In “12 Web Design Trends for 2012-Part 1“, we looked at what’s new and/or hot and what’s ancient history. In Part 2, let’s look at web design and marketing trends that are still going strong, as well as what is on the horizon for 2012 and beyond.
As in Part 1, some of these trends are “must-have” if your coaching website is to attract clients. Others won’t apply at all. And some are optional. I’ll comment on each trend to let you know how to best apply it to your online marketing strategy for your coaching business.
And now let’s take a look at…
What’s Still Going Strong
6. HTML5 and CSS3
We’ll continue to see HTML5 and CSS3 used for the cool effects we used to have with Adobe Flash. Using HTML5 and CSS3 is a great idea, and I use it on my sites and my client’s websites.
How do you use them on your website if you’re a coach? Unless you’re programming your own site, you probably won’t even be aware that your site is using HTML5 and CSS3. This is something your web designer will take care of.
Use HTML5 and CSS3 as needed, but don’t focus on fancy transitions and effects. It won’t help increase your sales or get you more clients. That’s not what your clients really want from your website anyway. For interaction, videos are a much more effective marketing tool, especially for coaches.
7. Social Sites are Strong But Experiencing Difficulties
Social sites will continue to play a big part in our social life, marketing, and SEO strategy. However, with growth comes pain, and it’s no secret that a lot of people have been dissatisfied with Facebook, YouTube, and other popular social networks.
At the same time, there are new social sites popping up all the time, offering havens to the people tired of fighting with giant, commercialized sites. Most of those new sites are still too small to challenge the big boys yet, but the fact remains that the social market is getting saturated with new options.
So how does social sites apply to web design trends? Glad you asked! For many coaches, our social sites are another web site for us. We use them to market our services, teleseminars, and programs.
When I wrote about web trends for 2011 a year ago, Google Plus wasn’t even around. Now you see the icon everywhere right along with Facebook and Twitter icons. In the last year alone, I’ve joined a couple of brand new social sites.
However, people like me are wising up to the fact that trying to juggle several different social networking sites can suck hours out of our days – often giving little to no marketing exposure in return. I often find myself busy enough with only one account to interact with. Obviously, I can’t sign up at every new social site on the block.
No exact predictions for this yet, but the landscape is changing. We’ll see how the situation unfolds as the year develops. Be sure to continue to use social media icons on your website and market your information and coaching services through the main social media sites.
Google is putting a lot of emphasis on social media links, likes, favorites, and such. So link your main site to your Facebook page and make posts in Facebook that link back to your main site. Do the same with your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus account (or whichever social site you like to use.)
8. Pure Art Still Reigns as ‘Hot’
Large headers, innovative designs, oversized footers, art and typography… yes, it’s all still in.
The most artistic web designers will continue to astound us with their huge photo backgrounds and prominent typography. Creative? Yes. Practical? That depends on where people are accessing your site. Mobile browsing is growing and large images take a lot longer to load on 3G than on the typical broadband Internet connection at home.
Feel free to use creative graphics on your coaching website to add a fantastic look and feel. Typography is especially great. Just watch out for image sizes that are so large they take forever to load on the page. You want your pages to load quickly or site visitors may leave.
9. Minimalistic Designs with Lots of White Space
This is the clean and uncluttered look Apple is so well known for. However, minimalistic does NOT have be cold or boring. Instead, add great photos, custom graphics, and splashes of color for accent. Don’t try to fill every available space with stuff like banners, widgets, and text.
You want to make your branding message easy to read. And that means less text, more white space around areas of information, and more succint messages. This works great for coaching websites.
10. Magazine Layouts
Magazine layouts are are still very popular on certain types of sites. (This refers to the layout you find inside a magazine, not on the magazine cover.) Webpages with the same two columns on every page are old fashioned. They have been replaced with layouts that have content in blocks of information that are visually appealing.
If you’re a coach, avoid magazine layouts that look cluttered and have too much information on one page. You want your web pages to be easy to navigate and include beautiful graphics, photos, quotations, and typography.
11. Google Algorithm Changes
We can’t talk about trends in web design for 2012 without mentioning Google. SEO is still evolving quickly. Predictions say that PageRank will no longer be regarded with the same importance. Instead, Google is putting a lot of emphasis on age of domain name, which makes for some really weird search results lately.
Also, more attention is being paid to links from social sites. That’s buzz – the fact that people are sharing content with their buddies on their social site page. Think about it: If you find something cool, what’s the first way you’re going to share it? Write up a blog post and stick the link in there? Or go tweet it to all your Twitter followers and share the post on your Facebook wall? See the difference? Google sees it, too.
As mentioned earlier in the section on social sites, continue to post your information on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and your favorite social media sites. Encourage others to like, share, post, and favorite your information. This is just as important for coaches marketing online as it is for any other online business.
What’s on the Horizon
12. Speech Recognition Meets Artificial Intelligence
Apple’s Siri, the intelligent software assistant on the latest iPhone, was released in late 2011 and is gaining in popularity. At present it is getting mixed reviews. But make no mistake. This has huge potential. It isn’t just voice recognition. It’s software that offers conversational interaction. In other words, it can interpret normal speech and turn it into a task or set of tasks.
If the popularity continues, competitors will be developing similar apps. We could see this implemented into Google search in a big way – people speaking their searches, instead of typing them into their tablet and smartphone.
This could be a significant change of keywords for search engine optimization since people don’t speak search terms in the same way they type phrases. For example, in Google, I might type in “massage therapist Chattanooga.” In Siri, I’d say, “Find me a massage therapist in Chattanooga with the best ratings.” Or I might say, “I want something to eat in Cleveland Tennessee,” instead of typing “restaurant Cleveland, TN.” Think about verbal navigation or searches on sites.
With the advent of Siri, I think we may start to see applications for voice recognition that many of us haven’t even considered.
I remember in 2005 when the iPod and MP3 players became popular, Internet marketers, like Alex Mandossian, were trying to figure out how to monitize podcasting. Now podcasts and audios are regularly integrated on sites.
Then in April 2010, Apple released the iPad. And today, it’s being used in so many ingenious ways. For instance, many universities are including an iPad with tuition. It’s how they download class information and materials to you. That’s just one example. There are so many more uses and applications for tablets just 18 months after it’s release.
I see Siri as this kind of a new technology breakthrough. And I’m looking forward to seeing how it can help coaches and consultants with their online marketing.
Some of the trends this year may seem to contradict each other. But I like the variety. It reminds me of today’s women’s fashion. I can go to the store and see both mini-skirts and long skirts, both low rise jeans and waist high jeans.
Today, you’ll find…
- Clean, minimalistic layouts, as well as busy magazine layouts
- Sites with simple, pure color schemes, while others have graphics with lots of texture and depth
- Mobile-friendly sites for smaller screens and huge artistic webpages
What’s the right site for your business? It really depends on your clientele and where they are most likely to be searching for you. For instance, if you’re searching for a web designer, you’re probably at your desktop and capable of handling that 1200 pixel wide site with its many interactive features.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for a fast recipe to cook when you get home from work, you’re probably thankful for the mobile-version of your favorite cooking site.
So remember to consider the purpose of your site – and your ideal client – before you incorporate any of the above trends.
Best wishes for an amazingly successful 2012!