November 20, 2020

Top 8 Website Trends for 2021 & How to Make Them Work to Grow Your Brand Online

COVID-19 has fast-tracked many trends we were already seeing online and has forced businesses to get on board or risk being left behind!

2020 was a year unlike any other. As businesses pivot and shift to adapt to our new digital-first world, website design and development trends continue to be at the forefront of any business strategy. 

COVID-19 has fast-tracked many trends we were already seeing online and has forced businesses to get on board or risk being left behind. Consumers expect more from their online interactions with brands’ and the data continues to exemplify that. 

In today’s blog post, the Reaction team will be sharing their expert insight into the top website trends of 2021.

  1. Customer Experience
  2. App-like Web Design
  3. Telling Your Brands’ Story
  4. Optimizing for Mobile
  5. Dark Mode in the Web
  6. Website Speed & Performance
  7. Search Engine Optimization
  8. Customer-first Approach

1. Creating an Experience for Your Customers Online

One of the primary trends we see in web development and design is the focus on user experience. 

User experience (or UX for short) has been slowly integrated into web design over the past number of years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the focus and sped up the need for creating exceptional web-based customer experiences to keep up with the competitive online marketplace.

UX is largely about creating a digital interface (like your website) that works exactly as your customer would expect. Where the interactions they have on your website (scrolling, navigating, researching, etc) are so intuitive and well designed that the potential customer doesn’t even have to think about what they’re doing.

2. App-like Experience on Websites

In simple terms, an app-like experience means your website functions more as an app than a traditional website. 

An app-inspired website is:

  • Ultra-fast 
  • Interactive
  • Simple in design
  • Thoroughly optimized for mobile
  • Uses animations to create a responsive feel

You might not need an entirely new website to bring an app-like experience to your customers. You can start implementing features like these by making small changes, over time, to the theme of the site you already have.

Have a look at the app-like experience we created for Private Lender Link, a marketplace for private and hard money lending. There’s plenty of marketing content here, but people are coming to this website to accomplish something, be it finding a lender, a service provider, or an investment opportunity. We created an experience that focuses on achieving those tasks, which creates an excellent app-experience for their audience.

Private Lender Link's app-like website on an iPad

3. Telling Your Brands’ Story

Today’s consumers expect more from the brands they do business with, and they want a company that predicts their needs guides their actions and gives them a reason to do business with you.

This trend is particularly important for eCommerce websites or sites that drive specific sequences of action for web visitors. 

Pages on your website should guide the customer through a series of actions making them feel confident in your brand without ever indicating that you are leading the way (even though you are.) 

This type of web experience helps to increase customer engagement and minimize losses like cart abandonment.

4. Optimizing for Mobile

While not something new on the internet, optimizing your website for mobile devices is increasingly more critical to growing your brand online.

If you look beyond responsive design (the ability for your website to adapt to desktop, smartphone, and tablet displays), businesses should lean into additional optimization tactics such as the position and size of the navigation, advanced image compression, even things like preloading pages before the visitor lands on them!

While your existing website might already be “mobile-friendly,” it does not necessarily mean that your website has the functionality or the capabilities to meet the needs of Google’s mobile-first world.

5. Dark Mode in Web Design

iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac, etc., have widely adapted a dark mode or theme to their user interfaces. It was just a matter of time before we saw this trend enter the web, and now it’s here.

Optimizing your website for a dark mode like we did for Android Headlines, not only elevates the experience a visitor will have on the site, but aids in content readability and won’t jar the person coming from a dark mode UI to a bright white landing page.

Android Headlines, a custom website with a built in dark and light theme toggle

6. Website Speed & Performance is Key

Did you know that page loading speed is one of Google’s most looked at metrics to rank your website in search results?

Your website is like the front door of your business, the primary introduction to your brand to a wide range of potential customers and web visitors. Think of a slow website like a messy showroom or untidy office space. While it may complete a myriad of basic tasks or display your products or services, if it takes more than a few short seconds to load, the data shows that customers will hit that BACK button and start looking at your competition.

A high performing website is one of the best investments a brand can make in the overall polish of their presence online.

7. Search Engine Optimization is Mission-Critical

A fast, interactive design not only contributes to your customer’s experience with your brand online, but also improves your website’s Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) ranking. 

High-performing, keyword-rich websites are favoured by search engines like Google and will directly increase your site’s exposure when customers are searching for you online.

8. Customer-first Approach

Your website is not only the visual representation and sales portal of your business but also the central hub for your interactions with your customers online. Not Facebook, not Twitter, definitely not Tik Tok, it’s your website!

Whether your business has physical locations or not, the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing has shifted consumer preferences on how to interact with businesses. In 2021, customers expect websites to go above and beyond in their customer support through live chatbots, FAQs, and self-directed services.

All of these upgrades might be an initial investment in content and web infrastructure, but they can dramatically improve your business’ overall customer service model, helping to increase your sales and win you loyal customers for life.

What Do These Trends Mean for Your Business?

A great website is like the front door to your business, especially in these pandemic times. Investing in a strong lead generating website, eCommerce platform, and digital customer service is integral to your brand’s success online.

Don’t let a poor performing website lose your business valuable leads and sales.

GROW MY BRAND ONLINE