What are the Web Design Trends for 2017?

The web is a rapidly evolving space. Technologies and development techniques can appear quickly. Ever improving tools allow for greater freedom when designing interfaces and interactions. And because of this, web design patterns and techniques can begin to trend within a short period of time.

Below is a list of web design trends to keep in mind during 2017. Some of them are new to 2017, some are styles that have been gaining and/or maintaining their popularity during 2016 which are expected to continue to be in common use for new websites launched in 2017.

Colours (especially duotones)

So, what are going to be the colour trends for 2017? Pantone has unveiled their 2017 colour of the year – Greenery. It’s been chosen as a symbol of new beginnings; a refreshing and revitalising shade. I don’t expect every website in 2017 to be green, but I’m sure there will be several web designs inspired by this. If you’re looking for inspiration regarding colour combinations, you can view some of Pantone’s recommended colour pairings on their Colour of 2017 page.

Geometric Design

A trend we’ve been seeing much more throughout late 2016, we can definitely see it continuing into 2017. There are various ways in which geometric shapes have made their way into websites. Be it the use of circles around images, photos that are geometric heavy, or the overall design of the site relies heavily on the use of lines and patterns.

Web Design

(Credit: Sequence)

Bold, Creative Typography

Fonts this year will get in your face and make you notice. Minimalism is out, big is in. Expect large, bold fonts to create a captivating and powerful visual, to inform you of what the section you are going to read is about without having to read the small copy.

Web Design

(Credit: Anyways)

 

Modular Design

We have seen a large trend of using custom grids, breaking away from the normal and using the canvas as a way of capturing attention and displaying only vital information that you want the user to take in, rather than scroll past because there is just too much content to read.

Web Design

(credit: Cantina Negrar)

 

Designed for Mobile sites

With Google’s big announcement last year that it will penalise any websites not optimised for mobile, alongside the fact that more people are using mobile search than ever before, it’s not surprising we expect to see design for mobile- simple, bold and easily stackable information.

Web Design

 

Progressive Web Apps

A website that acts like an app, basically. Apps have taken over from most websites with the introduction of smart phone and tablets, so it makes sense that website trends are heading in the direction of an app like design. If you’re wondering exactly what a progressive web app is, there’s more information here.

(Credit: Addyosmani)

 

2017 is sure to see some great websites, and these design trends will most definitely be seen on some of the best website designs yet to come.

If you need a website designing, some inspiration or just fancy a chat about upcoming website trends, get in contact or visit our website here.

Virtual Assistants

How Virtual Assistants like Siri and Google will impact your SEO

The Rise of the Virtual Assistants

There’s been quite a noise over the last couple of years with regard to the kinds of virtual assistants that are slowly but surely taking over. If you’re one of hundreds of millions of iPhone users, you’ll know yours as Siri. If you’re part of the Google crowd, it’s Google Now. If you’re one of the comparatively few folks with a Windows Phone, you’ll know her as Cortana. And most recently, Amazon’s Alexa started taking over the scene with specific products like Echo Dot made simply for the purpose of becoming your Virtual Assistant.

The ease of the technology coupled with the time it saves means more people than ever before are swapping the written word for a simple voice command. Instead of going to a search engine and typing in a search query, users can now speak their desires. The numbers show exactly which was technology is swinging, where more than half of teenagers and adults use voice searching capabilities frequently and 55% of teens use voice search more than once a day, and those numbers are sure to grow even more in the future.

While users are simply happy to get their information more easily and quickly than ever before, there’s a battle taking place on the other side of the equation. Programs like Siri and Google Now are specifically tailored to respond to verbally entered text, which means there’s potentially a whole new avenue for companies to get noticed. After all, virtual assistants have to get their information from somewhere, making it essential for digital marketers to consider Voice searches in their 2017 search engine optimisation strategies.

As an online business owner, SEO company or digital marketer, you should be asking yourself a few questions:

  1. If users no longer need to click on an actual web page to access information, am I likely to see a decrease in organic search traffic?
  2. How can I deliver the same text-based information from my web pages via voice search?
  3. Speaking of voice, what is my brand’s tone and how do I convey it in as natural language as possible?

