Websites play a huge role for most businesses nowadays. That’s especially the case for small businesses, who rely on their site to sell their products, advertise their services and generate leads. The question is – in this fast-paced digital age, how can you keep your site on point for visitors?

Read on as we take a look at 8 web design trends your small business should check out this year…

1. Bright and bold

Over the past decade or so, there’s been a predomination of neutral, minimalist design in websites. This is particularly the case for colours, with greys and pastel colours used as a backdrop for content. 2018 is the time for change.

Designers are beginning to favour bolder, brighter colours which jump from the screen – and it’s time your small business does too. Small businesses face so much competition to establish themselves in their industry and vibrant colours can be a useful way to stand out.

Not only that, but colours can say so much about your business. A study of the world’s top brands and consumer reactions found that different colours each have their own associated attributes:

  • Red – Energetic, provocative
  • Purple – Sophistication, mystery
  • Blue – Trustworthy, secure
  • Green – Health, serenity
  • Yellow – Positivity, creativity
  • Orange – Vitality, playful
  • Brown – Natural, simplistic
  • Black – Value, timelessness
  • White – Pure, soft

Which colour is the best match for your brand’s values?

2. Animations and videos

Animations give off a professional impression to visitors. They show that your website – and your business – has that something extra. But they’re also a useful tool for your site. Animations or videos can be used to explain your services, boast the features of a product, or just talk welcome visitors to your site in a more interesting way.

And they’re a great way to engage visitors, keeping them on your website and improving its rankings on search engines. As long as your animation is good enough quality on all browsers and devices, it will increase visitor stay time and benefit your website’s long-term success.

3. Quick load time

While it’s not a trend as such, quick load time has become more essential in 2018 than ever before. On mobile, for instance, 53% of visits are abandoned if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load.

That’s over half of potential leads, purchases or just enquiries gone in an instant – or three seconds to be more precise. It’s also bad for search engine rankings. With such a high bounce rate and low on-page time, search engines aren’t going to be impressed.

4. Consistent branding

In an increasingly competitive market, businesses need a strong presence both online and offline to succeed. That means creating physical marketing material alongside a well-designed website.

Unfortunately, some companies treat their physical presence as a separate entity to online branding. The result – a hotchpotch of mismatched branding styles.

From the logo and content to the colours, font and layout, your business cards, brochures and display stands should match your website. This way, you can display a professional consistency that attracts clients and shows off your business in the best way possible.

5. Chatbots

No – the robots aren’t taking over. And you don’t need to run a mile. Chatbots are simply a piece of interactive software which behaves like a human and interacts with visitors or customers on your site. According to a survey by Oracle, 80% of businesses plan to use chatbots by 2020.

So, what’s the big deal? In short, they allow you to engage with customers without the need for extra staff. Chatbots also provide 24/7 responses where it simply wouldn’t be possible for a member of your team.

The result? More business and better customer satisfaction. Ideal for any small business with limited time but big ambitions.

6. Inclusivity

Another thing to consider in your web design is inclusivity. There are more than a billion people worldwide with disabilities who face barriers in everyday life. Websites aren’t an exception to this, with inclusive web design firmly on the 2018 agenda. This is simply considering all users to your site and making it accessible for everyone.

Here are a few ways to make sites more inclusive:

  • Keep content clear with simple, straightforward language
  • Make your site simple to navigate, with clear menus and contact information
  • Include alternative text options on videos and captions on images
  • Make content easily visible with contrasting colours for text compared to backgrounds
  • Keep links large enough or increase the clickable range

7. Asymmetric layouts

For years, web design has been all about perfection. Clean blocks of text with boxed images and linear headings. In 2018, this norm is being broken by some businesses. And it’s a superb way to stand out from the competition, when used in the right way. Carefully misaligned titles or background colours can give off a sense of innovation – like consumers are getting something new. Just take a look at Spotify’s launch of their 2015 Year in Music.

8. Interactivity

With an ever-shortening consumer attention span, modern websites need to engage and immerse visitors. The solution? Make your website interactive. Rather than being confined to one specific feature, interactivity can be achieved in a number of ways. It could be something as simple as content, which poses questions to the visitor, comments sections which allow users to discuss products, or live chat to improve the user experience.

On a more complex level, sites can be transformed into immersive, interactive experiences. Users are presented with an illustrated or animated journey to explain the brand, product, service or cause. By requiring visitors to click through or scroll through, this kind of website is keeps them engaged.

Stay ahead of the pack

Cutting edge web design is essential for modern businesses. That’s exactly what we provide at Nettl Bury. Our websites are fast, attractive and responsive with a liquid layout. But what sets us apart is our personal approach to your website. We get to know your business, your goals and your audience, so we can create a website that’s true to your brand. Contact us today to talk more about your project.