7 Must-Haves for Websites in 2019 and Beyond

Gone are the days when it was sufficient to simply have a website that looks good and functions on all devices. In 2019, it’s not enough for your business to have a website that dazzled potential and current customers seven, five, or even three years ago. 

Technology is always changing and users have higher expectations for how a website is supposed to serve them, so it’s important your website meets these current user expectations and adopts the latest best practices to stay competitive.

Stay ahead of the curve by reading these seven website must-haves for 2019 and beyond that can deliver growth for your business in the online world.

Value-Add Content

Your potential clients are being bombarded with content. Between videos, webinars, blog posts (like this one), memes, podcasts, guides, whitepapers and infographics, your website users are probably feeling content fatigue before they even land on your website. That’s why you need to plan and execute value-add content in 2019 and beyond.

The content you create, or hire someone else to create, needs to build trust and demonstrate industry thought-leadership. Creating content that provides value to your website visitors is the only way to cut through the clutter and give your audience what they need. Your mediums should be diverse to appeal to the various ways people absorb content.

Bonus Tip: If your website already has a lot of content, or you’re planning on it in the future, but sure to use back up buttons on webpages. Make navigating easy by sprinkling “Back to the top” buttons throughout the content on your webpages.

Robust Hosting

Simply put, hosting is the service that allows your website to live on the Internet. Creating a stunning, user-friendly website without robust website hosting is like taking a Corvette off-roading in the mud – you’re going to get stuck.

Limited bandwidth, inadequate hosting structure and security vulnerabilities are just some of the factors that can slow down customers and create a poor user experience. The proper hosting environment should be determined based on your specific website’s technology and functionality. Professional website developers with experience hosting websites are the folks to turn to when you’re wondering which hosting service will be best for your updated or new website.

CRM and Marketing Automation Integration 

With today’s technology, a conversion such as an online purchase or download should trigger customer data being transferred and tracked. The next step in the business workflow should be initiated without a single member of your staff touching a keyboard.

Integrating your website with your organization’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing Automation (MA), e-commerce shopping cart, and/or other processing systems is a key success differentiator. Website planning should always consider and address these integrations to boost efficiency and properly organize and segment customer information.

Bonus tip: Chatbots are a great way to kick-off those automatic processes. Use a customized messaging tool (it usually pops up in the bottom-right corner of participating websites) to quickly answer common questions from users. Chatbots replicate personal interaction and reduce your need to respond to every single message from website visitors at the beginning of the sales cycle.

HTTPS

That little lock symbol next to the address bar of some websites isn’t just for decoration. Every website that displays that lock holds an SSL Certificate. As a result, the beginning of the website’s URL starts with HTTPS, instead of HTTP. A URL beginning with HTTPS assures users the website is secure while also signaling to search engines the website is secure.

So what does that mean for your website? In 2019 and beyond, search engines like Google are more inclined to favor HTTPS websites because search engines aim to give users the best and most secure experience possible. Ensure your users and search engines know you take website security seriously by getting an SSL certificate.

Speed through CDN

Search engines like Google are putting more emphasis on page load speeds when ranking websites than ever before. Content being served up to mobile devices accounts for half of all website traffic on average. Slower mobile connection speeds mean page load times must be optimized to provide the best user experience and search ranking results.

One of the ways to ensure your website is fast (we’re talking loading times of less than 3 seconds) is to incorporate a Content Delivery Network, or CDN. A CDN allows your static content to live on strategically located servers around the world, close to your end users. This is a cost-effective method of speeding up today’s image-rich interactive webpages with content elements such as images, Javascript, and CSS. And with these elements accounting for 70 to 90 percent of the content on any given webpage, you better believe including a CDN is critical for reducing download times and increasing webpage load times.

Micro Interactions

You see them while navigating around up-to-date websites and interacting with the latest apps, but you may not know they had a word. Micro interactions are small, humanizing events on a webpage or app. They’re inviting and memorable and make webpages feel less static. A micro interaction could be a horizontal bar gaining more color as each step in a process is taken. It could be an icon wiggling as a mouse cursor hovers or it could be arrows subtly blinking to signal the user to scroll down.

Micro interactions are not the most important elements of a website, but they serve to boost user experience. As time marches on, micro interactions will become less of a novelty and more of an expectation from users.

Accessibility

It’s increasingly important for your website to be accessible to people who are visually or hearing impaired, or who need technological assistance to navigate a website. Think about people who need devices to read the words on a website out loud or need to navigate a website using keyboard shortcuts instead of using a mouse.

If your business has at least 15 employees and operates 20 or more weeks in a year, your website needs to be assessable to people with disabilities as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s critical to incorporate these accessibility measures when updating or creating a new website to meet compliance regulations and not to exclude customers or potential customers just because they consume information differently than others.

The Takeaway

Websites need to be scalable and should incorporate the latest innovations to meet customer expectations. If your website doesn’t include these features detailed above or is older than three years, we can help. Bayshore Solutions has been creating industry-leading websites for more than 20 years.

Call 866-352-4791 or email info@bayshoresolutions.com to learn about our website design and development services.