The age of relying on writing for robots and keyword stuffing is over, and in its place comes conversational search queries.

Virtual Assistants

Understanding Voice Inquiries

One thing to remember about virtual assistants is that they’re not always asked the same types of questions as your typical search engine. People might want to find out about your business, but they’re not looking for a lengthy blog about an industry topic. They just want basic information – business in the local area, their hours, and their contact information. If they want to read something, they’ll search for it on their home computers when they have free time. The virtual assistant landscape, then, is limited to only the most basic of queries.

Using A Natural Voice

Although you may be used to writing with SEO in mind, it might not be a bad idea to talk with SEO in mind. Verbally discuss the aims of your content. Identify sentences and phrases that link back to what people might search for, and include those very phrases in your copy. Approaching your content and your website copy in this way can have applications that go beyond assistant-based SEO. You may find that a more conversational tone can go a long way towards presenting a friendly face to new and current customers.

Think location first

If your business has a physical presence, it is even more crucial to optimise your content for voice assistants. Voice searches are often on smartphones are usually location-dependent, ending with “nearby” or “near me”, and will display different results based on the searcher’s proximity to your business.  It’s crucial that you make sure your business location is listed on all the major directories (Google, Apple and Bing Maps), and that details such as your hours and phone number are correct.

Include an FAQ page on your website

People use conversational speech when they use voice search, and they often ask questions with common phrases. These phrases include words like “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, and “how”. For example, rather than searching “Samsung VR”, people are more likely to search “What is Samsung VR?” To increase your business’ chances of being picked up by a voice assistant, use an FAQ page on your website with questions that begin with these common phrases, and include conversational answers. You ultimately want to focus on ranking as highly as possible for the questions consumers will ask about your product/service.

 

While voice assistants present a new challenge to marketers, they are also an additional opportunity to reach a target audience. Voice search will continue to grow, making up an estimated half of all searches by 2020. So make sure that you’re continually thinking about the conversation you want to have with your potential customers. Put yourself in their shoes, and act accordingly. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Virtual reality

Is Virtual Reality the future of Social Media?

Social Media – VR crossover

Back in 2014, Facebook bought the most famous virtual reality company in the world- Oculus VR for $2million. And at Facebook’s most recent F8 conference for developers, the company’s executives talked about the concept for “social VR”, in which Facebook would help users have social experiences within virtual worlds.

Social Media VR

By combining the world’s biggest networking company with the world’s biggest virtual reality company, you basically get a hybrid experience where you enter the virtual world via Facebook. Even now, we’re beginning to see this with the introduction of the 360-degree photo experience you can post to your timeline, allowing your entire social circle to experience virtually where you are and what you’re doing; a “virtual update”.

Facebook recently announced the 360-degree feature would be added to Facebook Live, in real time.  It’s the next phase for Facebook video, and the next battleground for video platforms, as competition for audience attention heats up the space.

The future looks to become even more immersive, with virtual hangouts where you can chat with friends as an avatar, giving introverts a chance to shine as we can see occurring in a new study commissioned by Facebook. The study, conducted by Neurons Inc revealed introverts connected best with others in the VR world.

Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said he believes Virtual Reality is where Facebook, and indeed all social media, is heading;

“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person. Imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theatre with your friends anytime you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want.  All these things are going to be possible. And that’s why Facebook is investing so much early on in virtual reality. So we can hope to deliver these types of social experiences.”

Social Media VR

What else can Virtual Reality be used for?

Facebook has also mentioned other big uses they see happening in Virtual Reality. Check out a product before you buy it, see a hotel room before you book, test drive that new car safely, visit a virtual museum, browse a store or learn a new skill with a virtual teacher and simulation. The possibilities give you the world at your fingertips within your own home. It’s not hard to see why many people believe it’s the future.

But it may still be a way off.

The problem with VR right now is that it’s just too expensive and technically complex for most people to access. It’s only once the technology is simplified and made easily accessible for all that it’ll take off.

