Web Design Trends
As we enter into the 4th quarter of 2017, I’m going to make a couple of predictions on web design trends for 2018. But if you are looking for an article on white space, typography, negative space, high quality photos, or cinemagraphs, this article is not for you.
While those are interesting subjects for web agencies like us, it’s more useful for mid-sized companies to understand the trends that make a website effective by generating more sales, instead of what it takes to have an “award-winning web site.”
Tighter Integration with Customer Relationship Management Software
One of the main functions of a high-performing website is converting visitors into leads by capturing contact information such as name, email and phone number. Many websites use contact forms such as Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, or WPForms.
The biggest drawback to using these types of forms is that when a visitor sends you their contact information, you receive it as an email. Manually tracking leads from your website can also be a time-consuming process, and many salespeople use their own spreadsheet to track the status of their leads.
A better method is using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to track leads from your website. Most modern CRM systems allow for the seamless integration of contact forms, which will save your salespeople their most valuable asset: time. Every minute your salesperson is spared from data entry is time spent meeting prospects and developing relationships.
Correctly implemented, a CRM solution such as Hubspot has a host of additional benefits for a busy sales team, including:
- Automatically kicking off an automated email-nurturing campaign
- Tracking email opens and clicks
- Tracking website visits
- Recording all contact activity in one central contact record
Time is your most precious asset. Integrating your CRM/marketing platform with your website is a huge timesaver that has a large impact on the productivity of sales teams of all sizes.
More Companies will Adopt a “Continuous Improvement” Mindset for Web Design
In the past, web design was (and, for many, still is) viewed as one of those necessary evils that a company had to do as a cost of doing business. The traditional web design process would take 4-6 months to complete, and it cost between $10,000 to $80,000. Because the journey was so long, expensive and painful, companies would be very reluctant to go through the process again unless absolutely necessary, so it would be 3-5 years before the next web redesign project would be approved.
One of the negative consequences of this traditional approach is because there is no further analysis made on how the visitors are actually using the site, you don’t know whether you have a website that’s actually delivering results. Equally important is that while your website sits static for those years, the world continues to change. New products and/or services are introduced, buyer behavior evolves, design patterns change, and competitors adapt. Redesigning only every 3-5 years leaves you very vulnerable to being left behind, which impacts leads generated and sales closed.
There is a better way: Growth Driven Design.
This is a smarter approach to web design because this process:
- Reduces the headaches of traditional web design
- Launches the “foundational” website 50% faster than traditional web design
- Optimizes and adjusts the website over time based on actual visitor interaction
The high-level process for creating a website through incremental improvement is as follows:
- Build a launch pad website that contains the core elements of the website and is better than the current website.
- Improve the website in monthly or quarterly “sprints” to incorporate additional elements
- Optimize the website conversion rate using data collected from the website. Using analytics and website-tracking software, such as Hotjar, you can optimize the design and content based on actual user interaction.
By adopting a growth-driven design approach, your website can become your company's best salesperson, working 24/7 to bring in qualified leads and to help close sales.
Site Architecture and Content Organization will be Critical for Driving Traffic to your Site
The days in which an effective website could be a simple collection of site pages and blogs is a thing of the past. How you organize your site’s content and information will become a critical factor in driving traffic to your website.
With the recent changes to Google’s Search Algorithm, it is clear that critical changes are necessary in order to be ranked higher in the search results. According to research from Hubspot’s Anum Hussain, organizing and linking related content into topic clusters had a positive impact on placement in search engine results pages.
In addition to having topic clusters, it’s vital that the content and the website is set up to be the lead-generating machine to launch, run and monitor effective marketing campaigns. Key elements include:
- Making sure that every blog has a target buyer persona
- Placing at least one Call To Action (CTA) that guides the visitor to a landing page with an offer
- Making sure that each offer helps answer the visitor's question and the offer is aligned to where the visitor is in the buyer's journey: top, middle, or bottom of the funnel
Visual design elements will always be an important part of web design. In fact, selecting the right look, font, color and pictures is important to keep your site looking fresh and relevant.
But for most companies, the main function of a website is to attract visitors and convert them into leads. We believe that companies who adopt these business web design trends will save their sales team time, generate more leads and drive more traffic to their website.
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Written by David Lee
As the founder of Do What Works, my goal is to take the best practices and lessons I learned from working with Fortune 500 companies and bring them to the mid-size market and help our clients grow their business.