Marketing trends, particularly in terms of web design, don’t just happen randomly – at least not always. Things change, and online they change fast and often, with consequences that can catch out small business owners, SEO’s and digital marketing people. In recent months, for example, both Google and Facebook have altered the way they analyse website content, in some cases creating a need to re-evaluate your online marketing. Trends don’t just happen because they’re trendy – the trick is in understanding the underlying reason they become popular. 

Staying Relevant

Staying Relevant

Google’s changes – which happen on a regular basis – are (according to Google, anyway) entirely focused on removing poor quality, spammy sites from the top of its results page. It’s an ongoing process that’s designed to improve the experience of the user, delivering more relevant results.

While there’s a whole industry devoted to keeping on top of these changes and working around them, the underlying message is an important one; producing fresh, interesting, relevant and engaging content is always going to be a good idea, both from an SEO perspective and in terms of engaging your potential customers.
The same can be said of recent changes to Facebook’s news feed; recycled ads and spam-style promotional material is going to be weeded out of news feeds, partly because it’s clogging the feeds of people who just don’t want it – and partly because Facebook wants you to pay if you’re going to advertise.

Fresh Content

Fresh Content

Technology itself drives trends; as mobile connectivity overtakes desktop use, and increased broadband speeds are coupled with ever-better screen resolutions (and bigger formats, like the iPhone 6 Plus), mixed content will become more important. Adding video and rich media used to be a bit of a minefield for web designers and marketers, as some visitors would be lost to slow load times and format issues. Now, though, online video has come of age. It’s far more engaging than text, more likely to be shared, and can even push you up the rankings – as long as your mantra is “quality over quantity.”

Targeting & Social Media

targeting social media

Secondly, think about targeted marketing; Facebook may be trying to squash the organic reach associated with its news feeds, but it’s still worth considering using its paid ads, simply because the targeting tools are so useful. In terms of overall social media strategy, you should ensure that you have one!
If at all possible, assign a dedicated team and concentrate on effective use of the most relevant platforms rather than trying to be everywhere just because you think you should.

Make It Snappy

make it snappy

Attention spans aren’t going to get any longer in 2015. Short. Snappy. These should be your watchwords. Spending time and money creating microdata to drive people to your landing page is a waste of time if, when they get there, they’re confronted with something that’ll make their eyes glaze over.
Rather than blocks of text describing what you’re about, consider using explainer videos (Dropbox being a classic example) and video presentations.


website user experience

Why do people pay big money for Apple products? One reason is UX – user experience. Fans of these products like them because they’re simply pleasant places to be, slick and exciting to look at, and intuitive to use. Getting UX right in terms of website design is something that can represent big initial investment – but in the long run it should prove to be more effective at converting visitors into customers, and (if you’re listening to your customers) should save you money on tweaks.

Layout Trends

Layout Trends

Now let’s take a look at layout trends for 2015. The way websites were laid out in previous years tended to stick to a fairly strict idea of what worked and what didn’t. Things are more flexible these days, partly because website building software has offered a wider range of options.

Single image backgrounds are already massively popular, helped by the fact that they’re easy to incorporate into responsive design, optimising UX across multiple platforms and devices. Split screen and 3- and 4- block design continues to work well. This may mean that more websites have a similar basic layout, so the design of individual elements (while keeping them consistent with the overall brand message) will be more important; lettering is one example where you can make your design unique.

Of course, budgets constrain what you can do, and site builders get better all the time, but if your budget runs to an art director, use one for originality and consistency of vision. The most important overall message when it comes to design trends, is that they must always be top quality; not just because it’s the only way to engage people, but because Google and others are going to both require it – and become increasingly good at recognising it.