This is why VR will take time, and why we need stepping stone elements like this to move to the next level. It may not seem like a big deal – the announcement of 360degree Facebook Live, it may feel out of reach for you, as an everyday consumer. But it’s the next important development in evolving our online connectivity to the next level of shared experience.

It’s worth taking note, and considering what the next big content shift will be.

social media

How effective is Social Media?

There are certain companies that are so successful you only need to hear the beginning of a jingle, a graphic or even a colour for their name to come to mind. Christmas is synonymous with Coca-Cola, Meerkats conjure up the compare the market ads and just the colour blue makes me think of Facebook. So how have these companies embedded themselves into our lives? The answer is the money, time and effort they put into advertising and social media.

But how effective is social media? How much importance should you put into it as a growing business? Earlier this week the 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report was published, providing an insight into how NGOs worldwide use online technology to engage their supporters and donors. From this report, Charity Digital News created an infographic to highlight how effective organisations think different forms of social media are- and it makes interesting reading.

social media infographic

Around 2/3rds of executive staff support prioritising social media in their online communications and fundraising strategies, finding that email updates, blogging, texting and Social Media platforms are the best way to do this. Through this, they can create online brand awareness, social change, recruit volunteers and event attendees and even fundraise effectively online for their charity. This is with almost no overheads (unlike printed or televised/radio advertising) and most of the work is undertaken by your actual audience through word of mouth, sharing on their own social media or spreading your message across platforms. It’s a win- win for any company.

So why don’t all companies take advantage of this? Well, the infographic explains that half of all executive staff has insufficient knowledge, a third of them don’t want to invest financial or staff resources and 9% of them worry about legal problems resulting from social media.

So what’s the solution? Companies you can outsource your social media to are not only cheaper than using your existing staff or employing someone new, but it also ensures that specialists in social media marketing are in charge, with the knowledge to create the most effective campaigns and the know-how to keep you free of any legal problems.

If you need help with your social media or want to take your digital marketing and online presence to the next level, give us a call on 01484 290100 or check out our website for more information.

missing out, online presence, digital presence, business, online business.

Is Your Business Missing Out?

For most of us, the internet, social media and online shopping are ingrained into our day-to-day lives. We surf the net before work, scroll through social media on our lunch breaks and browse products online before bed. In short, we can’t imagine out life without them. But recent research reveals small businesses are having a detrimental effect- a potential £8.4bn effect to be exact- on the UK economy by not embracing the potential of the web.

In one of Growth Yorkshire’s latest posts, they reported that YouGov research revealed surprisingly 23% of small businesses surveyed have no website, while 40% of organisations who took part in the research have no social media channels to speak of and three-quarters are absent from an online marketplace. What’s more, 57% of small enterprises who lack a website said they had no intentions of changing this fact in 2017.

The effect of the country’s small businesses not getting on board with having a website or social media presence is highlighted in new statistics by Development Economics, commissioned by eBay, which found that the nation’s economy could be a potential £8.4bn larger if the remaining 23% of SMEs who don’t have a basic digital presence closed what has been dubbed the ‘digital gap’.

The research showed small businesses, like the one you might run, who are missing out on having a website, online marketplace and social media channels are missing out on £20.2bn annual revenue. This is equivalent to £20,000 in increased revenue or efficiency savings per business across all sectors.

Many small businesses provided the lack of time, knowledge and security concerns as reasons for not creating and maintaining a website to represent their business in the online arena. Is this the case with you and your business? 

online shopping, eCommerce websites, small business, online presence, digital presence, missing out

Lots of work has been done in Yorkshire over the past few years by global giants to bridge the gap between ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses that exist entirely offline and the power of online marketing and eCommerce websites.

Bids to get Yorkshire’s small business on the long-lasting online and digital bandwagon include Google’s Digital Garage featuring at the Yorkshire Evening News’ Expo Business Conference last October with an insightful Q&A and Presentation with Google Digital Experts and Microsoft and Superfast West Yorkshire offering over 200 Yorkshire businesses help with leveraging social media for leads as part of the ‘big Social Media Show’ held in Leeds during 2015. 

