With a company’s website most likely the first place a new or existing customer experiences your business, you’d better make sure its bang on.
Bka Interactive is one of the country’s leaders in online strategy, with its CEO, Barb Anderson, claiming the corporate website is now a critical central marketing hub and having a great digital strategy means keeping tabs on the fast-paced changes happening in the digital world.
Anderson and Creative Director Maak Bow actively look to keep ahead of the game through innovation and place a lot of emphasis on research and development.
Here, they share a list of trends they see prevailing and will continue to develop in 2014:
Less is more
When it comes to content, Anderson says “keep things simple!”
Nothing highlights this better than a recent survey by Google which found users judged a website within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second. Anything visually complex was a big turn-off.
“Businesses are competing for customers’ time in parts of seconds, therefore simplification, focus, and speed of delivery will be more important than ever before,” Barb says. “It is vital that every aspect of design is kept simple, how it works, not just how it looks.”
Content is King
Google is constantly changing its SEO algorithms in order to deliver better quality search by promoting real content above content simply created for SEO benefits. It is more important than ever to give the end user “dynamic, quality content” and investing in, and implementing a good organic SEO strategy.
Keeping things mobile
With many using their smart-phones or tablets to log online, we now live in an age where businesses run 24/7. Barb says companies need to keep this top of mind and ensure their websites - and budgets - are adapted to accommodate this growth.
“There will be more, and varied devices as the availability and relative cost of ownership decreases. Delivery to this continuing variety of devices will increase the cost of development, or lower the quality - it can’t go both ways,” Anderson says. “It will be difficult to tell who is using what, when and where, but when designing any site, this must be one of the most important factors to consider.”
“In order for large organisations to remain competitive they will risk the Internet as a platform for business in spite of the fact that high profile security breaches occur. Pushing business processes online is more convenient, faster, can be more cost effective and allows for easier sharing of data.” Barb says.
“This will lead to more Internet payment systems, more crowd and social funding, and more start-ups in the financial arena,” Barb predicts.
Location is now irrelevant
Cloud-based tools are becoming increasingly available and are quickly gaining more acceptance in day-to-day use Barb explains.
“Google Cloud Playground is a great example. It allows you to store your documents, photos, spread-sheets, and presentations – anything you create – in their secure cloud environment. It is convenient because you can access your files from any device with an Internet connection,” Barb says. “With these cloud-based systems locations and time zones are no longer relevant.”
The biggest thing since cable
Not only is digital video content here to stay, it’s getting bigger by the day Anderson says.
“The barriers that used to exist, such as poor connectivity, expensive data and even the quality of videos being uploaded, has now diminished,” she explains. “Consumers are embracing this platform. A few years ago it would have been unheard of for a TV show to be released online, now this is a popular phenomenon. Companies must embrace this visual medium to ensure their future brand visibility.”
Master social media
The social media landscape is set to change again and at a rapid pace Barb predicts. It is essential that digital strategists continuously monitor and adapt to / update these online channels.
“We will see a more diverse range of channels as SEO from social channels becomes more important,” barb says. “Social media marketing will need to be smarter, enabled by better analytic tools and services.”