Firstly Happy New Year everyone! We’re hoping that 2019 is going to be a good year for all of us. But what do we think is going to be big, in both a good and bad way in 2019?
Obviously, it varies by sector, but most sources say that in 2017/2018 the usage of web browsing on mobile devices overtook that of desktops. Google backed this up by making their mobile algorithm their primary one.
This trend is likely to continue, meaning that more websites will become mobile friendly, search engines and users will increasingly favour the mobile-friendly ones, and many more websites will start being developed with mobile users as their primary audience.
This year, for most sectors, mobile browsing should be a priority.
Google’s Love For SSL/TLS
Google has been pushing their love for the green padlock and the ‘https’ by marking websites as ‘not secure’ in Chrome if they do not have them.
This year for sure this will be increasingly important with other browsers following suit, and we’d imagine that by the end of 2019 it will be the norm to have a website with an https prefix.
We have an article on this here, and luckily it’s usually an easy/cheap upgrade.
Pre-Brexit Tweaks vs Post-Brexit Builds
We’re splitting this part of our forecast into pre and post-Brexit as, whatever you voted, there is no doubt that the lack of certainty is affecting business.
Last year we found that an increasing number of businesses were ‘ticking over’ and asking us to improve existing websites (both built by ourselves, and others) rather than opting for a new build. Rightly or wrongly many business owners have been holding back until the future is clearer, and we see no reason why this won’t continue in early 2019.
Post-Brexit, whatever the outcome, we believe that at least the uncertainty will have gone, and this alone should buck the trend resulting in more long-term plans, including website rebuilds.
Luckily for us we will happily create brand new websites, improve what others already have, or even take over part-finished ones.
WordPress V5 Upgrade Woes
For those who use WordPress, the new version 5 has been now released.
There have been some major structural changes, and the ‘one click’ upgrade is not as flawless as we are led to believe.
We foresee a lot of people will click to update unaware that this could cause issues, and killing their website. We have seen this already.
Our advice is not to blindly click the button, but either ensure that you have a full and tested backup first or liaise with your web agency to test it first.
GDPR, Privacy & Popups
This was obviously a massive thing late last year, and a lot of people have made changes already.
However, a lot of people haven’t, or have done it incorrectly, and with the public’s awareness of this, we’re sure that it’ll be hot news.
This could, of course, turn itself on its head, with people getting so fed up with popups and checkboxes that web designers start simplifying things – similar to the cookie popups a few years back.
A lot of both the general public and business community completely misunderstand GDPR, thinking either that it doesn’t affect them when it does, or even that are doing something illegal when they are not. To date we have corrected three solicitor firms, all who have admitted afterwards that we were correct, so if they don’t know what’s happening, how is everyone else supposed to know?
Our advice here is to make sure that you understand the law, and keep on the right side of it, then to sit back and see how it unfolds. If in doubt, ask someone like us.
With more and more of our lives being put online, it’s inevitable that the hackers will want to get involved.
The vast majority of security breaches that we have seen come from mass attacks on open source systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal. This isn’t to say that these systems are bad or shouldn’t be used, just make sure that the platforms, themes and modules/plugins/extensions are kept up to date. This won’t guarantee that you’re safe from hackers but will eliminate the majority of attacks.
UX Over Design
Some are better than others, but these days most web designers should be able to make a website that looks modern and professional.
Modern website design involves a lot more than aesthetics though, two things in particular; how it collapses down on mobile devices (as above), and the user journey.
The user journey or experience (UX) seems intuitive, but quite often it’s more complex than people imagine, especially when a website has different types of users each with different goals.
Getting this right is what separates one website from the next as it makes the website so much easier to use, keeps the users happy and results in more sales and enquiries.
We believe that this will be even bigger in 2019.
Online marketing is continually evolving, with new channels appearing and many markets becoming increasingly competitive, add in Brexit and the new GDPR laws and this will certainly be an interesting year.
It’s hard to predict which media and channels will become most popular as it will vary from sector to sector, but whether it is various social media channels, videos, pay per click, email marketing, SEO or many others, the important point here will be a strategy.
In the distant past, you could jump both feet into a particular marketing method and be fairly confident that it would give a return. In 2019 this is certainly not the case.
A proper marketing plan will need to be made looking not only at the business or sector in general, but each specific type of product or service, different customer demographics, and finding a niche. Furthermore, as with most marketing, any plan will need to be monitored and reviewed to ensure that it is effective; very rarely will a marketing agency get things perfect without refinements
If you are a UK citizen and have a .eu domain name (around 273,000 people in the UK have one) then after Brexit you’ll have no rights to it.
What will happen may change, but currently it looks as if UK citizens will not be able to renew their .eu domain names after Brexit, and therefore will lose it.
If this affects you, then we’d suggest transferring your website and emails over to an alternative domain name sooner rather than later so that the changes can propagate through the Internet in plenty of time.
If you want any advice with any of the following, if you need a website designed, or if you want improvements or maintenance, then please get in touch. Our friendly team will happily talk you through it, with no pushy salespeople.
We are Webbed Feet, we’d like to wish everyone a happy new year!