3 Website Trends That Customers (and Business Owners) Will Love

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Andy Hayes  – Enjoy!

Website trendsI know what you’re probably thinking: oh, great, another trends post.  Personally, I think trend-watching is interesting because it can give you new ideas for your business.  But, a little bit of trend-watching goes a long way.

When it comes to the web – and specifically, websites – there are plenty of trends.  The trick is to identify which trends will add meaningful value to both your customers and you as well.  Here are 3 website design trends I think you should be watching.

1. Responsive Design:  A Great Experience, No Matter Where

Have you heard the term “responsive” website design and laughed it off as techno-mumbo-jumbo?  Now’s the time for you to embrace it.

Responsive design is simply a way that your site is coded so that the site checks how big of a screen the user has (such as a large monitor, medium-sized tablet, or smaller mobile) and then adjusts how the site looks based on that.  This means that no matter whether your customer is having a quick browse on their phone while in line at the grocery, or spending quite a bit of time on your blog while relaxing on the sofa on their tablet, they have a great browsing experience.

If your website technology doesn’t allow for responsive design, it’s time to start talking about an upgrade to a platform that does.  Otherwise, you’ll start to see a decline in engagement – customers now demand a great experience whether no matter where they are.

2. Minimalism:  Get Your Message Across, Quickly

Just like in fashion, web designers tend to go through a lot of fads – specifically color schemes and font choices. (Hint: cursive fonts are now the hot item; now that I’ve mentioned it to you, you’ll probably start seeing them everywhere.)

However, I’ve noticed as the design community has leaped  from font to font, color to color, designs are converging on a theme of minimalism.  Less colors, but more meaning behind each color choice.  Fewer crazy fonts and more judicious choice about those fonts.

Remember, the purpose of your website’s design is to support your brand and brand message.  That’s even more important these days, as many customers’ first interaction with your company is now often via your website.

My advice for you, with the web being so oversaturated (and consumers being over stimulated), is to think like you are Google’s famous ultra-lean homepage:  if you only had to pick a handful of things, what the priority?   More critically, what’s extra fluff that’s getting in the way of what is important?

3. Specialized Web Hosting:  Less Hassle, Worth the Extra Money

Web hosting has come a long way since I setup my first self-hosted domain back in 2004.  Even as of late, web hosting companies have had a reputation of lackluster customer service and user-unfriendly tools.  It was only a matter of time before we started to see specialization in the industry.   I use WordPress as my website’s platform, and recently have switched to WP-Engine and Zippykid – two examples of web hosts who have specialized in one specific platform.  It’s not just WordPress where this is happening – if you just want an ecommerce solution, you could go with something like Shopify.

Why pay more for a hosting that is specialized like this?  Many reasons, such as better customer service and more technical support, since everyone on the hosting team is an expert in your software platform.  These companies have optimized their infrastructure as well, which means a faster site, fewer viruses, and less downtime for you.  Switching hosting companies isn’t always easy, but I speak from experience when I say that it’s worth investigating.

Andy HayesAndy Hayes is a creative web producer based in sunny Portland, Oregon. He’s worked in usability testing labs, owned a hospitality and tourism marketing company, and now is focused on website optimization and content strategy.  When not delivering his famous website critiques, you’ll find him managing a team of collaborators on the lifestyle magazine  Plum Deluxe.


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  • http://marcusschaller.com Marcus Schaller

    I love that the minimalist approach to website design is becoming more popular.

    If someone were creating their first (minimalist) site design, specifically for a solopreneur or small business, what in your opinion would be the “must have” elements (ex. social media links, etc) that they should concentrate on?



    • Jay Baron

      Hey Marcus,

      I don’t think there are must have elements for any design project. It really comes down the goals and objectives of the business itself. For example social media links are irrelevant for a company that isn’t very social online. And let’s be honest most small businesses fail in the social department.

      It’s important to remember that small businesses have sales, marketing, communication, and branding problems not design challenges such as responsive or minimalist.

      These trends really have nothing to do with what makes a business successful online or creating an effective digital strategy. Although the article provides some great details on some web trends that are emerging.

      I hope this helps.


    • http://plumdeluxe.com andrewghayes

      Hi Marcus –

      Great question! You shouldn’t ask us – you should ask your customers, what’s most important to them?

      In most cases, though, I would typically say an about page, a services page, and a contact form pretty much is the ‘basics’ :-)


      • http://marcusschaller.com Marcus Schaller

        I’ve always been an advocate of the less is more approach to web design. One of the mistakes I often see new business owners/entrepreneurs etc make is copying “professional” web sites, including the cluttered link menus, meaningless stock photos and marketeze-filled About pages, starting of course with sentences like “we are a world leader in _____.”

        I’d much rather see someone starting a new business (without any customers to ask) follow your advice above than go the Fortune 500 clone-site route.

        Thanks for the article!

  • http://www.heromt.com/ Julie

    I try to save time when I’m out and about by using my phone for research, but I have difficulty reading on such a small screen. Some websites I can zoom in, and other’s I can’t. Will responsive designs fix that?

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      Hey Julie – that’s the idea – the design responds to the screen and moves and resizes things, including images, as need be – take a look at this blog on your mobile and you should see it in action.

    • http://plumdeluxe.com andrewghayes

      Yup, that’s right – exactly one of the things that responsive design should fix! :-)

  • Stacey Mathis

    In today’s market, in the lightening speed with which technology and social media are changing things, trends ARE the new normal, Andy.

    Regarding No. 1: This is why platforms like WordPress are so important. My newest copywriting client had this very issue. Her site was beautiful until you tried to see it on a mobile screen, which wiped away key sections of her messaging and design.

  • Joy Metzger

    How do I go about transforming my html website into WordPress? I also have a blog in google and would like to transform that too. Do I need to have it done professionally or is it something I can do? I do have some computer knowledge, but not coding.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      It’s not really that hard to do by hand if you don’t have that many pages – you can simple create copies of your pages by cutting and pasting most of the content – you can migrate the blogger blog content through some routines that are commonly available with a little research. The challenge will be retaining any search rankings that you currently have – this can be done with redirects, but that’s not as easy – and it might not be that big of a deal at this point.

  • http://www.callbox.com.sg/ Jayden Chu

    Investing in responsive web design and turning to minimalism is the way to go. More and more people are browsing through mobile devices. Creating a simple and responsive website grants effortless access to your site’s features regardless of the device they use. Minimalism and responsive websites have the potential to become more than just a trend. In time they will become a standard in web design.