Even since 2016 began, we’ve seen some trends that continue to ring true. In this age of forward-thinking integrated marketing and top-of-the-line digital marketing, we need to stay on top of the latest trends. That’s not to say that we should follow the herd. What we need to do is stay ahead of the curve. Here are some website design trends for 2016 hat you can utilize to accomplish that, while staying true to your brand and mission.

Mobile First

Mobile first - 2016 website design trend

First on the list of website design trends for 2016 is mobile websites. Mobile technology has blown up in the past few years, making it nearly impossible to succeed without integrating a mobile website into your marketing strategy. In fact, 2016 is a tipping point for mobile! There are now 3.65 billion unique global users, with 1.91 million of these users having smartphones. These numbers are only expected to rise! What does all of that mean? It means that you have to embrace mobile technology and have a high quality mobile website for your business if you want to stay ahead of the game.

Videos vs. Sliders

With the ever-evolving and eye-glazing technology of our devices, we have developed incredibly short attention spans. If you can’t grab and keep your user’s experience within the first few seconds of them landing on your website, you are SOL (straight outta luck). Because of this, sliders can be the bane of your website’s existence. Sliders are essentially the rotation of photos or images that scroll across the screen. One of the biggest drawbacks of sliders is timing: too fast and your customer gets lost; too slow and your customer gets bored. Regardless, if you lose your user before they’ve had a chance to explore your website, you’ve lost out on business. And when it comes down to it, the click-through rate on sliders is extremely low: 1% according to a Notre Dame study. It is clear why Video use made its place on our website design trends for 2016.

Videos, on the other hand, are central to grabbing your audience’s attention. Not only do they accomplish that, videos can inform, inspire, and delight your customers. In short videos, you can easily and clearly relay information about your products or company. By having videos in the prime real estate above the fold, you can capture the user and keep the finger off that “back” button. The Ad Company’s home page is a good example of incorporating videos into a website.

Native CTA

Number three on our list of website design trends for 2016 – CTA’s. Calls to actions (CTA’s) are a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. CTA’s are used to direct website visitors to the goal of converting them into a lead. Native CTA’s are placed within the web page in places that interrupt the reader’s natural progression of your website. This serves to grab attention and prompt the reader

Native CTA - 2016 website design trend

to take a specific action: fill out a form, make a phone call, download an ebook or whatever action applies to your website. Images can also play a large role in successful CTA’s. Images with a strong “hook” can be a great way to move a visitor to take that specific action.

You can have all the services and products you can dream up, but if people can’t find where to get it, there is virtually no point. A stand-alone CTA can get clicks, that is true. However, it’s important to incorporate a CTA into your website’s content. Not only does this help give your user a chance to see your product in context, helps your SEO, too. For example, your flagship product is bracelets made by poor women in Africa that lets them earn a living. Not only can you put a link to that exact product within the text, you can also take advantage of the opportunity to talk about your product in detail.

In our example of the bracelets, you could talk about why you are so passionate about poverty in Africa, and you can use that part of the text to use juicy keywords that will bring new users to your site when they search for socially conscious companies who happen to make jewelry.

Incorporating CTA’s into your website design is a powerful way to get quality leads. A customized CTA is more interesting than a simple, generic CTA such as “call for more information.” With a custom CTA, you can lead the visitor to a specific place, like a product or service that is of interest to them.

Images, Images, and More Images!

Everyone knows that images are what makes websites and content interesting. So it is not surprising website images have made it to our list of website design trends for 2016. What people often don’t think about is the images themselves.

Lots of images - 2016 website design trend

Here are some things to remember:

  • Stop using the same image that everyone else is using for that particular type of content. A Google Image search for “kittens” brings up a gazillion photos, the most popular on top. Dig deeper into the available images, whether that be on a search engine or stock photo site.
  • Make the image your own! If you are using royalty-free images with license to edit, take a little time to tweak the image. Put text on the photos relevant to your content, for example.
  • Be creative and think outside the box! The image you choose doesn’t necessarily have to relate to your content. As long as it grabs the user’s attention, the image has done its job.

And, a bonus tip:

  • Stealing others’ photos and passing them off as your own is a big NO-NO, and can result in icky legal issues and fines. You must make sure the photo you are looking to use is approved for commercial use and follow the instructions for citing the owner of the photo.

The Trend that Always Stays: User Experience

User experience - forever website trendUser experience, in our opinion, is the most important aspect of a website. The website has to provide value to the user. However, if your website makes it difficult or annoying to find your product, service or information, you’ve lost your user and the function of your website.
First, consider your website’s navigation. Keep your headers, footers and sidebars clear and easy to navigate. Also ensure that your layout is pleasing to the eye AND functional. If your sidebar is pushing other relevant content below the fold, for example, you need to rethink your layout. Lastly, content. CONTENT IS KING, they say. It may be cheesy, but it’s also true. If you have crappy content that is written just to fill the page, your user is going to pick up on that right away. Keep your content relevant, concise and interesting.

Wrapping Up…

In today’s technology-centric world, we need to find new and exciting ways to keep our audience’s attention. The balance between all of this is the challenge of true to your brand while “keeping up with the times.” These website design trends for 2016 tips will help you stay ahead of the curve, and most importantly, help you grow your business.