Hopping Mad Designs Reviews Web Trends in 2016

1) The use of large images above the fold.
You see this everywhere, the use of big, bold images spread across the top of the page. These really make a statement, have an impact, and are really the evolution of improving website conversion rates. That is, the website has to create a splash, be engaging and entice the browser to stay and eventually buy. This all came about due to the competitive nature of the online environment where web pages were all competing for the same buyer. The bigger and better the image they initially see, the more chance there is that they will buy from you.

2) Bigger and bolder typography

Typography is becoming grander with the passing of every year. As above with the images, the text has to be right in your face, with a very strong call to action. Again, the aim of most websites is to capture the customer, so like any signage, it must be very big, bold, and attention-grabbing. Reviewing next year is easy. Larger text with more visual images is on the cards It’s all going to be about who can scream the loudest online.

3) Long Page scrolls

This kind of snuck upon us and the evolution of this is due to many factors, one being the need to create a feeling of grandeur. The combination of vertical and horizontal scrolling has now meant that most websites now have so much more information on all pages, with lots more images. These all come together in what is termed parallax web design and my review of the future is that the standard, the static website will eventually die out. Single pages without any dynamic movement are just too boring for the standard web user – hence the growth in these types of sites. Basically, the better the user experience, the bigger the number of potential inbound sales leads.

4) Square page design

It is really only so much you can do on a screen and the 1 thing that remains a constant is the grid design. Whatever makes the conversion and sales funnels easier will tend to stick around. Hence the block style formats are here for the next year or so. It will be interesting to see how my review reads in say 6 months as technologies evolve.

5) Large Icons

The use of icons to represent everything is now the norm. Bullet points are dead. It’s now the use of an icon surrounded by massive images, large text, and the ever-present white space. This is now so popular that unfortunately, all websites are starting to look the same. I even want to throw in there the pictures of the staff profiles. In our website and SEO industry, it is mandatory to have images of staff writing on glass partitions with the odd post-it note, the bearded hipster with those dark-framed glasses in a meeting with a client as well as someone’s dog. I want to also add that the use of a company video is also really common nowadays. I know this has been around for a long time, but the level of production quality has really ramped up a notch or two. Now you have the business owners being professionally filmed in different scenarios; around the office, in meetings, on the go or again writing on that glass partition, and yes there is post-it notes. This is now so common that it is really becoming quite ridiculous and my review or prediction is that the public will see straight through this and simply ignore the video. Like with all popular fads, this will eventually flame out. Saying that website updates are fine if your site is old and has not been touched in years.

6) Responsive web design

Well, this review cannot be complete without the mention of mobile-friendly web design. All websites now need to be viewable on all handheld devices. This prediction will stay for the next years until they invent something else. Let’s look at what consumers are wearing, buying in years to come. I’m thinking wearables / Apple watches etc et – these will also dictate web design in the future. But these are a few years off at least.

7) Minimal design with strong conversion points

If you think about it all you need is your brand with a few reasons why people should contact you with a massive inquire now button and this is the trend emerging. Minimal design templates with big, clear ‘hot buttons’, are now what’s big online. This has all come about from free web templates as designed become more or less the same. The reason for this, it’s easier to customize these ‘same as’ templates by adding your logo and your own images. By making it easier for web owners to create their own free templates, they have in fact changed the web design landscape by making everything look far too similar. Again a recipe for branding disasters as all sites start to look the same. I mean, how are you going to tell 1 business from the other.

Vibrant personalities and uniqueness are the essential ingredients that make up a business. Websites unfortunately are not following this path. This review is sounding a bit negative but with the emergence of so many free website templates (which are too good to refuse by many small businesses), web styles are now too similar. This is the nature of web design. If someone has it, then the next person wants it, so on and so forth.

Why Graphic Design Is Still Vital For Business Success

Does your current advertising campaign include aesthetics with the power to grab – and keep – the attention of would-be clients?

Regardless of what you may have heard, graphic design is still vital for the success of any business and there are many reasons for this. Incorporating professional graphic design into your advertising campaign will:

Increase the visibility of your brand – A professionally designed logo instantly increases the visibility of your brand by allowing consumers to put a ‘face’ with the name. To achieve this, your logo should be memorable and unique, while accurately representing what your brand at the same time.

Establish brand loyalty – The most common reason consumers become loyal to certain brands is because they remember the experience they had with their product or service. The easier your brand is to recognize, the more likely clients are to become repeat customers and recommend it to someone else.

Give your brand a competitive edge – Humans are visual creatures and, by definition, are drawn to beautiful imagery that tells a story, conveys a message or evokes certain emotions. Piquing the interest of would-be clients focuses their attention on you, instead of ‘the other guy’ and provides your brand with a competitive edge.

Create a lasting impression on would-be clients – When consumers are looking for a product or service, most do a quick online search to find companies that can offer a solution. That means a company’s website is responsible for making that all-important first impression on would-be clients. A professionally designed website is usually indicative of a professionally managed company, which is very attractive to would-be clients.

