Website trends for 2018

We’ve hit 2018, the internet keeps moving and the designs for websites of all kinds will evolve again this year. While most small businesses don’t need their sites to be on the bleeding edge of design it is a good time to take a look at what the expected trends are for 2018.

More video content.

Anyone who spends time on Facebook already knows how pervasive video content is. Live streaming is hugely popular (but not always done well), 360 degrees videos taken on mobile phones are sometimes entertaining, and interviews and demonstrations are everywhere. For businesses to profit from this trend, they need to take a whole new approach to video.

The large brands are already investing in video marketing. In 2018, more companies will turn to this media and not just the industry leaders. We can expect video professionals will become key members of online marketing teams. There will also be new tools released to analyse consumer response to video and video content will become increasingly mobile-focussed.

Growth hacking.

The term ‘growth hacking’ stems from the startup scene where the single focus from the outset of a new venture is to achieve massive growth.  The potential for growth is valued over revenue in the early stages and this has seen the emergence of digital professionals known as ‘growth hackers’. These growth hackers have been around for a while but we are now seeing specific jobs advertised for people with these digital marketing skills.

Marketing channel analysis.

Businesses need to understand the effectiveness of their various marketing campaigns.  ‘Marketing attribution’ is a term we’ll hear more about in 2018. It’s the relationship between marketing and revenue and measures the quality of a specific marketing channel based on its overall performance results. Comparing results from identical marketing campaigns running on Facebook, Twitter, email blasts etc. helps businesses decide to stick or twist to achieve their goals.

Focus on authenticity.

The more time people spend online the more they are exposed to marketing messages. Now, more than ever, they are pushing back or simply ignoring marketing that comes across as overly ‘salesy’.  Facebook, YouTube and our email inboxes are constantly receiving offers dressed up as information but they are really just ads and can hurt the brand reputation. In 2018, there is expected to be a welcome move towards more authentic and transparent marketing. It will become more about building trust and relationships with customers rather than bombarding them with promotions.

The mobile device first.

Last year we saw mobile browsing officially overtake desktop browsing. Everyone these days places orders on their smartphone or tablet. Web designers today have to present a functional, logical and good looking menu and submenu on small screens. Previously, this was achieved by designing a completely separate version of a business website. Today, there are tools that make the job easier so there is no excuse for paying extra to have a new site optimised for smart devices. People using mobiles are generally looking for products, services or information so huge images can be swapped for improved operability.

Colour and movement.

I’m not sure who decides what style is going to pervade the online world but having researched expected trends, here’s what you can expect to see more of in 2018.

  • Return of the drop-shadow. Flat design days are over and web designers will be creating depth and the illusion.
  • Particle backgrounds. Video clips can be slow but lightweight javascript particle backgrounds achieve the illusion of movement on a screen.
  • Bold typography and large font sizes (on desktops). Typography has always been a powerful visual tool for branding and presenting information. This year we’ll see bigger and bolder and mixed typefaces styles.
  • Colour vibrancy. In the past, many brands and designers stuck to web-safe colours. This year, many designers will be more courageous in their approach to colour.

Some of the expected trends for 2018 will not eventuate and other unexpected aspects will emerge. As always, the important thing to remember is that your business website must not have its goal(s) compromised by design. Stay focused on what you want your site visitors to do and make it easier for them to do it.  Have some fun with styling but don’t go overboard.

If your current site needs a 2018 refresh, or you need a new build please get in contact to discuss your requirements.