A Mid-Year Check-In

Author: Steven Riggs

As we’re approaching July, we invite you to join us in a mid-year check-in with our Website Development Director Bryan Klugh to discover what trends are happening in the web design space and to discuss how digital analytics continue to drive design decisions.

What’s Hot? One-Page Websites

Increasingly popular for personality positioning, brand campaigns, and single product advertising, these websites keep it simple, direct, and clear. Perfect for promoting a podcast or blog, for announcing and documenting milestone events, or for securing new service subscribers or product sales, these web pages provide target audiences with the relevant details they need on a specific subject or topic and have one objective or call-to-action (buy now, download, sign up, etc.).

As Webflow’s Director of Content Mischa Vaughn explains, “Sometimes the most effective site is the least complex one. We have seen the increasing popularity of the one-page website that forgoes menus and navigation in favor of simple scroll navigation. One-page sites work best when their subject matter is narrower, like a portfolio or the presentation of a single idea.”

While these sites simplify the user experience, one-page websites are not a fit for all. “I don’t suggest one-page websites for companies but rather for specific brand campaigns, single product advertising, or as landing pages to sell a specific service. Single-page sites should never replace a company site as they will never have the search engine optimization (SEO) power of detailed content pages,” Bryan notes. “That said, one-page sites are effective when creating detailed paid advertising and social media landing pages. The single-page site communicates everything the user needs to know in order to sign up for the free trial and move to the next sales stage. Product launches can benefit greatly from single page sites built around a single product as the user is locked into that product, preventing attrition.”

It’s More than Motion that Increases Engagement

As we shared in last month’s blog, video marketing is here to stay. Why, because motion increases engagement. When discussing web design trends, the digital experts at Blue Compass note “Using a video on your website homepage is one of the best web design trends for 2022.”

Bryan clarifies that “it’s not motion for the sake of motion, but interactive content that increases engagement. I have worked with many sites over the years that have a ton of motion, animation and flashy graphics and they never convert as well as sites that clearly define a value proposition and lead the user to a call-to-action. This is where video can be a huge asset! Video allows clients to communicate that value proposition quickly without a ton of scrolling and reading. Content (not motion) is still king and video is one of the greatest content assets we have!”

Analytics Continue to Tell the Content Story

Since content is king, what you say still heavily influences whether your messages will reach your intended audiences. Bay Leaf Digital’s analysts stress the importance of knowing what content attracts your target audience. “For context of content, we mean the types of content fit for your target audience. If people are bouncing off your content pages, they’re probably not finding what they want. If, on the other hand, visitors are constantly reading and engaging with your content, then your type of content is fit for your target audience. So, producing content that is relevant is key to getting the context right.”

Doing audience research upfront to fully understand what keywords to include on your website is essential to the success of your content strategy. You then need to:

  • collect the data (e.g., time stamp, query terms, and referral URL),
  • process the data (e.g., time on page, bounce rate, and unique visitors), and
  • develop your key performance indicators (e.g., conversion rate, average order, value, and task completion rate), in order to
  • formulate your online strategy — what it is you’re trying to achieve in the first place (e.g., make money, save money, grow market share).

AI Multiple founder Cem Dilmegani explains that “modern web analytics tools have stronger capabilities now and they are regulated more stringently. Web analytics enables companies to prioritize their actions to improve their online and offline sales.”

Website analytics tell a valuable story, including what devices their customers are using to search for products and services, or how they navigate to find them. Bryan notes that “clients are often surprised by the data such as what pages get traffic. They have preconceived ideas of the customer experience. The data provides direction for pivot decisions on where best to focus your marketing efforts.”

Think Digital Analytics, not just Website Analytics

As most companies, organizations, and entities use numerous online sources such as websites, mobile apps, social media and more, one needs to think broader than website analytics and pay attention to digital analytics. Solomiia Bodnar, Creative Writer at OWOX BI, notes that digital analytics “provides you an overview of various processes in your business. It’s difficult to build or improve an efficient marketing strategy without full and reliable data.”

Is Accessibility Still a Factor?

More and more is being written about the need to ensure accessibility in website design. Amrdeep Athwal, an optimization consultant at Conversions Matter LTC notes that adding chat features for those with auditory impairment, using color contrast appropriately, and using simpler language are ways to improve the online experience for those with disabilities. “Everything we do is driven by standards and, at this time, there’s really no definition of an ADA-compliant website,” notes Bryan. “With most websites now built to be mobile-responsive, with following the Google legibility standards, and with added accessibility tools available for those who need them, I think this issue is really resolving itself.”

No Cookies for You? Not Anytime Soon!

Cookies feed marketers’ insatiable need for data, helping them learn more about customers’ habits and desires in an effort to improve online experiences. As this Norton Life Lock article explains, cookies are also viewed as invasive. “When you visit any website, it will store at least one cookie — a first-party cookie — on your browser. This cookie remembers your basic activity on the site and doesn’t track your information when you visit other sites. Many sites, though, store third-party cookies on your browser, too. These cookies allow social media companies, advertisers, and other website operators to track your browsing and online activity at other sites. If you want to boost your online privacy, it makes sense to block these third-party cookies.”

Google offers personal controls to limit cookies that build your personal profile. You can opt out, delist, and even consider searching on competitive search engines such as Duck-Duck-Go. But even these trackless search engines sell data and ad space to others who may track users.

Privacy concerns are driving the push to delete cookies from our digital diets, which has marketers concerned and looking for alternative means to harvest the valuable data they provide. Marketing Dive reporter Chris Kelly noted that “six in ten ad industry professionals said that preparing for the cookie-less future was either their top (8%) or among their top priorities (52%), with 18% planning to deal with the issue in 2022 and only 4% waiting until Google deprecates third-party cookies in 2023, per a 2022 North America Quantcast State-of-the-Industry Report that surveyed more than 600 advertising and publishing professionals.”

Finding alternative cookie-less techniques has its challenges. “In my estimation, the cookie-less future is still a ways off,” notes Bryan. “I have experimented with in-marketing audiences and topics but they are never very accurate and conversion rates suffered as a result. Right now, social media is better at harvesting data to target audience habits and behaviors without the use of cookies. AI will get there, but we’re not there yet.”