Website design and strategy is always changing and improving and 2019 will be no exception. The largest search engines are always tweaking their algorithms so you must keep up with those. Web designers are always on the cutting edge of the latest trends in web design, so a redesign in 2019 only makes sense. So what are the five most important aspects you should take care of when getting your website ready for 2019. We have them all laid out for you here, as well as help on how to make them happen.
1. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Friendly
As early as February of 2017, mobile devices were already used for 49.7% of web page views around the world. In January 2018, 3.7 billion unique users were browsing with mobile devices. Those numbers are expected to increase exponentially in 2019. Keep in mind, your site visitors are browsing on their phones and tablets while commuting in trains and on buses, in restaurants, on lunch breaks and even at the gym. While you may be sitting at your desk browsing your own site on your mammoth screen, that’s not going to be the experience of most of your site visitors. If your site isn’t already mobile friendly, make this a top priority in 2019. If it’s already technically mobile friendly, go through and see what improvements can be made. For instance, header videos are a no-no for mobile. They needlessly gobble up screen space as well as user data allotments. Avoid the use of pop-ups on mobile and carefully control how much dedicated ad space you allow for your mobile site version.
2. Make Sure Your Site Speed is Under Control
People’s attention spans are getting shorter, not longer. It’s more important than ever to make sure your site speed is under control. And don’t just worry about your landing page. All the pages on your site should load quickly. What’s a good page load speed? Experts say that most users expect a site to load in two or less seconds. Many users will give up if the site doesn’t load by then. You can check your site speed online to see how your pages are stacking up. Don’t forget to check each page individually.
What can you do if your site is too slow to load? Possibilities include:
- Upgrade your hosting plan
- Cut down on ads, especially video ads
- Compress images and files
From there, sit down with your web development team and prioritize what problems you want to knock out first and get a process in place to stay on top of site speed issues moving forward.
3. Make Sure Your Analytics is Implemented Correctly
Big data is the name of the game, now and in 2019 and beyond. If you’re letting people browse your site without collecting data about their behavior, you’re leaving valuable information on the table. Worse, you’re leaving information behind that your competitors will quickly pick up and use for their own gain. Google Analytics offers an abundance of statistics about your site and visitors behavior. But you need to have it setup correctly on your site from the back-end. If you don’t know how to do this, your website designer can do it for you. For one thing, it needs to be set up on each page that you want to track data for. Spend some time on the Google Analytics site, too, so you can really understand each piece of information and how you can use to it improve conversion rates. You can even check your web tracking code set up for free using Google’s help.
If you want some more in depth tips for 2019 and beyond, check out our blog post here.
4. Test Your Web Designs and Layouts
One of the biggest advantages of digital is being able to test—simultaneously if you want—different types of web designs and layouts. You can run A/B testing to see which version visitors most respond to. Get results of the test through tracking behavior with Google Analytics. If you want more personal insights into how visitors feel about your site, you can pay for anonymous users to test your website and give you feedback. All this is necessary because sometimes what looks good doesn’t work well. Just because a certain type of scrolling on a page looks cool doesn’t mean your site visitors will respond to it positively. When testing different web designs and layouts, consider elements such as:
- Fonts and font sizes
- Ease of navigation
- Natural, intuitive navigation
- Easy check-out/payment processes
5. Secure Your Site
If you haven’t already, invest in an SSL certificate for your site. Google is now prominently identifying sites that don’t have the SSL certificate, when they load. This warning sign can be a real turn off for site visitors even if you aren’t collecting online payments. Remember, not only are you responsible for safeguarding your visitors’ financial information. You are also responsible for keeping their personal identifiers - names, email addresses, phone numbers - safe from hackers or other unauthorized users. The small investment in an SSL certificate is worth it, if only to assure your visitors that you take their privacy seriously. In the future, one could envision Google penalizing sites without the SSL certificate, so it makes sense on that level, too. Your hosting provider can provide you with an SSL certificate for free or for a nominal charge.
Finally, don’t wait until the new year rings in to get busy getting your website ready for 2019. The time to take action is now, before the holidays are in full swing. The sooner you prepare your website for 2019, the sooner you can focus your attention on building and growing your business for profitability in the new year ahead.