In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s important to keep things fresh and versatile in order to maintain an edge. This is especially the case when working on websites for local businesses. In this article, we take a look at some of the more exciting website trends in 2022.
There are some trends and predictions that are worth your attention. One of the best ways to stay on-trend and engage with potential customers is by paying attention to the future of web design.
This article hopes to highlight some of them:
1. Adopting a mobile-first design
Most local businesses are increasingly moving towards a mobile responsive website design.
More local businesses owners are now seeing the value of it since their clients are likely to search for local services on their mobile.
When you have a mobile responsive website design, you ensure that users surfing your site on a smartphone or tablet get the same experience as they would on a desktop.
Here are some tips to optimize a local business website for mobile:
- If you’re building a website on WordPress, use a mobile-responsive theme.
- Optimize mobile loading speed by compressing images, implementing caching, using a Content-Delivery Network (CDN), minifying your code, and keeping your site up-to-date
- Use a good web host that is optimized for loading websites on mobile.
- Ensure different parts of the theme are redesigned for mobile devices. Eg: headers, footers, single blog posts, pop-ups etc.
- Create a minimized header with call to actions (CTAs) always visible (sticky headers). In the case of local businesses, examples include, make a booking, click-to-call, request a callback etc.
- Experiment with scroll-to-top feature.
- Ensure there is enough padding around the edges of the content blocks.
- Prioritize content over design on mobile. Key is to ensure that your copy and other content parts are easily readable and accessible.
- Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool to check if the website passes the test.
2. Optimized content for voice searches
As technology evolves, so does the way we interact with it. The days of typing out a complicated search query are slowly going by the wayside.
More users turn to voice search instead, an interface that allows you to speak a question or command aloud. As such, it’s vital to pay attention to how you implement voice search on local business websites.
This trend isn’t going anywhere in the near future, so we can expect to see more and more websites integrating voice search as an option to traditional text search.
Some examples of voice search include relevant to local businesses include:
“Where can I find the closest Mexican restaurant?”
“I’m looking for a roofer nearby”
If the website can be optimized for such voice queries, you’ll be able to outrank your competitors.
Here’s how you can optimize your local business website for voice search:
- Claim and optimize Google Business Profile since it’s the data source for Google Assistant.
- Optimize local directories and citations such as Yelp, Yellow Pages etc.
- Get more customer reviews as it’s a ranking factor for voice search especially for queries such as “best”, “top” etc.
- Adjust and revamp content based on user intent. For instance, a typed query might be “electricians in Hayleys Street” while a similar query via voice search might be “who are the best electricians near me?”;
- Build pages or include sections that answer FAQ type questions that start with “what”, “why”, “how many” etc.;
- Rewrite content to make it sound more conversational.
3. Making websites more accessible
Creating an accessible website isn’t just a legal requirement—it’s also something you need to do, as a professional! You want every person who visits your site to have the best possible experience. At the end of the day, that’s what makes your company such a powerful entity.
There are various conditions that websites need to meet to ensure compliance with ADA Standards for Accessible Design. However, it is often easier, faster and more cost-effective to take advantage of a service.
If you are using WordPress to build websites, there are various accessibility plugins that you can use.
It’s time to start using this web design trend. The sooner you act, the better your site will function for customers with disabilities.
Here are some ways you can improve accessibility on your website:
- Optimize for keyboard navigation by adding focus indicators.
- Make clear distinction between text and backgrounds. Ensure the color contrast ratio is at least 7:1 (using a contrast checker tool).
- Add functional alt tags for images.
- Ensure enough spacing around the screen readers across multiple devices.
- Use labels and instructions on form fields with better context.
4. Adaptive lead nurture forms
One of the most important elements of a local business website is a lead generation form. We want to get to know a lot about our customers, but we can’t ask too many questions at any particular time.
A good online lead generation form can make a huge difference. Most websites fall short because they don’t ask for everything they need to know, but a form that asks just the right amount of questions increases conversions, sales and revenue.
However, this is changing. More websites are now including dynamic/progressive forms that don’t display too many fields but always adapt to the data that we already know about the leads.
For instance, we might ask the name and email address at the first conversion and then ask the phone number, title, company size, and revenue of this contact at the next conversion opportunity.
5. Chatbots becoming human-like
Chatbots became a global trend in 2017 and will continue to be popular in 2022. Machine learning and AI are becoming more sophisticated, which will make chatbots more capable of simpler tasks like solving customer queries and “personal shopping.”
Researchers and analysts agree that chatbots are one of the most exciting trends in AI today. Chatbots can answer simple, straightforward questions such as how to set up a new email account or help with troubleshooting an issue with your laptop.
As these chatbots continue to evolve and grow, they will simplify even more complex processes (such as purchasing a car). This will help local businesses save money and time when it comes to customer support and make the customer experience more satisfying.
6. Faster Page Load Speed
As the competition continues to intensify and internet browsing speed becomes critical to conversion, web performance really matters.
Studies have shown that 50% of users expect a website to load within 2 seconds when clicking through an ad, and they are likely to leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
As such, it’s important to place emphasis on faster page load speeds when designing a website, creating a new page or updating existing ones.
Google recognizes the importance of faster websites and in 2021, it already confirmed that Core Web Vitals will become a search ranking factor with the Page Experience Update. What this implies is that despite creating quality content, the technical side of SEO will also be given equal prominence.