You can ignore it… but is your website ready for 2019?

When making the decision to either follow website trends for 2019 or just keep things the way they are, you have to ask yourself, “Is my website an expense or a critical sales tool?” You’re probably always reading these new fancy marketing articles telling you you need to have bells and whistles in order to attract customers away from your competitors. Are these stories true? What’s the real deal? What should website owners, in our opinion, be thinking about in 2019?

Have you ever heard the phrase “the more things change the more they stay the same”? At 118GROUP, we believe the biggest website trend for 2019 will be  “to better serve your website visitors”.

We’ll talk about the basics you should always be thinking about concerning any website as well as some True Trends we’ll see for 2019.

 

Review Your Current Operations

Do your services and team members accurately reflect your website? When someone goes to your website, are they seeing what is actually happening in your business?

Have your services changed?

Have you made any changes to your staff or team?

Have you changed office locations or your hours of operations?

Have there been any pricing or menu changes?

Do you now offer gift certificates or any online payments?

Has your interest introduced any new jargon or language which should be reflected on your website?

Do you have any new reviews that could help new visitors learn what other say about your business?

What are your competitors up to; have they updated their website and what things can you learn from them?

 

Evaluate how your website is being used

Once you review your current operations, it’s time to look at your website and see how it’s really being used. Are people going to the pages you want them to read? How long are they staying there? Are they coming back? What are the ages or other demographic features of the people coming to your site? Once you take a look at this, you can evaluate underperforming areas of your site and make changes to get more response to them.

 

A great free tool to help you understand how your website is being used is Google Analytics. Google Analytics can be a beast by itself but there are some other easy ways to get basic data on your website. There are also a lot of options when it comes to hiring professionals to help you review what’s going on with your website.

 

In addition to Google Analytics, there are great tools called Heat Maps. One tool that we really love is mouse flow. It records up to 100 sessions of users coming to your website and will tell you how far they scroll down the page, what they’re clicking on and what they’re reading. This is a great tool that website owners should be thinking about very often.

 

If you’re engaging in SEO actions, another obvious choice would be the Google search console in Google my business. This tool also provides valuable insights on how many visitors are coming to your website through search and through your Google Business Listing.

 

Revamp Your Website

Now that you’ve clearly defined what your business is doing and looked at how your website is being used, it’s time to close those gaps by revamping content photos and potentially the structure of your website. The best way to start is with a Content planner; make a list of the pages you want to change and outline the content in sections that you want on that page. Once you’ve decided on the main concepts of that page, you can write the text and import the photos which you desire.

 

While you’re editing the content, it’s also advisable to take a look at the colors and icons reviews on the website. If your website is more than 2 years old, you need to take a look at it and make sure it’s still fresh and inviting. You need to look like you’re in with today’s times if you want to be viewed as a current business.  We revamp our own website at 1:18 group every 12 to 18 months although this is expected of us; we work very hard in our business and since it’s constantly changing, we need a website to reflect those changes.

 

What are some common elements we see on ineffective websites?

Remember that people are busy and reading can sometimes be a luxury. Your website needs to be cleanly organized with the pages very easily found through your top menu.

 

A lot of people – over 60% – are mobile now. You have to make sure any features on your website are available on mobile or that you’re giving mobile users some way to contact you or an alternative method to get your content.

 

Think about your overall design. Are the headings a pleasant color, are they spaced evenly from photos and other text or are they just blobs? Help people pull out quick and meaningful concepts as they scroll through your pages. Only use professional photography and make sure there are no copyright strings attached or else you may find yourself with a major legal issue.

 

How about the colors on your website? Do they accurately reflect your organization? Does the website look a little dated and like it could use some freshening up?

 

Is it easy for people to contact you? We’ve been talking about this for years but are there buttons in strategic places to get people to contact you?  Have you considered installing live chat? Are your phone number and location easy to spot for people who may be mobile or driving and just need a quick answer?

 

Speed

In 2019, your website should load in under 4 seconds. Your website photos and content should be optimized so that they are less than 3 to 4 megabytes. Mobile traffic is reaching an all-time high and most users are not going to click on additional pages if your website is loading slowly.

 

Security


Your website absolutely has to have an SSL certificate with that green padlock at the top of the page. Do you have a WordPress site and do you have your own hosting account? You need to make sure you have a professional keeping an eye on these things. Alternatively, you could employ tools and practices that will keep your website patched and updated. Remember that just because your system is locked with a password, this doesn’t mean someone can’t break in. To illustrate, you can park your car under a streetlight and lock the doors but someone can still break-in and do damage.

