How to Get Your Website Ready for 2020
With each new year, changes appear on the website design landscape. Sometimes, there is a new trend everyone seems to try. At other times, there is new technology that makes the way we design a bit more intuitive and user-friendly. As we head into 2020, there are both technological changes and trends to keep in mind if you want your website to have excellent user experience (UX) as well as be aesthetically beautiful.
There are approximately 1.7 billion websites in the world, but the number changes by the second. There isn’t any possible way to look at all those sites, but you can learn a lot by studying the big players and seeing what they do to improve UX and incorporate any new tech each year.
If you want your website to be ready when midnight strikes the clock on Dec. 31, you should look at these eight things and implement the ones that make the most sense for your business.
1. Review Design Fundamentals
One thing that never goes out of style is thoughtful design. Make sure your navigation is easy to find, as it is the heart of your site. Be predictable. Users expect to see specific elements in the same locations year after year, such as your logo in the top right or center of your page. Look at function. Does your logo link back to the homepage? Do all your links work? Over time, your site can collect errors, so carefully review everything as an end-of-year tactic.
2. Know Your Audience Better
The advice to know your audience isn’t anything new, but 2020 brings more tools than designers have ever had before to figure out who site visitors are, what drives them to convert to customers and how to better meet their needs. Dig deep into any analytics available to you, and run it through the filter of your audience. For example, serving B2B customers is quite different than attending to B2C customers.
3. Add Voice Search Capabilities
Comscore predicts that by 2020, around 50% of all online searches will be voice ones. If you haven’t already enabled your site for voice search, 2020 is the time to embrace this new technology. People will likely receive new smart speakers as holiday gifts, so there will be a whole new generation of voice search users come the new year.
4. Speed up Your Site
The advice to speed up your website has been around for a while. Now that 5G technology is here, though, people have access to faster Internet speeds than ever before. The last thing they want is a website that can’t keep up. However, if you’re on a budget, you may not be able to afford a dedicated server. Get a package with the fastest speeds possible and optimize your site to load quickly. Use tools such as Pingdom’s speed test to get feedback on things you can do to improve how fast your site loads.
5. Go Mobile Responsive
More advice that isn’t new, but is worth a second look in 2020, is to make sure you’ve optimized your design for mobile devices. Experts predict by 2025, 75% of users will exclusively access the Internet with their smartphones. If you aren’t adapting to the changing trend of not owning a computer, you’re going to miss out on more than half your potential traffic for your site. Adapt now, so you’re ready for the shift toward a higher number of people visiting your website via mobile devices than any other way.
6. Take Personal to a New Level
You’ve probably noticed trends toward more personalized marketing. Companies spend more money on dynamic ads that target a person’s habits and serve up content based on browsing history, past purchases or even location. As technology changes and we are better able to track customers’ preferences, marketing and websites become more and more personal over time. Install cookies that track past behavior of site visitors and customize content to better meet their needs.
7. Protect Customer Data
Hackers get smarter every year, coming up with new ways to steal personal data and break into databases. Not only should you do everything in your power to protect your customers’ data, but the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation may require you to do so. Even though it is a regulation enacted by the European Union, if you do business with any citizens of the EU, you may fall under its rules. Collect only information you absolutely must have, and store the necessities. Put security measures in place to keep bad actors from stealing data.
8. Update Your Copyright Date
Many sites fail to fix the copyright date at the bottom of their website. After all, the copyright sits out of sight in the footer area. But if you fail to update it to the current year, it can make your site look dated. If the date is from three years ago, your site winds up looking neglected and old. As soon as possible after the calendar year flips over, go ahead and update your copyright year so it reflects the current calendar.
9. Refresh Everything
A new year is a good time to take a look at your site through fresh eyes. Add a few elements with current design trends, such as an informational video in the hero background, an animated illustration or some appealing font as the main header. Look at all your calls to action and see if they need tweaking. Review any offers to make sure they are still current with what your customers want. A little time now revamping your site for the new year will pay off in more conversions and happier site visitors later.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her golden doodle. Subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.