With more than half the world experiencing some sort of lockdown in 2020, eCommerce suddenly shifted to become (effectively) the only game in town for so many. Businesses that had their doors shut by the government had to shift their operations to an online environment, and many were not prepared for that change.
For the longest time, websites were just something trendy to have. Toss up a few blog posts, maybe some stock photos, or a few graphics. Perhaps pop in a link to your products or services, and include some contact information. Designs, graphics, and colors were not at the forefront of the design. Businesses wanted something up, and they wanted it up quickly just to have a web presence. 2020 has dictated that this is no longer an option.
IBM’s U.S. Retail Index report for 2020 states that “COVID-19 has accelerated retail trends by nearly five years.” The report goes on to say that there was:
- 13% growth in the first quarter.
- The second quarter saw a 26% growth.
- IBM further projected eCommerce growth at least 20% by year end.
With growth like that, it’s easy to see that the time is now to get your website up to speed with the market, and to focus on some elements to help you stand out from the crowd. Here we’ll show you the website design trends you need to know for 2021.
First and foremost, your website should always, always, always be mobile-friendly. With more and more users shopping from their phones and tablets, having a mobile-first design that incorporates responsive design has taken on a more significant role than in the past.
In fact, we’re going to say this one is non-negotiable. Mobile-ready websites have become increasingly important over the years. You’ve always wanted a website that could be accessed on various devices and screen sizes. Now, it’s mandatory.
When we say a website incorporates responsive design, that means the website features adjust according to the screen size and aspect ratio of the devices being used to view it. Designers are developing websites with desktop users in mind but making sure it’s accessible for other screen sizes and pixel counts as a primary focus, so users can search, browse and shop easily on their device of choice.
According to Google, mobile-first websites are going to be ongoingly ranked higher in Google searches than websites without mobile responsiveness.
Page Speed Optimization
Page loading speed and responsive elements are crucial to your website’s success. 47% of consumers expect a website to load in less than two seconds and 40% will leave a website without taking an action if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
Web pages that load slowly send an immediate message to your visitors that your brand doesn’t provide the quality you expect from someone worth doing business with. They will begin to wonder “If your website doesn’t function the way it should, why would they expect any different from your products or services?”
Simple Web Design
Minimalism is back. Somewhere along the way in the world of web design, we lost track of the simple, clean, minimal web design for bright, fun, packed-full-of-punch design. Minimal and simple designs are modern and aesthetically pleasing to look at. Use menus to give your website visitors a way to navigate to all the punches your website holds.
Creative Color Branding
If you have a more complex website or company with a variety of services, it might be tricky to stick with a minimal site. One solution to this issue is to brand your services with different colors. This helps differentiate your robust offerings and make your services clear and distinct for your customers. We used this approach with the Carrboro Business Alliance to differentiate their About Page, Advocacy Work, and Programs.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
To drive organic traffic to your business for relevant searches, your website needs to be optimized for SEO. SEO encompasses the proper use of keywords, headlines, meta descriptions, and alt text for images.
Permalink structure is also important and should be factored in. Search engines like Google and Bing favor URLs that are short and contain relevant keywords. With the default permalink structure for WordPress for instance, the URL for a blog post looks like:
Not a very good URL in terms of SEO or aesthetics.
Fortunately it’s not too hard to change your permalink structure. By doing so you can make your URLs better suited for SEO like the following:
Custom Illustration & Graphic Design
While trends are showing a decline in stock photo use and an incline in illustrations, mixing photos with graphic illustrations is still very useful. Using a mixture of media creates an individual message of the site. All types of media posted on the website should be thought of as an opportunity for branding. Using a mixture helps you to stand out from the crowd – especially with your brand standing behind it.
All these changes got your head spinning? We’ve got you covered.
We get it. Your head is spinning thinking about all of the changes you need to make. Or, maybe, you just need to get a fresh start on a brand new website. We get it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You don’t have to be, though.
At Carrboro Creative, no matter where you are at in your website journey, we can help you every step of the way. We will work with you to develop your brand, curate your brand design, and create a WordPress site for you that actually converts! We approach web design with small and medium sized businesses in mind. What that means is we use programs and plugins that make small edits easy for small business owners or admins.