The internet, by its nature, will never stop changing. It’s an amorphous collection of sites that changes every day. If you can count on anything, you can count on the internet’s evolution.
Things change so quickly, though, that many website developers and entrepreneurs have difficulty keeping up with the trends. You can update your site quickly by following these four tips. You never know what people will expect a couple of years from now, but you have to keep up, or you risk losing traffic and sales.
Use More Videos and Images
The internet started as a text-based project, but developers have incorporated more videos and images into their websites. Mary Meeker, a prominent trends researcher, believes that within five years, 50 percent of internet searches will rely on images or speech. Her research also shows that more people are sharing videos through social media sites.
This trend toward visual elements should shape the way you think about future website designs. While you still need high-quality text that engages readers, you should consider adding more visuals.
Integrate Social Media Into Customer Service
If you’re over 40, you probably think of customer service as something that happens on the phone or via email. That’s how most companies have addressed customer service issues over the past couple of decades.
Today, you need to think about incorporating social media into the customer service experience. About 43 percent of customers say they expect to see social channels integrated into other customer service channels. Considering that only 26 percent of companies see social media as a serious tool for communicating with customers, a lot of people are probably disappointed with the services they get.
You can move ahead of competitors by integrating social media into your customer service as soon as possible. Directing website visitors to your company’s social media profiles is one of the easiest options. If you want to really stand out, integrate all tools (live chat, email, Facebook, etc.) so that your employees can provide seamless services to customers.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices
Smartphone ownership has exploded over the past few years. In 2011, about half of adults between 18 and 29 years old owned smartphones. By 2015, 86 percent of them did. As smartphone manufacturers celebrate, you need to start revamping your website so people visiting it with their mobile devices have positive experiences.
It doesn’t take much work to optimize some websites for mobile users. If you have a simple site, your platform may even automatically optimize it for smartphones. Offering a website with several menus, articles, videos, and other elements, though, can take more effort.
After you optimize your site, test it on multiple devices to make sure your approach worked well. Compare your site’s usefulness on a desktop computer to its usefulness on a smartphone. You’ll want to choose a smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S6, since it has a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display that will help you scrutinize every aspect of your site.
Personalize the Experience for Each User
The internet is huge, but each person wants to believe that he or she owns a little piece of it. Companies like Google helped create this illusion by keeping members signed into their accounts. After you sign into your Gmail account, every Google application tries to personalize itself to your needs. For instance, searches will focus on places near you, and the weather app will automatically assume you want updates for your city.
Now that people have gotten used to a personalized internet, you need to make sure your site meets that expectation in every way possible. That may mean something as simple as displaying a “Welcome back!” message for returning visitors, or it could mean analyzing a visitor’s buying preferences to suggest tempting products.
No matter how you go about it, tomorrow’s internet users will expect some level of personalization, especially from sites they use frequently. However, when it comes to the internet, there’s always more to learn. Make sure that you keep up with the latest changes, keeping your site from looking outdated and untrustworthy.
Image via Flickr by sridgway