However, at Pivotal we want to do our bit by helping small business in West Yorkshire and beyond unleash their value and potential online. We offer handy and friendly 1-to-1 WordPress Website and Social Media training sessions to boost your knowledge of different online platforms and reach your customers.

You can tap into our smart social media management services so you can get on with doing what you do best while your social media presence is taken care of by us if you’re strapped for time.

Always having our finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest developments in websites and digital marketing, we also offer modern websites that are responsive to mobile devices and SSL certificates that are becoming increasing important to show visitors to your website that your site is secure.

Don’t become another statistic who’s missing from the online world. Stop missing out on revenue, conversions and priceless client relationships. Contact us today for help creating the online digital presence your business deserves!

 

 

Facebook Live Logo

5 Tips for Better Facebook Live Broadcasts

Thinking of going live on Facebook? Wondering how to get the most out of your Facebook Live broadcast?

With Facebook Live, you can show your expertise in real time, take people behind the scenes, and much more.

In this post, you’ll discover five tips to succeed with your next Facebook Live broadcast.

1.   Promote Before You Broadcast

Facebook Live allows you to target your personal network, the fans of a business page (if you’re an admin), a group, or an event. If you can’t find a group or event to meet your needs, consider starting one.

It’s important to let your audience know about your upcoming live video with news feed posts. Experiment with images and perhaps even a short video to tell them about the bigger video to come.

If your live video is important enough, you can boost your announcement posts as paid Facebook ads. Then, remind your audience again right before you go live.

Don’t forget about the world outside of Facebook. Invite your blog readers, email subscribers, and followers from other networks. Include a link to your account, business page, group, or event.

2.   Prepare and Practice

Before you broadcast your live video, you need to do some preparation to ensure that viewers will be able to hear you clearly without distraction, follow your future broadcasts, and participate.

Set Up Your Location

Here are some tips for optimising the location and setup for your live video:

  • Try to minimise background and ambient noise. While users will expect the production quality to be a bit raw and unrehearsed, be sure that they can see and hear you without undue distractions.
  • Decide whether to hold the phone yourself or use some type of mount. You could also delegate the job to a co-worker. For the live video, you can use either the front- or rear-facing camera.
  • Choose a spot that has a strong broadband connection.

Tip: Forward your calls to avoid distractions during your broadcast.

Set a Policy for Instant Feedback

Two new Facebook Live features allow viewers to provide feedback and ask you questions during the broadcast. They can click on the six emoji reactions that replaced the simple like. These will appear for a few seconds onscreen; Facebook compares them to applause and boos.

Users can also comment during the video, so you should decide in advance how and when you will acknowledge your audience. Facebook recommends that you address commenters by name and make it clear how much you appreciate their involvement. If you need to block a user, click on the profile picture next to their comment and select Block.

Do a Practice Video

Before you use Facebook Live for the first time, consider doing a practice run. To get all of the practice time you need, set Facebook’s Who Should See This? Privacy setting to Only Me. You’ll see the live video exactly as it will appear, but no one else will.

To launch your live video, open the Facebook app and go to the personal, business, group, or event page that you want to target. Tap to start a new post and look for the Live icon at the bottom of the screen.

Tap the Live icon and then provide a short description of your video. Put on your SEO hat and create a catchy description that humans will like and that algorithms will be able to parse successfully.

Don’t forget to change the setting back to Public when you’re done.

3.   Be Personable

When you’re ready to broadcast to your audience, start by relaxing, and don’t forget to smile. Make yourself comfortable and the audience will follow.

Introduce yourself and your company and tell the audience what you plan to cover. Unlike a pre-recorded YouTube video, viewers will have no idea of the time commitment involved so help manage their expectations. Encourage comments and other feedback.

Important: Be sure to end your live video with a call to action and tell your audience a bit about your plans for the next video. Ask them to share the archived copy of the video that will be in the timeline. Make sure that they can easily contact you with any follow-up questions.

