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Ah, 2016. The year of Harambe, a Chicago Cubs World Series win, and the Rio summer Olympics. It’s also the year we gave you some key 2016 web design standards that were must-follows for any new or updated website.

But, as you probably know now, the digital landscape of SEO and web design changes constantly. Some standards from 2016 still hold true (which we will go over here). However, there are some new standards and practices that you should know about. 

Keep reading as we give you an update of the best web designs and standards from 2019. Let’s start with some standards that have stood the test of time and are still relevant today before we work into some of the bigger changes from the past three years.

Responsive Mobile Friendly Design

What we said in 2016 still holds true today in 2019: your site design must pay attention to Google’s mobile friendliness requirements and the responsive web design wave sweeping the industry. 

Currently, it’s estimated that over 70% of web traffic occurs on a mobile device. This percentage has only increased as the years have gone on, which has made responsive mobile friendly design less of an add-on benefit and more of a standard requirement as we move forward. 

In a single year alone there was an 88% increase in time people spend on their smartphone devices, which again goes to show how important it is (especially in 2019) to update and optimize your site for mobile use.

Content Management System

What we said in 2016 still rings true: a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, .Net, Shopify, and others help organize your site content in a way that’s easy for you to manage and easy for users to consume. 

A good CMS will let you publish new content and edit existing pages at will. This does a few things for you in 2019. 

First, it will help you update old pages, posts, and information that you probably haven’t looked at in a few months (or years). This will allow you to easily update your entire site to fit current digital marketing standards and practices as well as update your audience on the most accurate and current information.

A good CMS will also make it much easier to add new content, rearrange things to fit current design standards, add in new keywords or phrases, and more. It will also keep things looking correctly formatted, fresh, and professional.

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Web Forms for Lead Integration

Web forms are some of the most important tools for digital marketing that you should have installed in 2016 and kept all these years. Web forms integrated into your website allows you to capture customer emails, information, phone numbers, and more for both lead nurturing campaigns, lead generation and/or direct sales leads. 

For it to work, though, your website design must capture this information and organize it properly for you and your sales team to be able to use the leads. 

For this, you’ll need a good CRM (customer relationship management) system that can easily organize the names, emails, and phone numbers you get from these forms for you to easily act on and push those leads through your sales funnel.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Since the dawn of Google, search engine optimization (SEO) has been extremely important for all websites, businesses, and marketing campaigns. So, SEO is still a key 2019 web design standard just as it was in 2016.

The difference, though, is the actual SEO strategies that you should implement. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, automated link building tactics, huge amounts of paid links, overwhelming amounts of information on each page, and pushing out huge quantities of not-so-great content. 

SEO strategies can change in a heartbeat and they’ve definitely changed since 2016. Even if you followed our advice in 2016 with SEO implementation, you’re going to need to constantly update and change things to adjust to the trends and changing search engine algorithms on a regular basis.

In 2019, you’ll want to focus on building high quality links, a few properly placed keywords in each post, integration of video, improved user experience and readability, optimizing for voice searches, and more. Keep yourself updated and informed on all the latest SEO tips by reading some of our recent SEO articles.

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Social Media Integration

Not only in social media a critical factor for your SEO strategy, it’s also going to be huge for your lead generation, brand recognition, and almost all aspects of your online website/business. 42% of the world population uses social media, so it’s almost a no brainer in terms of using it for your website. And while we did recommend this back in 2016, certain details have changed. 

For example, Instagram was relatively new in 2016 with about 500 million monthly users. Today in 2019, though, it boasts over 1 billion monthly users. This has shifted many strategies and integration campaigns to focus more heavily on Instagram along with the other constant heavy hitters like Facebook and Twitter. 

Other top 2016 sites have fallen by the wayside. For example, Tumblr used to be one of the most popular social media sites with millions of active blogs. After a ban of certain content in late 2018, Forbes predicted the “Tumblocalypse” as users turned away from the platform.

In short: social media has been, and still is, one of the most important aspects of any website. But, you need to be aware of which social media sites to use, which are going to benefit your site, and which you should avoid wasting your time on. 

Bots and Machine Learning 

This wasn’t on our 2016 list, but, in our opinion, it’s now an essential part of any website. Machine learning and conversational AI has transformed websites and opened up unique and amazing possibilities for you and your audience. 

Users want their questions answered promptly and from the expert in that field (aka you and your website) and now you can offer that with chatbots and conversational chat AI directly on the site. These bots can also aid with lead generation, assisting consumers, and even improving your website’s design overall. You could eliminate lengthy pages that are bogging your website down and replace with conversational AI that’s changing the game.

In fact, it’s estimated that over 80% of businesses are going to be using some sort of machine learning and/or chatbot feature in the next year alone; adding conversational AI/chatbots to your website is going to quickly become a standard that you can’t afford to not implement yourself as audiences are beginning to expect their presence.

A 2019 Web Design Standard Update: Wrapping Up

This has been a brief update on our old 2016 article (well, “old” in terms of digital marketing and website design!) to bring you up to speed on some important web design standards that you should implement into your site ASAP.

We know that staying updated on all of the latest trends in the industry can be overwhelming, so hopefully these 2019 web design standards were easy to follow and update from the 2016 standards. 

Need a bit more help implementing these new strategies? Contact us and we can answer any questions and even help you get started.

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