Establish continuity across a variety of platforms – Savvy business owners will expand their advertising campaigns to include a variety of outlets that include the printed form, such as signs, business cards, stationery and a host of other printed mediums. Graphic design elements are just as important offline as they are online. Professionally done graphic design helps facilitate continuity across all these mediums, ensuring that your color schemes, layout, logo placement and other crucial elements look their best, regardless of their form of presentation.

Enhance searchability – Graphic design isn’t just about images, fonts and layouts. A great graphic design campaign also enhances a website’s searchability, which improves search engine rankings, generates more traffic and increases conversion rates.

Ensure compatibility across multiple browsers and devices – If your website looks great in one browser, but horrible in another – think of all the business you’re losing out on because would-be clients who prefer one platform over another are unable to access your site. This is a costly, but common mistake that many businesses make – and one that you brand can easily avoid with professional graphic design.

Increase sales & website conversion rates – The goals of any advertising campaign are pretty much the same – increase sales, attract new clients and grow your business. Effective graphic design with a multifaceted approach ensures any brand will be successful in reaching those goals.

Why My Website Needs Conversion Rate Optimisation

The conversion rate is the percentage of how many visitors ‘convert’ – or answer a call to action.

A call to action is what a website owner wants visitors to do – like buy something, invest in their services, contact them for a consultation, sign up for their email list, etc.

A high conversion rate means a website is successful in attracting the attention of visitors and getting them to answer the call to action or ‘convert’. A low conversion rate indicate the opposite is happening and the webmaster should implement steps to rectify the situation. If you fail to do this, simply put, your website will fail. This is disastrous for your business, but there are ways to avoid this. It’s called CRO. Crazy Egg in the article The 13 Most Effective Ways to Increase your Conversion Rate tells us that ‘for every 100 visitors, you can expect to only get 2 customers. And honestly, that’s a pretty good conversion rate’.

CRO Works….it really does. Just imagine doubling your sales in a matter of weeks!

One of the best ways of increasing conversion rates is through Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). The CRO process is a systematic approach to making a website more appealing to visitors by enhancing user experience, streamlining the process of answering the call to action and making the most of the traffic the site already has. If your website is not performing, then it doesn’t have a CRO strategy.

Also ReadHow to Increase the Sales Conversion Rate of My Website?

CRO is a multifacted approach that encompasses proven tactics for improving conversion rates.

Some of the most common tool used in CRO are:

  • Site Analytics Monitoring
  • Visitor Feedback Monitoring
  • Usability Testing
  • Traffic Analyisis
  • Landing Page Optimisation
  • Ecommerce Conversion Testing
  • Heatmaps – check the best heatmap tools here
  • Multivariate Testing

When done right, CRO can be an invaluable tool to have in your online marketing arsenal.

Some of the most notable benefits of CRO are:

Makes use of your current traffic

You’re likely already paying for the traffic you have via paid advertising, PPC campaigns or other methods of SEO. CRO makes use of the traffic you already have so that your advertising budget doesn’t increase.

Creates a stronger, more loyal customer base

More often than not, if you make a client happy, they will be back. Providing them with an enhanced user experience via CRO is one way to ensure repeat customers and build brand loyalty. Just imagine adding on a website and hating what you find? You’ll never return. Improving CRO rates means that customers are more likely to stay and engage with the site. The more they are on your site browsing between pages, the lower your bounce rates and in turn better SEO rankings.

Increases ROI

By default, sales increase as your conversion rate does. CRO allows you to generate more revenue by utilizing the sales platform you already have in place, instead of investing in new methods of attracting business.

Gives you a competitive edge in your industry

Despite the many benefits of CRO and the large profit margins, it can create, the vast majority of websites either have no idea it exists or simply fail to follow through with its implementation. Doing so can give your brand the edge it needs to outsell the competition.

The page snapshot below is a great example of how conversion rate optimisation has helped a divorce lawyer in Sydney; Doolan Wagner not only helps improve their Google rankings but inquiry rates with some simple on-page tweaks and adjustments. View the webpage here. The content was thin and there were few call to action but all that was required was a few simple amends and they are now seeing the benefits of how vital CRO is for attracting and engaging new clients.

The Doolan Wagner services page ‘divorce layers Sydney’ required some minor tweaks to help with their conversion rates.

Every website can benefit from CRO, regardless of how well the business is doing. There is always room for improvement so don’t assume just because your sales aren’t slow right now that they couldn’t be better. On the other hand, if your conversion rate isn’t as high as you would like it to be or you’re just not seeing the results you hoped for when creating your website, CRO is definitely something to consider.

Is your website under performing?

Have you launched a website or recently revamped a site and it’s been a huge flop?

As the saying goes failing to plan is planning to fail and it couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to your website and online digital marketing.

