With 2020 around the corner, how can you check if your website is up to par? In this article, several trends in website design and digital marketing will be discussed to help you gauge whether your website is giving your business the return it should. Besides design trends, advice on web performance metrics and trends in search engines (like Google) are offered.

Visual / Content Trends

Clean-lines and simple designs are still being used across several industries, but the use of shapes in web designs will be used more in 2020. From a design perspective, this will help draw a consumer’s attention, as it is unexpected and differentiates the brand, given typical design aesthetics we are used to seeing. In 2020, a rise in animated content, bold colors and fonts, and video will dominate website marketing trends.

Bold Colors & Serif Fonts

Bold colors are on the palette for 2020: offering marketers a way to brand their company in a way that sticks out to consumers.

Large, chunky fonts seen in decades past are resurfacing, providing a way for marketers to differentiate themselves and their brand. Serifs, or decorative stroke that finishes off a letter, are trending upwards in web marketing. As screen resolutions rise across mobile devices and desktop screens, serif fonts are becoming more popular. Sans-serif (no serifs) fonts were the trend of years past when screen resolutions were not as high, and these fonts looked better on lower-resolution displays (making them cleaner and easier to read).

Animation / 3D View

Animations on your homepage create visual interest that can attract and engage consumers. Besides the resurgence of animated gifs, 2020 will see micro-animations continue to grow in importance: especially for e-commerce websites and the fashion and décor industries. For example, consumers may want to see a 360 degree view of clothing, jewelry, or home décor. Consumers want to see the entire look of a piece they are buying. Augmented reality apps are on the rise, allowing users to visually see paint colors, furniture or other items placed in their home by overlaying the product using a smartphone and its camera.

Raising Engagement with Video

We know that everyone’s attention span is directed towards animated visuals and video, as animation is a great way to capture attention. Videos provide a source of information and guidance that lead to higher conversion when done appropriately. Video content needs to be part of your marketing strategy in order to capture consumer’s attention, while providing rich, engaging content. Typically, less than one-minute videos are recommended across both website and social channels to get a message across efficiently.

Security and Performance Metrics

Data Security

Google Chrome, the most-used browser, will notify users when a website is not secured with an SSL certificate. In 2020, these requirements will continue to tighten, notifying users when they visit a website that is not fully secured. Just having an SSL certificate is no longer enough – all resources on a web page (images, form data, etc.) need to be transmitted securely in order to pass muster. Fully encrypting data using SSL will provide users the best, most secure experience: ensuring that sensitive data is transmitted securely between the browser and web server.

If you have a website or plan to launch one in 2020, be sure that every page on your website is secured using SSL. Not securing your website will not only negatively impact the user experience, but will also lower search rankings for the website. In this day and age, consumers are concerned about privacy issues. Maintaining a secure site is important so that consumers feel that they can browse and purchase items from your site without compromising their privacy. According to CA Technologies, 86% of those surveyed value security over convenience when purchasing a product. 78% of those interviewed felt that high security of their personal information was of primary concern. Privacy is a requirement for customer loyalty: making security of critical importance.

Mobile-First Design

Mobile visitors have already surpassed desktop visitors across the web, making it even more important for your website to be responsive: available to users on both platforms. Responsive design allows content to scale and lay-out differently based upon the size of the screen in which the content is being viewed. This trend towards mobile will continue in 2020, making a mobile-optimized website a necessity.

Website Performance / Speed

These two items are the most important when it comes to SEO, page ranking and usability. Research provided by Google earlier this year outlined that sites that appear on page one of Google display their primary content in 1.19 seconds on average, while those on page two display primary content in 1.29 seconds.

Some tools that can help you gauge your website speed are Website Grader by HubSpot (shown above), Google PageSpeed Insights, and Pingdom Website Speed Test.

Search Trends

As previously mentioned, website speed is important not only for the user experience, but also for search rankings. Besides page speed, voice search and a trend towards user-friendly content will be seen in 2020 as search algorithms are better able to process human language.

Voice Search

Voice Search will see an increased share of search queries on search engines such as Google. With the increased usage of bots and intelligent devices in the home, people will use technologies like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant to look up information. This preference will raise the rates of search queries using more natural language, as opposed to keywords. For example, a traditional search for “Chicago weather” might be replaced with “What is the current weather in Chicago?”, and could yield different search results depending on the algorithm and website SEO.

ComScore put out a study in 2019 that half of all online searches will be voice-based by 2020. Anticipate that Google will be changing with the times and changing their search algorithms, which will impact your search campaign strategies that you go to market with today.

Search Algorithm Changes

Google search algorithm changes can have a major impact on the SEO of websites, and the ranking achieved on Google. In the past, websites would focus on adding as many keywords as possible (for example, listing towns in a page footer) to attract as much traffic as possible. However, Google search algorithms are getting better and better at ‘reading’ content in a fashion similar to users, and interpreting what your content actually says. This reinforces good copywriting practices, and creates a better user experience (UX) for your users.

Conclusion

With a new decade upon us, 2020 will see the rise of new technologies and a continuation of some existing trends within digital marketing. Unfortunately, the days are gone where a sole webmaster can handle the wide variety of expertise involved in creating a well-designed website. A combination of overlapping skills is required: in addition to programming, graphic design, SEO, security, social media marketing, content writing and user-experience expertise is needed.

To gauge how your website currently measures up, a great way to measure its effectiveness is to request a free usability analysis from CueCamp. This report is in video form, generated by CueCamp’s team of experts to show the user-friendliness and marketing effectiveness of your website. Start out 2020 on the right foot, and reach out today.

Authors: Shannon Olear (Director Business Development, CueCamp); Matt Sharritt, Ph.D. (Co-founder, CueCamp)