ESP for your website: Adding superpowers to your homepage
Web development and critical appraisal of your website is a critical component in staving off obsolescence. It fortifies the business and lays the foundation for a strong connection with the market and patrons.
A webpage like almost anything can go through a geriatric phase where it just ages and struggles painfully towards the finish line in and never-ending struggle to stay up-to-date.
Whenever customers or clients access your website they must feel that it is relevant, up-to-date & modern and able to deliver the appropriate user experience. An ageing and dated website will immediately stand exposed as such — it will inevitably be compared unfavorably with more contemporary websites that abound. This will lead to loss of traction with the market and customers.
Web development is future proofing the business and giving it the ability to prosper and grow despite the vagaries of economic cycles and market events that have a general depressing trend on the market.
Keeping a website modern and contemporary and incorporating measures that keep it young and healthy in its outlook and the underlying technology needs an assessment of the developing trends in web development and how they influence your growth and prospects.
Here are some of the principal web development trends for 2020
- Modular design
- Responsive design
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
- Voice search optimization
- API-first design
An inbuilt modular capability allows web developers to design a new web page by reusing existing components and allowing a progressive rebuild that does not involve the total recoding and development of the web page.
This makes the process immediately more flexible and cheaper. Now the page can be redone at will and with fewer design constraints. A non-technical person can insert content and drop the module into place.
Modular design is a common and rather old feature of the manufacturing process in automobiles, aviation, construction and also software development through the use of object-oriented programming.
Web design has traditionally involved a page based design process. Modular design consists of creating a design system with reusable components and patterns. Those components can then be combined in various ways across your website to create unique pages with minimal effort.- Courtesy blog.tbhcreative.com › 2019/02 › modular-component-web-design
Modular webpages have a greater impact because they allow the dynamic display of content blocks in ways that create a lasting impression. Content is no longer a fixed, written-in-stone feature. It requires to be rewritten entirely on short notice as market conditions develop. Offers, discounts, special events have to be updated constantly and effectively. This must be achieved with minimum intervention.
As operators and owners of a website you are liberated from the limitations and rigidity of templates and can place the content where it has the most impact and remains searchable and allows customers to view the relevant text promptly.
Each of the modules telescopes smoothly into the other and a web page is created by combining modules.
Responsive design allows web pages to render across devices and platforms. This line of thinking and design follows the burgeoning growth of mobile users which necessitates that pages open fluently and without hesitation across the users preferred platforms.
As mobile users increasingly become the majority of eCommerce users, responsive design is an absolute must in terms of their bottomline and not an option for all those who operate web pages and eCommerce sites.
“In 2015, 35% of website traffic was served to mobile devices. Then, in 2016, that number was 43%. Now, in 2017, 50.3% of website traffic happened on a phone instead of a computer or tablet. It isn’t surprising that Google has now enabled mobile-first indexing.”-Coredna.com
Google has enabled mobile-first indexing for all new websites and or those that were unknown to Google Search before.
This is the precursor to mobile websites becoming the kingpin in deciding rankings.
The “mobile-responsive” website is therefore the essential prerequisite for an updated website that is ready to deal with the challenges posed by millennial and Generation X with their device obsessed lifestyles.
According to Google: “If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.”
Chatbots and customer support
Chatbots are getting the thumbs across the globe. Many don’t realise how they are dealing with AI. It is assumed its a website facilitated chat with a real person behind a desk.
Customer service departments are jumping on this bandwagon lock, stock, and barrel. For once they can keep up with the calls and support messages.
The normalisation of AI through chatbots is happening as we speak and people don’t mind, don’t know and don’t care as long as the little icon keeps answering all their queries and makes their day by resolving issues.
“Employing chatbots” has an obvious cost advantage. This “person” motors along at all hours without ever punching a job card. You’ll never notice the bot in the office. There’s another saving.
Code and forget. No cost implication. Also, their grammar is good for the most part.
Estimated cost savings for support departments are being quoted at $23bn.
