It’s more than a decade since we’ve been witnessing the real rush of the Internet, absorbing the fact that the world is borderless, and also accept the web as mainstream is on. Yet, take a random look at most of the websites and you’ll often see a pathetic display of HTML with no regards to why that website was built in the first place.
Imagine a land inhabited by creatures, but none of these creatures have anything to do all day. They just exist (static pages), they survive on borrowed resources (shared hosting), and they have no agenda (websites not geared up for any conversions, whatsoever).
You might think that this utopian land is a dream come true. Pretty soon, you won’t like it. You’d be bored. You’d not have a sense of purpose. You’d not achieve a thing except survival (and you won’t credit for that since you didn’t have to fight for it).
In a nutshell, that kind of a life sucks. The news: most websites suck too. Go ahead, do a Google search, and most of the websites you’ll see are all examples as explained above.
With the volume of information available on website development and digital marketing strategy, you might wonder why this is still the case: it’s because website designers and developers design and develop websites the way they are used to.
Here’s the thing: on the web, you can’t get “used” to anything because everything changes. The fictitious utopian land example aside, here are a few web development trends you are still indifferent to:
If it’s a trend, it’ll show. Sliders on websites are so popular that any discerning business owner cannot be blamed for “allowing” these sliders to show up. Popularity reigns, doesn’t it? But it shouldn’t.
Sliders are one of those things that became popular because every other website developer started to think that it looks “cool”.
Cool doesn’t get you profits, as Peep Laja of Conversion XL puts it. Peep – along with many customization experts believe that rotating batters, rotating offers, sliders, and pretty much anything of that variety kills conversions.
You don’t want to kill the golden goose. You just don’t.
Platform? Who cares?
A lot depends on the platform and technology you’d use for your website. Invariably, this decision has to be taken even before a brief goes out for a web developer.
Would you choose the popular WordPress or settle for Drupal or Joomla? Are you building your ecommerce website on HTML5 and CSS3 framework or are you going to host/build the site on dedicated ecommerce platforms (e.g Magento or WooCommerce) that are theme-based with some customization?
Should you use one of the DIY website builders like SquareSpace or Wix or would you rather hand code a website and host in on purchased server space?
The real answer to this question calls for a full blog post, but the point is this: you can’t just pick a platform and run with it. All platforms have advantages and disadvantages and your decisions are likely to have a huge impact on the future of your business.
Also, don’t ask your website developer as to what the best platform is because they can’t tell. The onus of this decision lies on you, and that in turn, depends on what you want out of your website, how you intend to use it, and what your strategy dictates.
Indifference to what really works
Scout around for web development job briefs and you’ll often see clients putting up requests for websites with X pages. An image here and a widget there. Large images on the hero section with indefinite scroll. Fancy animations and “cheap” logo design.
Some business owners even go out on a limb and specify number of pages with what should go on each page.
All that’s nice for pure website development per se.
The question is this:
- What happens after the website is ready?
- Assuming you’ll depend on digital marketing for getting traffic to your site, how do you know if your website is working as good as it should, or if it is working at all?
- How do you know that your insistence for the logo, the placement of buttons, and how you designed your layout is the best you could do?
Digital marketing, SEO, traditional marketing, conversion optimization, and social engagement are all critical to sustain your digital presence.
Sadly, websites are built and forgotten.
So, what’s next?
Everything converged. Everything
Here’s the biggest trend that you didn’t even realize that it’s a trend. Ever so slowly, the whole drama of:
- I’ll buy domain and hosting
- Get a website developed
- Do digital marketing
- Build marketing funnels, manage branding, get leads, nurture leads, sell once, and then sell forever.
All of that has converged. The death knell is close-by for any self-respecting web development agency that still goes by the primary business model of “We build awesome small business websites”.
The reality is that no business owner wants a website; they want more business. They need to world to recognize their brands. They want to generate leads. They want to make sales.
If you are a business owner, just looking for help on domains, hosting, website development, or marketing as if each of these is a different thing to look out for is history.
Do you find yourself refusing to stand up and take notice for any of these web development trends? Do you see the sands of time shifting? Tell us all about it.