These days everyone has a website: Nicki Minaj, Obama, lady selling jackets at the corner, the society of “we wear socks on our arms”… I mean: everyone. In the later years, a lot of services have emerged that help not just the stars, but all of us to easily create and deploy personal websites, so both a 6-year-old as well as a 84-year-old can start their personal piece of mind on the web for everyone else to see – in seconds.
But what makes a good personal website? It’s actually much more complex than you might imagine. Combining psychology, web design, marketing, programming and much more is just part of the process. You wouldn’t believe what it takes to get 100,000 visits to your personal website a day. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars to make their sites more “likeable”, more hip, more popular. Likeable. Tweetable. Shareable.
You might ask yourself then what would it take to make your personal website stand out in this sea of Arnold Schwarzenegger buffed up, thousands of dollars websites?
Here are the trends you need to follow to make your personal website great – in 2016!
Email is Back, Baby! Yeah!
According to a 2015 study of 2,057 American consumers on how users want to communicate by MarketingSherpa, customers want email. When asked ”In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you?,” 72% of consumers chose email, by far the most popular response. Postal mail was a distant second with 48% of respondents.
Here’s what you need to know about email in 2016:
- It’s effective: Email marketing is nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. (report by McKinsey management firm 2014)
- It pays off: Email marketing yields an average 4,300 percent return on investment for businesses in the United States. (Direct Marketing Association)
- Four out of five (81 percent) U.S. digital shoppers say they’re at least somewhat likely to make additional purchases due to targeted emails. (Harris Interactive).
But Millenials Hate Email, Right?
Well, no. Millenials love email!
And, representing about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power and influence over older generations, millennials are everyone’s most wanted consumers. The survey conducted by Adobe Campaign about email usage found nearly 98% of Millennials check their personal email, at least every few hours at work, while almost 87% of Millennials check their work email outside of work.
The same study discovered that millennials are more likely than any other age group to check email on smartphones, with 88% reporting that they regularly use a smartphone to check email.
Instead of thinking about whether or not to invest in email marketing this year, think about how to improve it. Emoji being word of the year in 2015 says a lot about how to communicate – fewer words, more pictures! Emails full of text you need to scroll endlessly are not going to keep the attention of users. Here is a great infographic by Litmus on 8 email design factors that influence action.
Be Effective While Looking Good
For you to stand out in the sea of personal websites, the two most important things to think about are how does it look like and how do users feel using it. If your website takes too much time to load, has some outdated, boring colors and, most importantly, isn’t readable on devices other than desktop – you might think about redesign. Consider the following trends:
How Does Your Website Look on Your Smartphone?
Why isn’t your website mobile friendly? You think that’s not important? Well, it is. Why?
We access the web more through mobile phones than desktop browsers. Also, ranking on Google search. Ranking on Google search is important. Google won’t display your website among its search results on mobile: Remember the Mobile Friendly update which Google released in April 2015, stating that if your website is not mobile-friendly, it won’t be displayed among search results on mobile devices! Enough said – make your personal website mobile-friendly!
Using mobile devices to access websites influences the way websites are designed. A low performance, low connection mobile phone doesn’t have the processing power of a full blown desktop computer so it is only logical that we should consider that our websites should be simpler. Enter Flat design.
No big pictures, complex features or skeumorphism. Flat design offers a minimalistic approach in presenting your content through extensive color use, simple line outlines, and typography.
Speaking of which…
Typography For Readability
Your website is mostly made up of words, so choosing the right font is a science for itself. I’m guessing choosing comic sans for writing engineering blog won’t give the idea that the site is an engineering site. Well, on the other side, if you choose a monospace sans font almost instantly user will recognise “ughhh it has something to do with code”.
I think we’ve all been there; judging a page by its typography. The letters style is often the first thing you notice! Within a second, a user can accept or reject your brand thanks to the typography you use on your website. Fonts and typography are important!
Better Visuals Will Make Your Content 94% More Appealing
Studies have shown that compelling visual elements can generate up to 94 percent more views. Think about it: Facebook has made it possible to add larger profile photos, as well as animated ones, while Pinterest (a largely visual social network) is one of the most popular ones in the world. Research from the Pew Research Centre has shown that Pinterest passed Twitter in popularity in 2013!
‘While we all love to read, other types of content such as graphics can nicely organise a longer post, making them more easy to scan and digest.
To create them, you can create your own images or use royalty-free images from stock websites. Hint: Visual Hunt has free royalty-free images for you to use, which you can then edit with simple web apps. The best of them, Canva, is also free to use!
What other trends do you know about and think are important for your website? Tell us in the comments!