror stories with robots taking over the world.
Now we work with mostly small and mid-size businesses, predominantly service and hospitality businesses. We do have some product businesses as well because a lot of the same marketing tools can work. Anything that I’m going to share on the practicality, which is going to be a short topic, can be used for considering how practical are these design trends for any industry.
This is a sign that we have in our office and I created this sign to be placed when someone is sitting at the table and discussing a new project – they’re a new client. I have them seated so this is right behind me. And the reason is, is because it’s so true. “What you prefer or what your designer prefers, it doesn’t matter if you’re not getting conversions.” We’re not in business to make things pretty unless you are a designer, but most businesses, they’re in business to have conversions – to have sales and to have the bottom-line increase.
These trends are out there. But if a vintage font does not convert your target audience, don’t use it. If minimalism is too boring for your audience, go with more color. If over color freaks your audience out, go the other way.
A good a story for this. Years ago, I met up with these guys, they were doing the “corporate filing for $99” type business and all they did was pay per click. They thought their very “1990’s looking” website with prime colors (I know I’m freaking designers out), and the very basic images, needed to be more professional, more polished. And so, they spent about, I think at that time they spent about six to $10,000 to get a very polished, high design site. They put it up and the next day when they came in, their numbers plummeted – the wrong way. That’s not what we want for our design. They flipped it back and the numbers went back up. You have to know your targeted audience. You really need to know how they react.
So, knowing who your target audience and prospects are, their characteristics, their habits. If they’re going to look at a polished site and go, “wait, there’s more to this because they just spent a lot of money on this site” and you’re a low product point – they’re going, “there’s something here I’m not aware of. There’s something too fishy.” You want to make sure you’re aware of that. That’s why I don’t always tell people you need to change your site design. I need to know who your audience is before I tell you anything about your design. What do they connect with? Their speech, the imagery. Do they need high professional or fast, easy information and what drives them to convert? What are their trigger buys? All this needs to be discussed before you start any design.
You need to know when you’re creating a website, is your target audience focused on features? What does it have? If I’m looking for a CRM system for my business, I know exactly what I want. I’m looking at the features. I could care less about benefits. So, having those features on your homepage is going to be more important than having the benefits on your homepage. Having a demo button right there. Get a demo now, that’s going to help me to decide if that is what I need. If you have matched my needs, if it’s a needs-based business – that’s features. Everybody learn WIIFM, “what’s in it for me”? That’s not for every business and every marketing campaign.
Benefits do sell and they sell a majority of products – it’s basically “what am I going to get out of this as the visitor to your site? “Benefits are great. You don’t want to have a cheap looking site, low primal-colored site. But you want to have kind of “an in-between” for a mid-price point product service. A laid back clientele that’s still wearing business casual as they’re dressy. And it’s just all stereotypes because that’s how marketing works. We start broad and we narrow down.
“Presentation” is going to be your luxury products. You’re seeing Rolex ads many times. You’re just seeing a photo of the Rolex, you’re not seeing benefits. You’re seeing very little features, unless they have added features. You’re seeing the product big, proud and either a bunch of white space or a high lit up back-end.
So, when you’re designing and thinking of the trends, you need to know your audience, consider the price point and how [your audience will] react. You need to have more words, which is features-focused. Benefits is “feature [emotional text] balance [with] photo”. Presentation is way more imagery and photos.
Let’s talk about how to integrate the right trends into your site. And I kind of showed you with my site. I had last year’s site and all I did was modify it. I increased the size of the font for more readability, that’s a great modification to your existing site. Modifying the images within pages and posts, changing the little ones out for the larger ones and then adding some personalized user experience with plugins. I’d mentioned the Seth Godin plugin, “What would Seth Godin do?” That’s a great plugin to add in for personalization. (Still in use, I believe so. I haven’t checked it later.) [Update: yes, get it here]
And live chat, you can get some more automation. You can add more with the auto-response. You can have the live chat where it asks you, if they put in certain queries that it’ll give you, “hey will these help you instead”, which saves money on having someone answering the chat.
The designs are bigger, bolder colors, or bigger, bolder fonts. Bigger, bolder, images, slants and diagonals, organic shapes. Also, I should add in there the cartoon. The second site that I showed you had a little bit of the cartooning in there mixed in with real images. And then the 3-D visual, those beautiful headphones, vibrant colors and its opposite, minimalist.
The fonts are bigger, you have the opposing Serif and vintage, though Serif will be more apt to be used than vintage.
The movement. You’re going to have animations, videos, don’t forget parallax, even though it looks like I did. You’re going to have to incorporate personalized user experience, automation, micro interactions and of course AI is coming, or as I stated here, it’s the future in the present.
If you want to be found and ranked, you can’t forget about SEO. It’s the reason I stay with SEO. I love it. I live for it. I wake up to it every day, just going, what’s next? And it’s never going away. Social media has ups and downs and trends follow with the generations. But SEO, it changes, but it has not gone away. The search engines are here to stay. They’re not going anywhere. And so, you need to make sure, because Google still rules that the PageSpeed is in. Aim for at least the middle area, the yellow, not the red for both mobile and desktop. Mobile first and voice search.
The audience buying triggers still decides what your website’s going to look like. If you’re going to use the trends, it’s not the designer’s wishes.
You’re going to redesign your site only if you have to (which I’ll touch on here in a second) – it’s not necessary. Here’s a webmaster telling you, you don’t always have to spend big bucks. You can just add a few of these design trends like I did.
If you haven’t redesigned in the past three or more years, then now’s the time. You’re out of date. Your technology is out of date and your page speed’s going to be horrible. Three years ago, we started getting away from mobile ready, which means you just tossed in a plugin that gave you a mobile site or you add a second mobile site. We started with AMP pages in marketing and the pension and pinch out – it’s got to go away. If you have not, as a developer, studied CSS3, started doing your grids and getting all of your sites so that they’re responsive for desktop, tablet, the bigger phones, adjusted for people like my dad who doesn’t update their phone every three, four years still with the smaller phones – now’s the time to do it. You’re already out of touch with the current technology.
So, the rule of thumb is typically three years or more. I like to always do ours within two to three years because I can make tweaks with some trends, but I know going into 2020, it’s going to be a complete overhaul. So, I’m working on it. I’m trying to make my site not the shoemaker’s children that are barefooted.
If you are ready to design a new site or get a new site, your site is way out of date, you’re new in business, we would be glad to help you. It is not just me. I have a team of 30+. We are all over the US, all over the world, and we’re more than happy to serve you.
My goal this year is to get more videos out and to help guide you through how to survive and thrive in this internet world.
Thank you so much. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel. And give us a call if you’re ready to get moving on your website. Bye.