"57% of consumers appreciate chatbots for their instantaneity. And Gartner predicts that over 85% of customer interactions will happen without a human on the business end by 2020. Similarly, according to TechEmergence, chatbots will become the number one application for consumers across all AI integrations in the next five year."-Coredna.com
Customer surveys confirm that people prefer to contact firms over live chat — a function for which chatbots are perfectly suited. And a massive 95% of those polled say that chatbots are best for customer service.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
AMP is the future of content formats. AMP will be implemented across mobile devices and platforms in some form or the other.
With AMP, Google (which is the main proponent) is encouraging businesses to implement and develop websites that load like lightning and explode with luxuriant content as they resolve before the users on their mobile devices.
The intuitive ads that are now a feature of Google advertising will now be accompanied by content that is loaded with all the media goodies that you could imagine. All this would load fast and would work seamlessly across devices and platforms.
“We want web pages with rich content like video, animations, and graphics to work alongside smart ads and to load instantaneously. We also want the same code to work across platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant — no matter what type of device you're using.”- Google blog post.
Not everyone is on board with this scheme because of technical restrictions in coding HTML to make AMPs load ideally. These squeeze HTML and affect functionality. Developers dislike these curbs on their palettes. Even with these challenges, there is an acceptance that the advantages will outweigh the issues.
The average load times for matter that has AMP enhanced HTML coding is 0.7 seconds while a similar non-enhanced page takes 22 seconds to load all the bells and whistles of a state-of-art page made for the present day.
Like all cutting edge developments, the eCommerce business is running a marathon with wolves. It needs every edge it can get. It also needs to accept that this change is coming and should make the transition early and get the knots ironed out with plenty of time to spare.
Voice search optimization
As people work with their phones, run with their phones and go to bed with their phones, they are increasing at ease with and more aware of their onboard assistants. The concierge for all times, polite and tireless - an all weather friend. Present and omnipresent. Silent but potent.
Voice searches are the next big thing and are trending to become the next big technological covenant with the millennial generation and beyond.
- Voice labs found that there were a total of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation.
- In a survey of SEO trends for 2017 and beyond, voice search stood at the third spot.
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches.
- Teenagers are savvy users of voice search, but Thrive Analytics found that people in all age groups use mobile personal assistants. -Courtesy https://neilpatel.com/blog/seo-for-voice-search/
Technologies that are are now ubiquitous: Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, Android Assistant, have exposed customers to their abilities. They are not limited anymore to being conversation starters. People are making serious inquiries to their voice assistants and eschewing the keypad in as many scenarios as possible. Voice assistants allow hands-free operation and that is a critical advantage.
“From 2008 to 2016, voice search queries multiplied by 35 times. And today, 19% of people use Siri at least once per day, and 55% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search on a daily basis. in 2020, 50% of search queries are conducted with voice instead of text.”
Surveys indicate that two out of five people say “voice-activated devices are essential” to their lives. The utility to someone with a debilitating illness or in a life-threatening situation is immediately apparent.
For businesses, the import is to be mobile responsive because 20% of mobile searches are voice enabled, according to Google. Also, additionally integrating voice search into the website will be a move that keeps you ahead of the curve and gaining ground in the straights.
The inclusion of a voice search recognition API will immediately give your website its ears to the world. As Google Chrome and Firefox already support voice, the website will continue to listen after the initial voice search it.
Applications are now driven by APIs. As we network and add devices to our lives, more APIs have to be created for applications. These apps are used to drive all these devices that are now connected and need to communicate with each other and the user.
API first envisages a system that changes the way applications are developed. Usually, APIs are added after the application is developed. This leaves the front-end team which has developed the application waiting for the back end team to complete development of the API. Instead, APIs are developed first and the front-end coders create the product on the foundation laid by the back-end team’s API.
This is a time-saving way of building the application and allows the front-end and back-end teams to work together as they check and verify the APIs performance.
Staying ahead of the game is a key to success in online business. One must sniff out the developments and emerging trends and stay abreast.
Competition demands your best and your website is where you need to shine and put your best foot forward.