a young PSG at tandy trs-80 circ mid-1980s

Should you care about web design trends?

By late January you’re jaded from hearing all the latest trend reports with long lists of the things you suddenly need to change so your business is successful this year. You like your technology, why should you care what’s making the news as trendy?

Even if you aren’t planning a complete overhaul of your web presence it is beneficial to be aware of the changes in technology. You don’t always need to make vast changes to your site. Small incremental changes can provide large impact and help you prepare for a larger project should you decide your site requires it.

Why many slight modifications? When properly implemented they are less disruptive to you, your customers, and your business. A small tweak to your site can help your website visitors have the best experiences possible without for you to make large disruptive modifications. As a small business owner, these sorts of changes, also known as kaizen, are often less expensive–both in budget dollars and required implementation time –and can quickly provide a return on your investment helping you to save for a bigger project down the road.

What are three trends I suggest small business owners implement in the coming weeks and months?

Create your own business image library.

A standard stock image can be better than no stock image but they can come across as flat an insincere. A library of your own stock images will help make your site and all your marketing stand out. Once you’ve created this corpus phase in the images to your site!

How can you do this? If you’re confident with a camera, go for it (hint: take lots and delete all the bad ones).

Here’s where I confess I rely on a stock photo as the landing image for my new pen at work project. That was a difficult choice I needed to make in order to get the project launched. I use my own photography, even if quite imperfect, elsewhere on the site as I work toward building my own image collection.

Are you overwhelmed by the chaos in your digital media? Please let me know what’s causing you to trip up. I’m organizing materials for an upcoming post/series/workshop on managing digital clutter.

Ditch the carousel.

Yes, this is quite specific! A few years ago carousels were the hot feature and everyone wanted them. It turns out they aren’t so great and can cause a long list of issues both for your website and for retaining and engaging your visitors. With a well-coded site, it should be a modular component that is straightforward to change.

What could you replace it with? If you’re stuck for ideas, start with content of your best slide. It’s your loudest call to action, and why it’s also often known as the hero image! By given your site visitors a clear goal, it’s probable you’ll see higher interaction.

Rethink popups.

I know, you want to increase subscriptions for your newsletter. If you believe that without a popup no one will know you have one, please make it both easy on the eyes with concise text and configured so it doesn’t open immediately. Most popup settings (such as in Mailchimp) allow you to configure that it will wait to display until the user has scrolled a large portion of the site or even intends to exit.

Keep it clear and to the point. All you really need to capture is email address. In your subscription confirmation message you can ask for additional subscription information.

Other shifts in web and server technologies may require more significant investment for implementation. These three are small changes I think are accessible to most small businesses. There are numerous trends out there, and most are just that, design trends. If that type of innovation is what your customer expects from your company, then you should be out in the forefront. However, with small tweaks such as the ones suggested here you can show that your website is an evolving and growing part of your business.