Are you building a new site this year? Or are you just looking to keep up with web development trends?
Will 2018 finally be the year when mobile eats everything? Is the world sick of chatbots yet, or are people actually using them?
Web design is one area where you don’t want to find yourself out of style. It will not only leave you with a clunky and whack website, but it will also cost you traffic and money.
Here’s what you need to know for 2018:
1. Mobile First. Mobile Everything
If you have to read this section, you’re probably already too late to the party. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dance.
Recently, Google confirmed its official move to mobile-first browsing. That means they are going to look at your mobile site before your desktop site when weighing your SEO value.
Having a mobile site is no longer good enough. It has to be as good or better than your desktop site.
The numbers are pretty clear at this point:
- You can expect roughly 60 percent of all your traffic from mobile devices
- 57 percent of users will not recommend your business if you offer a bad mobile experience.
- 40 percent of those dissatisfied users go straight to a competitor’s site
Those statistics aren’t from a firm trying to sell you mobile tech, they’re right from Google’s playbook. So it behooves us to listen.
2. Fast, Bigger, Stronger. But Mainly Faster
One thing that may never change is that we’re asking our websites to do more in less time. And technology is letting us get greedier and greedier.
In fact, most of us won’t wait for three seconds before taking our click elsewhere. Speed will never be out of style, so developers will continue to push this technology forward.
Google has also confirmed that speed is a factor in SEO rankings. Of course, they didn’t say exactly what is a good speed and where the line is. But just assume as fast as possible.
We’re seeing amazing moves forward like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP gaining a lot of traction as an open-source project response to Facebook’s instant articles.
The tech is incredibly complex, but the goal is simple: give the visitor the goods faster than they thought possible. Quick load times means a user is more likely to click around and deeper into the site. And they’re very likely to return.
4. Link Auditing
Your site’s amazing design and dialed-in back-end SEO optimization can quickly be undone by a bad off-page strategy.
The Google Penguin update changed things forever. Prior to that, you could just spend money on your off-page/link-building SEO strategy if you didn’t have the time or inclination to invest any effort.
Those days are over. Now, if there’s a link back to your site somewhere on the web, it has better be organic and relevant. Because Google has no time for spammy links.
Sites that relied on paid (link farms and spam) link building tactics saw an almost overnight drop in their organic rankings for a number of keywords.
On the other side of that, a lot of companies doing things the right (organic) way saw a spike in their rankings.
This remains one of the more polarizing elements of today’s latest web development technologies. They have probably replaced exit pop-ups as the thing that drives many users nuts, yet drives engagement for others.
The fact is that a lot of people love chatbots, and use them for simple transactions like booking an appointment, or very simple customer service triage questions.
So if you hate them, bad news — they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, they’re just going to get faster and smarter. You might find yourself actually using one soon.
6. User Experience
This has been one of the leading web development trends for the last couple of years. But user experience has its own list of trends that come and go.
This is a simple concept, with massively complex art and science behind it. All you need to do is anticipate and remove absolutely everything that comes between your user and your goal. That’s all.
The hard part here is that success is never actually achieved, it’s maintained at best. You need to keep testing and tweaking to perfect your user experience.
7. Intent-Based Marketing
Like user experience, you almost need a Masters in Computer Sciences and psychology to understand your visitors’ true intent when they visit your site.
Most businesses think they know, but they are actually wrong. This means they provide the wrong experience for their users, so the users grow bored or frustrated and leave. Meanwhile, the business is left scratching their heads.
Do you start with your demographic data and buyer personas? Of course. However, that only tells you part of the story, and will only give you some of the traffic.
Google has stated that relying just on demographics means you risk missing more than 70 percent of potential mobile shoppers.
Understanding the true intent takes a lot of research along with trying things and failing. But failing quickly and moving on.
You can also do intent-based remarketing.
For example, if someone drops off your site before making a buy, you can find out what their exit page was. That way, you can try to win them back with targeted ads based on intent, instead of general ads.
Which Web Development Trends Are Here to Stay?
Of course, this all begs the question: which web development trends do you need to actually take advantage of? What’s a real tactic instead of “just trendy?”
We provide tons of blogs and resources so you can do more research. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably not happy with your website’s SEO performance and may be in the market for a new agency or SEO tools.