It’s that time of year again when business owners everywhere start to plan their major goals for the coming year. But unbeknownst to many, a key part of their business is actively working against them.
While countless small business owners toil away to bring in business online, their outdated, slow websites are actually turning customers off.
Has it been awhile since your business website got some TLC? If so, keep reading, because we’re listing the four most important web design trends to ditch in 2018.
We’ve written a lot about mobile responsiveness lately, and with good reason. Last year for the first time ever, more people (51.3%) visited websites from their smartphones than from a desktop computer, and studies estimate that this year that figured jumped to more than 80%.
So if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, the vast majority of your visitors will have a hard time viewing your content. But 44% of small businesses in the U.S. still don’t have a website that’s easy to use on a mobile device.
If you fall into this 44%, we have news for you: That trend is on the way out, and getting a mobile-friendly website up and running should be your highest priority for 2018. Here’s why …
Mobile-responsive design paves the way for a much better user experience. These websites automatically display at the best size for the screen they’re viewed on, so your visitors don’t have to constantly pinch your site larger and smaller just to read the text or push a button.
You’ll also see some much-needed SEO benefits from a mobile-friendly website. Back in 2015 Google started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal — which means that responsive websites get first dibs on those coveted Page 1 spots. Unresponsive websites miss out big time here.
So if you want people to be able to find your website easily and use it efficiently, it’s time to make the switch to a mobile-friendly design. Want to read more about mobile-responsive websites? Check out our previous blog, “4 Reasons Why You Need to Make Mobile-Friendly Web Design a Priority.”
Another trend to ditch in the new year is using DIY builders and templates to create your business’s website. These builders can be an attractive option for small businesses, thanks to their affordable price tag and apparent ease of use. But in many cases, [a DIY website can spell disaster for your business](https://www.trajectorywebdesign.com/blog/5-ways-a-diy-website-can-spell-disaster-for-your-business/ ).
DIY website builders offer only a few templates, which means your website looks just like countless others out there. Often, these templates include the builder’s branding in the footer as well. To visitors, your website ends up looking unoriginal and cheap — definitely not the image of your company you want advertise.
To make matters worse, these DIY builders often use Flash to display the elements of your site. Flash is notoriously bad for your search engine rankings, thanks to increased page load times and a lack of support on mobile devices. And if, like most small business owners, you’re new to web design, even pre-built website templates can be time-consuming to customize for your own company.
The solution: Invest in a professional web design team that can build a fully customized and responsive website for you. You’ll save money in the long run, you’ll have a better product to show for it, and you’ll have more time to spend working on your business.
One of the worst web design trends we’ve seen is web pages that are slow to load. If you’ve ever stared down at your phone impatiently waiting for a website that’s taking forever to load, then you know why we feel so strongly about this — websites that load slowly create a terrible user experience. In fact, website visitors abandon about 53% of mobile pages if they take longer than 3 seconds to load.
By comparison, the average page takes about 19 seconds to load, or about the same amount of time it takes to sing your ABCs.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ditch this trend. Start by limiting the number of elements on your page, especially large images and files. You can also compress images to a smaller size with Adobe Photoshop (choose “save for web”) or TinyPNG, a browser-based service. And if your website still uses Flash, getting rid of it can speed up your load times dramatically.
Want to learn more about what elements your website should (and should not) include? Read our previous blog, “7 Modern Web Design Elements Your Business Website Needs.”
The last web design trend we want to see you ditch in 2018? Those annoying pop-ups that interrupt visitors as they read. Nobody likes being interrupted, especially when they’re still trying to decide if they even want to do business with you.
But your visitors being annoyed isn’t all you have to worry about with pop-ups. You may also see some push-back from Google if you aren’t careful about where the form appears. Mobile pages may not rank as well if a pop-up obscures the content immediately. (You can read more about this in our previous blog, “5 Things Google Wants to See on Your Website”).
Still want to include a pop-up form somewhere on your site? You can choose to delay the pop-up so that it appears after someone has been on the page for a while. Some lead capture forms, like the ones from LeadPages, even have the option to delay the pop-up until the visitor moves their mouse back up to the top of the page, as though they’re going to exit the tab in their browser. Another solution is to house your lead capture forms on one dedicated page of your website, like we did on our contact page.
Struggling to bring in business online? Your outdated website could be at fault. If a shiny new website is on your 2018 wishlist, our team at Trajectory Web Design can help. Tell us a bit about your project to get started.
Ready for a slick new website, increased traffic and more converting customers? Tell us a little about your business and we’ll reach out to get your project underway.