Online and design trends to keep an eye on in 2020

2020 is here and with the new year comes new challenges in the form of the latest trends marketers and web developers need to keep up with. Let’s take a look:

 

  • Fake news is here to stay

 

Never has fake news had the platforms or ability to spread as fast as it does today. Think of all the strange yet “wonderful” or just downright horrible stories you’ve seen on your Facebook timeline this week alone. Be on the lookout for spammy, clickbait headlines and a URL or website that you’ve never heard of before. A reliable news source won’t post or be posting about the story. Cross-referencing is a must.

 

  • Accessibility is here

 

Web accessibility can be defined as ensuring all websites and web applications are usable by everyone, regards of their abilities. In the US, government or publicly funded websites, have to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is a legal requirement.

Microsoft hit the nail on the head: “100% of the population may experience temporary or situational disabilities. And the fact that none of us are getting any younger, and the older we get, the higher the chance we’ll experience a more or less permanent disability becomes’”.

 

  • Content is king

 

Does design or content come first? It’s becoming increasingly important that the message you’re trying to convey comes through clearly and web content is written properly. If copy isn’t written well, SEO may suffer and cause less traffic to your site, which in turn means less potential customers buying through your site or contacting your business.

 

  • AI and chatbots

 

Chatbots and AI to help resolve customer complaints and issues are becoming more popular. If you log onto most South African vehicle manufacturer websites, you’ll see that they all have a chat option available to assist potential and existing customers with complaints and queries, which reduces the massive influx of calls to call centre agents.

Which trends are you excited about? Tell us in the comments.

 

Tips for hiring a web developer

Hiring the right web developer that suits your brand is crucial as they are the ones who will create your brand’s persona online.

  1. Company culture

What do you value in employees as a company? Whatever characteristics make up your company’s DNA is what you need to look out for in a web developer. Hiring based on your company’s culture will also help you establish a stronger one, help employees to get on better and to work towards a common goal.

  1. Leave trivia at the door

During the interview, don’t ask the candidate questions about web development such as in which year a particular programming language was released. Trivia questions aren’t important, their abilities are.

  1. Small project, big results

It’s a good idea to give your chosen candidate a small project to assess their skills. Some individuals interview well but their skillset might not be up to scratch.

The small project will also provide some critical information such as how many errors came up in the final product, did they go above and beyond to finish the final product, how creative were they etc.

  1. New technologies

If you are in the digital or tech space, it is of cardinal importance to keep up, not only with trends, but with new technology as certain skills may become obsolete fairly quickly. Hire a web developer who can and is willing to learn about new techniques and technologies rather than someone who knows a particular technology well but can’t adapt when new versions or completely new ones emerge.

Be sure to ask questions like what new programming languages have they recently learnt or are excited about, what resources do they use to learn new tricks or do they attend tech conferences.

Elite Online Solutions makes use of all the above information and techniques when hiring and working with new web developers to help ensure your website is beautiful as well as flawless.

Get in touch with us today.

SEO basics you need to know

Organic web searches make up around one third of web traffic to company websites (Patel, 2019). To compete with that, you need to have the SEO basics down to ensure you also get a slice of the pie. We’re here to assist you with the basics, we’ll deal with the mind-boggling details and SEO best practices. 😉

  1. Links

Backlinking and adding links into your web copy is important because it sends a trust signal to Google to indicate that your website won’t download malware to visitors’ devices and you’re not busy with shady dealings. If you are making use of links, ensure you are linking to trustworthy sources such as case studies published on accredited academic sites.

  1. Fresh content

Your customers or readers and Google enjoy fresh content. If you’re not cranking out some new content or pieces for your site, the algorithms pick up on it and rank your site lower. Websites with blog tabs are a great way to ensure new content is uploaded regularly. Ensure long form articles are uploaded such as blog posts, as well as different types of content. Make sure your content calendar is varied.

  1. Headlines and meta-descriptions

Headlines and the meta-descriptions are the first thing people see when they search your site on Google or your site comes up in search results. Make your headlines catchy as this will encourage users to click on your site. However, be wary of click bait headlines. Google appreciates directness and creativity, but it is not fond of click bait. Remember to place your keywords close to the beginning of the headline as this will signal to Google that that is what your article, post or website is about.

  1. User experience

Google is always collecting information on how users act when they navigate your website. If the user experience is ranked poorly, search engines pick up on it and move your site down the search results. Other ways to ensure visitors stay longer:

  • Increate site speed
  • Keep the layout clear, clean and simple
  • Limit all ads
  1. Mobile

Mobile is here to stay, especially in South Africa with its 21-million internet users (Forbes, 2018). Your site needs to be mobile friendly and be geared for mobile use. Check if your site complies by entering the URL into Google’s mobile friendly test (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly). If your site fails, Google will tell you where the errors are and you can make the necessary changes.

Let’s discuss your SEO and website needs. Connect with us.

Have you outgrown your web hosting?

Web hosting has a lot of moving parts and all of them need to work together to deliver high quality, uninterrupted service. Much like a child outgrowing their shoes, your business can also outgrow its web hosting or web hosting service provider.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when considering changing service providers:

What’s the time?

The loading time that is. A slow website, especially an e-commerce website, is a major revenue killer. If during testing you notice your site’s response time is severely lacking, this could be a sign that your current hosting plan can’t keep up with traffic demands.

Reputation is important

If the server you are hosted on is detected sending spam or hosting malware, the chances are good that its IP address is going to get blacklisted. That’s awful news for your business as it can affect a range of factors from email deliverability and search ranking.

The price isn’t right

A hosting plan that is ill-suited for your website’s traffic requirements can be more expensive than one that provides the necessary functionalities. Keep an eye on your monthly bill and assess whether or not all your demands are being met.

Growing pains

If there are any indications that your company is about to go through a big growth spurt, you should have a hosting partner that can custom-build a solution for you.

There are plenty of web hosting companies that can’t keep up with the demands of growing websites or do not offer any meaningful solutions when it comes to scaling options.

Elite Online Solutions can assist you with your web hosting woes. Get in touch with us today for more information.

Influencer Marketing: Potential Pitfalls

Influencer marketing has taken the world by storm. With perfectly curated Instagram feeds, these girls (and guys) have taken over the digital space. The job title “YouTuber” or “social media star” didn’t exist a few years ago and many individuals with social media platforms are trying to cash in on this new phenomenon. If you’re considering incorporating influencer marketing into your digital marketing strategy, we have a few pointers so you get a return on investment by working with influencers with real audiences.

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