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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Having a good logo is extremely important to your business. It is also important to help attract new customers. Logo designs act as first impressions & let’s face it we all make judgments off of first impressions. Listed below are some key points to why your business needs a good logo design.

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Of course, Linkedin offers paid small business marketing services. But there’s plenty of stuff you can do for free to gain extra exposure for your business. While it may not be the “sexy” platform that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become, LinkedIn can connect you with people that may not be as active on these other platforms.

 

So what is the importance of Linkedin when it comes to your business’s social media strategy? Whether you’re in the B2B or B2C categories, LinkedIn can certainly be useful, but you need to approach it somewhat differently. Of course, big brands, especially consumer brands, are quite active on LinkedIn. So how can your business take advantage of this professional networking platform?

 

The Difference Between Personal (Public) Profiles and LinkedIn Business Pages

 

Too often, we see folks who create a professional profile on Linkedin with their business name! This is a bad idea. Professionals want to connect with other individuals. This is a common mistake on Facebook, as well. But especially on Linkedin, having your own professional profile in addition to a Linkedin Business page (which is free), makes your business look a lot more legitimate.

 

It’s also important that these public profiles be updated on a fairly regular basis. Unlike Facebook, and especially unlike Twitter, though, you don’t have to post quite as regularly. Some suggest only posting once or twice daily at a maximum. The trick is to be active without overloading people.

 

Liking and Leaving Useful Comments is Very Good

 

One of the great things about Linkedin is that as you build your professional network, likes and comments on posts appear directly on the “walls” of your connections. So, while you don’t want to post a lot, liking posts from relevant industry leaders and your connections is worth doing for a short time on a daily basis. It’s especially good to leave thoughtful comments on posts, as well.

 

Business pages can be updated much like a profile, although they aren’t nearly as detailed. They basically exist as a way to get more exposure for your business. You should keep this updated at least weekly with updates, mostly about your industry, and only occasionally about your business itself. This is a good idea on any platform, but the pressure to update a Linkedin page isn’t as much as it is on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram profile.

 

Be Careful Whom You Connect With

 

It’s very easy to just add connections at will. You can have tens of thousands of connections on Linkedin. The more you connect with, the more access you get to others. This is why it’s important to only connect with people in the same field or related fields as you or potential customers.

 

B2B vs B2C on Linkedin

 

This is where the big difference between Linkedin for Business to Business and Business to Consumer companies comes in. Unlike on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular platforms, Linkedin is about making professional connections. In the case of B2B companies, this isn’t really an issue. You would be connecting with business owners that are either non-competitors or potential clients or vendors. Those that are both B2B and B2C businesses should probably focus on the B2B side of your business on Linkedin.

 

But if you’re purely a B2C business, there are still ways to use Linkedin effectively. It just means that you have to focus on connecting with other local businesses. You can still share pictures and videos like you would on other platforms. But signal boosting the content of other non-competing businesses locally and related fields can go a long way.

 

Whatever your business, having a Linkedin presence will help your overall social media strategy succeed. Above all, be as professional as possible. It’s OK to post memes, but just be sure they are in good taste. And above all, don’t overshare. Linkedin is all about networking and building others up. As long as you keep that in mind, you will find some success on Linkedin.

 

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