 

Tying it all together

Indeed for some people, a website is an expense while for others it’s a critical sales tool that can make or break a sale. Even companies who rely heavily on referrals can lose sales if a referral comes to a website and they see something they don’t like. You have to remember that today’s consumer has a lot of options. They’re busy and distracted and you need to give them a great streamlined experience.

 

Website Trends from 2018

In case you missed it, here’s a quick bulleted list website trends in 2018 which survived and we expect to see in 2019.

 

The “Hero” Image:

The “hero image” is that large banner which appears on the homepage of many websites.

Example of a hero image below (pun intended):

Cape Veterans Outreach Hero Image

Cape Veterans Outreach Hero Image

 

Parallax Effect

According to dictionary.com a Parallax is defined as: the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer. If you check out the 118GROUP homepage, scroll down to the bubbles section, and you can see the scroll moving at different speeds which created the effect of distance.

 

 

Google Maps on Contact Pages

You can embed a google map of your location by doing the following:

 

Embed a map or directions

Note: Traffic and other Maps info is sometimes not available in the embedded map.

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Go to the directions, map, or Street View image you’d like to embed.
  3. In the top left, click Menu aka Hamburger Icon.
  4. Click Share or embed map.
  5. Click Embed map.
  6. To the left of the text box, pick the size you want by clicking the Down arrow .
  7. Copy the text in the box. Paste it into the HTML of your website or blog.

 

Disallowing Comments on Blog Posts

If you are a blog, magazine, or commentary magazine, there are arguments for keeping blogs. However, many people feel, on a business website you are leaving yourself vulnerable to negativity.

Rounded Edges on Images

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Here are a few scams so believable, our clients ALMOST fell for them!

  1. Phone Call from Google about your business listing

    The Scam:
    A professional-sounding person calls, identifies himself as Google and says that your business listing is in jeopardy and therefore, you’re losing business to your website. They then go on to say that you need to give them a credit card number to have your business listing fixed.

    The Truth:
    At this point in time, Google will never call and talk to you about your business listing or ask you for a credit card number. As a matter of fact, only 30 percent of businesses even have a verified business listing. Google Business listing is a very important part of online presence in today’s world. It’s what displays when someone googles your business name and according to research, 80% of consumers will search a business’s name before they make a purchase from them. Verifying your business listing is free from Google and anybody can do it but if you’re confused about the process, at 118 group, for a fixed price, we have a service that can help you.

  2. Your website is “broken” and you’re missing traffic from Google.

    The Scam
    You get an email from someone sounding professional but if you look closely it’s usually a Gmail free address. They tell you your website has some technical issue which is preventing search engines from indexing it or that it doesn’t have the right keywords. They may also tell you that your website is missing traffic and offer to fix it for you for a fee.

    The Truth
    Ask yourself how these “professionals” found your website. The answer is, they searched your business type and found you so the claim that your website doesn’t come up in search engines is usually a lie. Our two cents on this is, if you are not actively following Google’s guidelines, you are definitely missing traffic but that doesn’t necessarily mean your website is broken. In the world of search engine optimization and ranking, everyone has a different opinion and for the most part, there is no right or wrong answer. You are better off reaching out to a company you know and trust before spending any money fixing any “issues”.

  3. Your website is hacked.

    The Scam
    You receive an email or phone call from someone saying your website has been flagged as hacked and they are offering to fix it for you for a fee.

    The Truth
    Your website could very well be compromised if it is not being hosted or monitored properly by a professional service provider. However, never give your credit card information to someone calling your business or sending you a random email. Contact us if you are in doubt to see if there’s an issue with your website and we will know how to fix it.

  4. Expired Domain / The need to renew your domain.

    The Scam
    Your domain is going to expire and if you don’t send in a check or pay with a credit card over the phone, you’re going to lose it.

    The Truth
    The reality is your web domain might be expiring. At the same time, it might not. We’ve seen cases where a domain won’t expire for five years and people are just trying to scam our clients out of money. We’ve also seen companies preemptively send an email or a letter in the mail 2 to 3 months before the domain expires hoping that they will grab the money. The bottom line here is, you should only renew the domain with the company you originally registered it with. For example, if you originally registered your domain with GoDaddy, you should ONLY renew it with GoDaddy. In the event that you forget who you registered with, an experienced web designer can make a public records search and find out who the original registrar is.