There have been plenty of changes happening and others still expected to happen in the ever evolving web industry. Apart from just updating you on the latest trends, I will also be informing you on some of the steps you should be taking to keep up with these changing trends. Okay, here we go…
  1. Your Website Has to Load FAST
In a generation where almost everyone is thirsty for information, no one has the patience to wait for a slow website to finish loading. Only fast loading websites will prove beneficial to users. In response to this, we are seeing implementation of new features such as Accelerated Mobile Pages and Facebook Instant Articles (IA). The purpose of these developments is to allow websites to load faster on Social media platforms as well as on Google. Despite the fact that users are getting instant access to information, it is creating a problem for marketers because they are experiencing a decline in the amount of traffic to their websites. These websites still get acknowledgement for visits in analytics, but the engagement metrics take a huge hit. This means it becomes difficult to measure the effect of their content. Take-home message: These developments have brought a huge influence on user experience and soon marketers and bloggers who will not have embraced these changes will start to suffer immensely. In future, users will want to focus on instant articles and won’t want to visit websites as it will be a waste of time. It is important to apply these changes before your website loses all visibility online.
  • It is time to stop focusing on the amount of traffic and start focusing on content consumption. As long as your content gets viewed, that is all that matters.
 
  • Embrace these changes and ensure your website is marked up in the right manner to enable its capability to handle instant articles.
The bottom line is that these changes are taking place because they are exactly what users want. By implementing these changes, you ensure that customers reach you and get the message you are sending them. WordPress has a few great plugins such as Autoptimize and Better WordPress Minify that can be help you merge or even inline your CSS stylesheets.

  1. Mobile Devices Have Taken Over Desktops

In this day and age the number of mobile devices has continued to surpass the number of desktop computers by a wide margin. What this means is that most people are getting access to information through their smartphones or tablets.

As technology continues to advance, desktop computers are getting outdated. As a website owner, you should ensure your website is fully optimized for the web so that it is user friendly to mobile devices.

If you do not optimize your website you will continuously be losing potential customers who do not have the patience to zoom in to see what your website is about.

You should conduct a mobile friendly test to ensure your website appeals to mobile devices.

Take-home message: Just by looking around you will discover that this is a fact. People all around carry their mobile devices everywhere and have their eyes constantly glued to them digging for information. If you want your content to be discovered by internet users, you will have to keep up with the trend of ensuring your website is fully mobile optimized.

(Have you looked around lately? People of all ages live in their phones.)

There are 1.4 billion smartphone users and they are taking over the internet…
  1. The Hispanic Population is Shaping America

In the most recent census conducted in 2010 it was realized that the Hispanic population had the most substantial demographic impact on American population. There are now about 52 million Americans of Latin-American descent.

This number is projected to increase to 133 million by 2050 meaning that one in three Americans will be of Hispanic origin. The current Hispanic population already has a spending power of over $I trillion and is expected to increase in the coming years.

Take-home message:

The Hispanic market is no longer being viewed as a niche market, instead, it is now becoming a major market that marketers are starting to seriously focus on.

As a marketer or website owner it is up to you to ensure that your content can be understood by all customers despite the language they speak.

It is time to have your content translated to other languages such as Spanish that also have a significant market share.

  1. Online Users are Getting Lazy.
When searching for information on the internet users are determined to apply the least effort they can to get it. In response to this, Google has already come up with a tool that satisfies this ‘craving’. Google Flight is a new tool created to help people with their travelling plans. A study conducted by Google came to a realization that approximately 61% of travelers use search engines to carry out travelling plans. Google tapped on these results and came up with a way of channeling traffic from major travel sites such as Kayak and Orbitz into their new platform. This has the impact of keeping users on Google’s search engines as well as feeding the appetite of lazy users, who now don’t have to put effort into visiting a new website to acquire travel information. A new mobile interface (known as Destinations) has been created to further improve traveler’s user experience. This is what customers want. They can now take care of all their travel plans especially during vacation by using only their phones. This is bad news for marketers since Google is determined to take over the travel industry searches by hijacking search traffic at all points. Take-home message: It is almost certain that Google will not stop at travel searches but will also extend to other industries. Google’s research never stops. If they find another lucrative industry, they will surely go for it and probably dominate it.
  • Focus on working within the structure of the platform. Google Destinations does not create content for their platform, they simply collect content from other websites. This implies there will still be a way to rank content.
 
  • Try out the platform. Since Google makes money through advertising, they will be working to monetize on this tool. If your business operates within this space you can buy ad space before the market gets crowded.
From a consumer point of view, this is pretty awesome. There’s no longer a need to search through slow websites – you can plan your entire vacation on your phone.
  1. Voice Searches are Taking Over Typed Searches
Image credit: Global Web Index

It has been found out that over the past 3 years, voice searches have been increasing by a rate of almost 50% each year. Another study has shown that 55% of teens and 41% of adults utilize voice search.

Voice searches source their information from the web and certain applications. However, voice queries work differently from typed queries.

  1. They apply natural language.
  1. They are not visual, only spoken out.

As the demand for voice searches grows, content will have to be structured in such a way that voice search queries are able to easily extract the information users need.

For marketers, this is an opportunity for them to start forcing it out through APIs such as echo and siri.

Take-home message:

Websites in the near future will start losing their value as more and more people switch to spoken queries, typed queries will become a thing of the past.

Kayak, a major player in the travel industry, has already started to put this information to good use by optimizing against voice search engines.

If your industry can benefit from implementing a similar tactic, as Kayak has done, then it’s time to go to work.

  1. The Era of Intelligent Machines is Here
Chatbots are one of the intelligent machines that Facebook is currently working on because they believe it is the future of social media, commerce and content uncovering. Since most users are not willing to put any effort in searching for information, chatbots will take over this task and provide them with many intelligent options they can choose from at the touch of a button. Take-home message: Like many machines, chatbots are going to allow you run your business in an effective manner. A low cost bot will most likely be handling activities such as:
  1. Customer service
  1. Management of email
  1. Personalized searches
  1. Booking and purchasing
The impact that this will have on consumers is positive as bots will serve as their personal assistants. As a marketer the best you can do is to simply embrace and readily adapt to this new trend when it finally takes over the current trend.
  1. VR (Virtual Reality) Headsets Will Push Content to a New Level

VR headsets are expected to change how gamers play games; however, the application of these headsets doesn’t stop there. They will also have a significant impact on commerce:

  1. One possible application is trying out items from stores without leaving your room
  1. You could also take virtual tours across the world in search of what you want
  1. You could also watch your favorite concert as if watching it from the front row

Take-home message:

Despite the possibility of all these applications, VR headsets are still a long way from actual mass application. Like the Google glass, it is still up to the market to make a choice whether they like the product or not.

  1. Content needs to be created in a smart way so that it will still work for you in future. This means your content should be easily consumable by users through instant messengers, VR headsets, phones and any future device.
  1. Marketing channels will keep evolving and we cannot afford to be picky. For example; Snapchat has a large influence on users and less competition compared to other platforms. It creates a great opportunity for marketers. Use such opportunities to your advantage it doesn’t matter whether you like the platform or not.

It all boils down to having a clear understanding of who your customers are and how they spend their time online. After knowing this, you can pick the best medium and create the right content for them.

These are just some of the changes that have been taking place in the web industry and acting on these changes will ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors.

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