Have you noticed lately that all of your favorite websites are starting to look alike? You may be thinking, “Isn’t a website supposed to be unique to each brand?” “Don’t I want my company website to look different from the rest?”
At Whiteboard, here’s our (frustrating) answer: Yes and no.
Let’s look at why that’s our stance… and should be yours, too.
What is Responsive Web Design?
The big reason websites are starting to look increasingly alike is because of something called responsive design. Responsive website design is something we do here at Whiteboard with each and every site build. It means that our sites are optimized to look great on your smartphone, laptop, and tablet all at once.
Sounds pretty important, right?
With many sites getting more than half of their views on mobile devices, responsive web design isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s now imperative that your website looks well-organized and attractive on a slew of devices and browsers to meet the needs of your viewers. It goes beyond making it a pleasant viewing experience for your current web visitors, though.
Will Responsive Web Design Help My Business?
Google rolled out a huge Mobile-Friendly update not long ago. The Google update can be tricky to understand, but here’s what you need to know: Responsive, mobile-friendly websites are now ranked higher on Google. So, we now have two reasons to go with responsive web design:
- To make the site attractive and user-friendly on a variety of platforms, and,
- To get websites ranked more favorably on the world’s favorite search engine: Google.
What Do Responsive Sites Look Like?
Having a mobile-friendly, small business website usually means that sites will have the following:
- High-resolution photos
- A clear main navigation menu with well-organized subpages
- Lots of breaks between text and photos, nothing overwhelming
- Less text overall
- Well-designed contact information that is easy-to-find on every website page
- Plentiful call-to-action opportunities (like contact forms!)
- Click-to-call, mobile-friendly phone numbers everywhere on the site
- Static headers and footers on all site pages
How Do I Make My Site Look Unique?
While the above are the general parameters of having a responsive web design, there is still plenty of room for personalization. Here are some ways to make your responsive site feel more like your own:
- New images: Choose photos that reflect your brand.
- A fresh coat: Choose three or four colors that you think represent your company and update your site accordingly.
- Rebrand: Create an updated logo to use throughout the site, incorporate the new colors chosen above, or a more modern font.
- Get personal: Start a blog, which is a great way to add personal flair and information that would be too much text elsewhere on a responsive site.
How Can I Refresh My Site for 2017?
If you think your website is all set with the items above, consider making some of the biggest predicted web design changes for 2017. This year’s trends include:
- Videos: Never before has video integration been so popular on small business sites. Not only does Google love video integration on sites, but your viewers do, too! Videos also tend to be a great feature both on desktop computers and mobile phones.
- Static front-page images: Did you just gasp? Yes, we are getting away from using sliders and carousel images on the front pages of websites. That’s because static front pages look best across all devices and are most easily utilized by a typical viewer.
- Personal, high-resolution photos: Good photos of your team, office, and work are such valuable assets to websites. These can replace outdated team photos, as well as impersonal stock imagery.
- Call-to-action items: Do you have pages on your site reflecting your services, products, or specials? Incorporate a contact form, cost estimate, or visualization tool to help your viewers take the next step!
- Live chat integration. You’ve probably noticed when other companies offer a live chat feature, it seems very helpful/professional. If you offer products or services people might want more information about right away, consider a live chat module of your own!
- Add a monthly promotions page. With responsive design, it’s important to have all relevant information accessible and well-organized. Creating a monthly promotions/specials page to update site visitors on everything you have going on that month is a great way to stay relevant and fresh within responsive design parameters.
Do you need a new responsive website? Do you have one, but are ready for a website refresh? Give us a call today!