Small Business Web Design Trends to Look Out For in 2018


Small Business Web Design Trends to Look Out For in 2018

75% of web users make a judgment about a company’s credibility based on their site’s design.

Yes—you read that right—a company’s credibility. No matter how friendly, honest, or service-oriented you are in real life, if a potential customer discovers you online and has a negative first impression based on the design of your site, you’re already at a disadvantage.

This isn’t a made up statistic either. It’s pulled directly from Stanford University’s Guidelines for Web Credibility. That’s a great resource by the way, hence why you’ll see a lot of parallels from their recommendations in our work here at Design Ninjaz.

75% of web users make a judgment about a company’s credibility based on their site’s design. Source: Stanford University. (Yes, really.) Click To Tweet

We’ve known for a long time that good-looking and functional websites give customers a more positive impression of your business, both in the B2C and B2B spheres. But now that we’re already a few days into 2018, what web design trends should small businesses be aware of?

With the rapid development of technology and the ways that people use the internet continually evolving, getting a handle on these trends can help you stay one step ahead of your competition.

Let’s take a look at what the new year has in store for us:

Readable, Minimalistic Designs

Our team of Ninjaz predicts that 2018 is going to be the year of “less is more” in a big way.

You may recall seeing plenty of very “busy” websites during the first decade of the 2000s, packed to the gills with information, popups, and a variety of other wholly unnecessary attention-grabbers. In many situations this was simply a case of overzealous web developers flexing their design muscles to show off the new and interesting capabilities more modern browsers and design techniques afforded, but it was often at the expense of the user.

The past few years has seen a large push toward usability and design cleanliness. Calls to action (CTAs) tend to be more strategically placed and are significantly less intrusive, color schemes are more appealing, and auto-playing audio is a thing of the past… thank goodness. The “grandma rule” of design is very much in effect (“Can my grandma successfully navigate this website?”).

For these reasons and more minimal web design has been growing in popularity, and not just for its clean aesthetics—in 2018 it’s largely in part due to the continued proliferation of mobile devices like cell phones and tablet computers.

Minimally themed site designs tend to look better on devices with smaller screen real estate. Larger fonts that focus on readability over flair are also likely to grow in popularity for this reason.

When more than half of your potential customers are discovering you using their mobile devices, you want that ever-important first impression to be just as good as if they were sitting at home on a desktop or laptop computer.

Speaking of mobile web development…

Mobile Isn’t Going Anywhere, But it is Evolving

Mobile web development has been a hot topic for several years now, and that won’t change in 2018. Aside from increasingly mobile-friendly site design, a handful of other not-less-impactful trends which are likely to see more focus this year are:

  • Custom apps. App development is becoming more affordable, so for those industries where it makes sense, custom apps (even simple customer loyalty or rewards-based apps) will become more common. This will be in large part because of the many benefits of…
  • Push notifications. Competition for the notification space (sometimes called the notification layer) will likely increase in 2018 as more businesses recognize how effective it is.
  • Customization based on geolocation. Customizing a user’s experience on a website based on their geographical location will become more common, especially for businesses with multiple locations or location-dependent services.

For some small businesses these features could really shake things up, e.g., sending a push notification to alert users of special deals or discounts.

In addition to these features, Google and other search engines are likely to continue to penalize non-mobile-friendly websites in their results pages. Even if you don’t care about things like push notifications or geolocation features, the SEO benefits of having a mobile-friendly website are more than enough to make the effort worthwhile.

In 2018, having a mobile-friendly website will practically be a requirement for anyone hoping to hit the first page of Google.

WordPress Will Likely Increase Market Share as the Top CMS

In 2018, king of the Content Management Systems (CMS) WordPress will almost certainly continue its upward climb in overall web market share. Estimates vary (as it’s a difficult thing to track), but experts believe that over 25% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress.

Faster-loading designs, better backend development, and more useful plugins are almost certainly being created as we speak. Above we discussed at length the importance of having a mobile-friendly online presence. WordPress is a strong platform to build responsive websites, meaning that they work and look great on both traditional desktop computers as well as mobile devices.

In 2018, WordPress development for mobile will become even easier, even for those with limited web design experience. Drag and drop development tools get better and better every year. As a web development firm, we predict that clients with the desire to do so will have an easier time managing and customizing their own sites after we’ve finished designing them (even though we’ll always be there to help).

WordPress is the most ubiquitous CMS for a reason—it’s the best. But just like any tool, it has to be maintained. Let a Ninja do it.

Further Integration With Social Media

We say “integration” here, but perhaps a better way to think of it would be a further blurring of the lines between website and social media. Users want to be able to visit a website to learn about your small business, but they’ll also be flabbergasted if they can’t find you on other venues like Facebook, Twitter, and even other platforms like Instagram.

Small businesses wise enough to get their ducks in a row insofar as social media is concerned will have a distinct advantage over their competitors in 2018. The name of the game is availability—you want to be found where your potential customers are hanging out online, and for an ever-increasing number of internet users, that means social media.

Since new social media platforms seem to take the world by storm more and more often, businesses will have to begin deciding which platforms are relevant to their target audience and which ones aren’t.

For example, SnapChat is one of the fastest growing social media apps, but it wasn’t until 2017 that businesses really started to take notice. Watching these trends in 2018 and following your audience to whatever the next “big thing” is will help small businesses get an edge.

Success on social media isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds, especially when you have the right help.

Improved Security Measures Become a Focus

Will 2017 be remembered as the year of the data breach?

The Equifax hack compromised nearly 150 million Americans. Last year we also learned that Yahoo had previously had three billion accounts compromised.

(Yes, billion-with-a-B.)

These incidents, alongside the many other data breaches and cyberattacks like the infamous WannaCry ransomware that infected hundreds of thousands of computers in dozens of countries, have put cybersecurity at the forefront of many American minds.

This is a marked change from even just a few years ago, when consumers weren’t quite as concerned about what security measures were taken by the companies they did business with. Small business websites that sell products, offer membership account creation services, or require any kind of personal information to be transferred electronically would be wise to step back and fully access their online security.

Improved security measures will be increasingly important in 2018, especially for companies that engage in any kind of eCommerce or online selling. Even non-technologically savvy consumers now have a greater understanding of the potential ramifications of putting their personal data in the wrong hands, and businesses will have to put in some additional elbow grease to make them feel comfortable.

Stay Relevant in 2018 With the Help of a Ninja

Are you a small business owner?

Is this the year that you’re finally ready to get serious about leveraging your online presence to grow your business?

That’s pretty much what we’re all about here at Design Ninjaz—helping you grow your business. We go the extra mile to develop a close working relationship with our clients because we’re genuinely interested in learning about what makes your business tick. The more we know, the easier it’ll be for our team of Ninjaz to help you discover the most effective way to connect with your target audience in 2018 and beyond.

Get in touch with us today to start the new year off right.

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