With so many digital cookie cutter and template options, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find (and keep) your competitive edge. Standing apart from the crowd means creating valiance and discovering untouched territory. These two initiatives are seemingly downright impossible in 2016.
Too many people think of trends as standards to be met, when the truth is, trends are what we want to stay away from. It’s counterproductive. What everyone is doing right now is exactly what defines a trend, and why would we want to be the same as everyone else? Instead, let’s think futuristically and be proactive about staying knowledgeable about what to expect from industry leaders.
Stay focused on the future and get familiar with the unfamiliar, in fact, get comfortable with the unfamiliar. When something is unfamiliar, it’s scary, it’s different, it induces a new feeling of fear of change – but once it is adopted by the masses, it becomes the norm and within no time, it’s old news. Remember when Facebook released the “timeline” feature? It was highly unaccepted at first. Now, it’s being reproduced by multiple media outlets.
Looking through the past, predictions were everywhere with responsive designs (now mandatory for Google to even rank your website) and even parallax, visually and functionally enticing designs. Audiences want to be aroused by what they find when they’re searching for content. So simply delivering information will not cut it. With the exception of perhaps Craigslist, visitors expect more.
Remember though, more isn’t always more. Less is more, too. We’re going to keep seeing websites that encompass single page design (with or without parallax), grid/card layouts (delivering immediate results with options to view more), typography, large/bold fonts and videos and images telling stories (instead of text).
Here is where things get confusing though: Google wants more content from you in order to validate your website is in fact giving users what they want. The best way to do this is to create deep seed pages that have keyword search related content. Visitors may arrive to your website via these deep seed pages, so you will want to make sure these are succinct and quality pages with one click call to action to retain the reader.
For the sake of the point of this article, let’s discuss responsive design. A responsive design is one that accommodates the end users’ device (screen size). Mobile website traffic is on the rise, increasing over 20% in the year 2015 alone. My clients’ websites’ analytics are reporting at least 50% of mobile traffic (including tablets). Google (who of course knows everything, including all of our medical self diagnoses, haha) knew this was happening (perfect example of future forward) and decided to require all websites be responsive in order to be ranked better. It’s all about efficiency and delivering quality results to the people.
As an entrepreneur, ask yourself, what purpose does your website and/or digital presence serve? Who is your audience and what do they need or want from your business? Think like your audience, and answer the questions honestly. Now ask yourself this: Does your website (and all digital marketing efforts/presences) effectively and efficiently deliver what your audience needs and/or wants? Here are some questions to guide you along after determining your audience’s wants and needs:
- Is your website responsive?
- Is your message understandable and effectively communicated to the user?
- Are your visual elements aligned with the message?
- Is there an immediate call to action for the visitor?
- Is your content consistent with what the user originally searched for?
Efficiency, quality and futuristic = a competitive combination that will surely deliver future forward results.
Tylar Masters is an award winning entrepreneurship thought leader of the digital design industry and is president of Detroit based digital design and development agency, Tylar & Company.