Following are some helpful tips to help you improve the health of your website, increase sales and customer conversion rates. So now there’s absolutely no excuse for complacency and blaming the performance of your website on someone else. It’s all in your hands and you can easily do something about it. And, the best news is; that it’s not all that difficult.

Make sure you do your keyword research when it comes to SEO

Keyword research is really a no-brainer when it comes to hiring an SEO company. Obviously, you need to be targeting the right type of keywords that will bring in the most amount of website traffic. No point in going after keywords that might be easy to rank on Google but will have little or no impact of quality leads. Know your customers and what they would most likely type into Google to find your product or service. Once you have established this, ask your SEO agency to check if these keywords have enough traffic, and then go for it.

Targeting the right keywords is not an exact science. Consumer behaviour does change and so will their search criteria. So don’t be afraid to add more keywords to your SEO marketing mix. You might be pleasantly surprised by the impact this one small change could have on the level of inquiries.

I have personally seen businesses land huge new jobs by targeting a different set of keywords that they never thought would generate this type of quality lead.

Look at your on-site SEO

There are still so many businesses that call me and for the life of them cannot work out why their website is still not performing well on Google. They have used numerous SEO agencies in Sydney and the results are still really disappointing. The culprit is the ‘on-site’ SEO. That is, their website is not Google compliant. Issues like: titles, descriptions, thin web copy, slow load speeds, flash animation, and use of heave graphics are still being completely ignored by many and the results speak for themselves. If you are serious about getting a better online ranking then make sure you speak with a digital design agency that can look at the perfect combination of web design and SEO. Once they have the mix right, then your Google rankings will immediately improve. Search Engine Journal has a great article called 12 Essential On-Page SEO Factors You Need To Know, which will help you understand better the importance of on-page SEO and what you can do to fix any non-Google compliant issues on your site.

I know I am giving our agency Hopping Mad Designs a bit of a plug here, but when it comes to knowing how to get your website ranking on Google and turn visitors into customers, I would say that we are on top of our game. This is what we do best and we can take your underperforming website and turn it into a powerful sales tool. All you need to do is call us and I’m sure that I will be able to point out issues with your website within 30 seconds.

Don’t forget about local SEO

A strong focus on local SEO helps your small business really stand out in Sydney. Register your business with a few of the better-known and more respected online directories for some quick wins. Registering with hundreds of the free online directories available to you, in the hope of improving your local rankings is not a good idea as it will appear spammy and will do more damage than harm. I always choose 5 of the main directories and leave it at that.

Start Blogging and do it regularly

I know this may seem like a hard task, but Blogging is a great way to establish your business as an authority in the industry. Whilst it will not have a huge impact on your main core SEO keywords, it will position your business as a useful resource of information. People will come to your website whenever they need information about your niche and this traffic, in turn, will eventually lead to more business. It’s a long-haul marketing tactic, but it does work. Plus adding pages to your website allows us as web and SEO agencies to optimise these blog pages, which gives your SEO campaign a more natural backlinking profile. This is what Google is looking for and if this strategy is implemented consistently, your overall web traffic number will grow month after month. This is the best thing that one can do for your business. That is, increase the number of people coming to your site.

Choose your Digital Agency wisely

Many businesses make this choice on price alone. They are offered great web design & SEO deals that are just too good to pass on and in 99.9% of the time end up in disaster. A good percentage of calls I get every day are from businesses that are at the mercy of dodgy agencies whose only goal is to get as much revenue as they can without any regard to the needs of their paying customer. If you think this can’t happen to you….think again. Fabulous-sounding offers, with promises of guaranteed Google rankings and more customers than you ever imagined possible, are a gimmick. Making the wrong choice now is a recipe for failure. Be smart and base your decision on what they can realistically offer – NEVER ON PRICE alone.

Love your Social Media

For some businesses out there, social media is like second nature. They thrive on social media and in some cases use platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for their entire marketing. For the rest of us, social media marketing (as it is known) can be a chore a task and an extremely daunting. But, in today’s digital environment, you must start to engage your customer base through these marketing channels. If you have never done this before, start off slowly and build up from there. As a minimum, you should have a Facebook business page. Post 1 article or news item a week and measure the number of followers you start getting. If this seems too hard or you are just far too time-poor – get in touch with us and we can look at managing your social media on a monthly basis. We do it this way for many businesses and the results are incredible.

Website overhaul

Have a good, long hard look at your website and ask yourself these questions.

  • does your competitor’s website look so much better?
  • do you like the look of it?
  • when was the last time you updates it?
  • has it got the latest add-ons and must-haves such as being mobile-friendly / responsive?

The list is endless, basically, if your website looks bad, no matter what you end up doing in terms of marketing, the results will never be as good as they could be. Old, stale, cheap-looking template websites are slowly killing your business via poor customer conversion rates. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW!

My advice for any business wanting to succeed is that they now have to start embracing technology and throw away the chains that have been holding them down for the past years. The things that you can do to make the necessary changes are at your disposal. All you need to do is know what a digital agency can do for your business and the difference between the good and bad ones.