4.   Optimise your Live Recording

Facebook Live videos are immediately archived, and it’s quite common for archive views to exceed live views.

Add a post-show comment thanking everyone again for watching. Encourage further comments and questions to get more news feed activity and engagement.

You can change the thumbnail, add or change the location and date, provide a longer description, and select a category.

5.   Analyse the Results

Facebook added two new metrics for live videos. You’ll be able to see the total number of people who watched at least a portion of the video, along with a running count of how many viewers you had at different points in time.

This could assist your plans for the length of future videos. Given the attention that Facebook Live is getting, there should be future releases of analytics that provide even more data about the interests and demographics of viewers.

Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and now Facebook have all realised the effectiveness of live video. Facebook is putting a huge emphasis on live video, and they offer the biggest audience. Social media marketers who invest now in live video are essentially partnering with Facebook and stand to see significant long-term gains in their social marketing.

Professional Resources Consultancy, graphic design, Pivotal Web Solutions, portfolio, Huddersfield

Professional Resources Consultancy, Graphic Design, Huddersfield

About the Customer:

Helen Smith of Professional Resources Consultancy is a highly qualified business consultant who specialises in helping business grow and reach their sales potential via mentoring and consultancy services.

Brief:

  • Since Helen embodies her Professional Resources Consultancy brand, use highly professional graphic design to create a logo and website design that reflects Helen’s personality and what she offers from Professional Resources Consultancy.
  • To create a unique and original design that, over time, will become instantly recognisable and synonymous with Helen’s business.
  • Produce a logo with professional graphic design that will withstand the test of time and look great in the future on other mediums, such as business cards and on mobile devices as a real investment in the overall brand.

Professional Resources Consultancy, Graphic Design, Pivotal Web Solutions, Huddersfield, portfolio

Extras:

We have also liaised with Helen and carried out detailed research to product the informative and engaging text for her website.

Get Your Original Digital & Graphic Designs

Call us on 01484 290 100 to discuss new designs, including logos, for your business.

Amanda's Nails, graphic design, Pivotal Web Solutions, portfolio, Brighouse

Amanda’s Nails, Graphic Design, Huddersfield

About the Customer:

Amanda of Amanda’s Nails is a mobile nail technician based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Brief:

  • Design a logo, website, website banner and accompanying stationary and business cards to give Amanda’s Nails a fun, contemporary and fresh look to accurately represent her business.
  • To create a unique and original design that is eye-catching to make Amanda’s Nails stand out.
  • Use professional graphic design to help Amanda create a brand that is consistent and truly reflects her business.

Amanda's Nails, graphic design, portfolio, Brighouse, Pivotal Web Solutions

Testimonial

I had my website rebuilt and redesigned by Phil and Amanda. They did an amazing job. The website is so professional and with the latest software has generated me so much more work. The difference it’s made to my business is phenomenal!! It’s generated me much more work and got my business where it needs to be. I just wish I had looked at a new website sooner. I can’t recommend Phil and his team enough! ! Very professional and nothing is too much trouble. Everyone is always more than happy to help. I also had my new cards designed to match my website and they look so professional I couldn’t be any happier with everything they have done for me!! It’s made my business stronger than ever.

Get Your Original Digital & Graphic Design Services

Call us on 01484 290 100 to discuss new designs for your business.

Securit Hardware, eCommerce website, website design, Pivotal Web Solutions, portfolio

Securit Hardware, eCommerce Website, Brighouse

About the Customer:

Securit is a trademark of M.P.Smith & Co. Ltd who offer best-selling DIY & Builders Hardware items to the ‘wholesale’ market across the UK and Europe from their Distribution Centre in Brighouse.

Brief:

  • An eCommerce website to create an online shopping environment.
  • Responsive to mobile and tablet devices.
  • A practical online portal in which wholesale customers could login and browse Securit Hardware’s catalogue of products and a separate online portal for retail customers to login to search for products.
  • An online platform that is user-friendly and easy to navigate to improve the customer’s online user experience.

Get Your Specialist WordPress Website

Call us on 01484 290 100 to discuss a new WordPess Website for your business.