We’re now in February, which has given me a chance to reflect back at the end of 2009, beginning of 2010 and what I foresee for the remainder of the year and beyond. Below are my top 10 predictions for web trends on the rise for the remainder of the 2010. None of these predictions are earth-shattering, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
- Bing will gain more ground in the search world. Google isn’t going anywhere. Where they continue to take users from is Yahoo. It’s a bit confusing at first how that changes anything, since Microsoft now owns both Bing and Yahoo. What it does setup is a more focused initiative to eventually steal ground from Google. Evolutions in search engines, such as real-time searching (see #10) and handling of social media relevancy (see #9), will determine a lot about where the market share shifts.
- Social Media API’s will find their way onto more homepages. 2009 showed a big increase in the amount of companies listing their social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) on their homepages. API’s, which dynamically display the actual updates and posts from Social Media platforms onto a site, only began to scratch the surface last year though. The drive for more dynamic and updated content will feed this growth.
- Social Media will become more deeply rooted in online strategies. The companies that were ahead of the curve have already been doing this for much of 2008 and 2009 with fantastic results. The trend that is going to increase is the rest of the web world starting to catch up. Even the organizations who setup their Social Media platforms recently are often finding they don’t know how to make the best use of them or run an effective online strategy based on them. I compare this to companies getting basic web site up in the late 1990’s. Many of them knew they wanted to be online, but didn’t know why or how to capitalize on their site. I see companies becoming much more educated and creative with Social Media this year.
- Online advertising increases and become more diversified. The prediction of online advertising increases is a no-brainer. The interesting part will be the diversification. Companies are no longer just looking at just Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Advertising. Social Media Advertising and online video advertisement are just a couple examples of evolving online marketing strategies.
- Cleaner and more to the point designs. Web 2.0 already started to enforce this design trend. It’s big headings and effective use of negative space. As things become more real-time and concise, design and layouts need to be to the point so users can skim. The days of reading are long over (if they ever truly existed) and skimming is king. We live in a Twitter-like world, say it quickly and now!
- Increased usage of custom font embedding. There won’t be a big visual change with this one, but what will improve is searchability of sites. Web sites by default only allow for a handful of web-safe fonts. To achieve creative designs, the fonts designers wanted to use would just be put into graphics, with the down side being graphics are not searchable. That’s starting to change as newer technologies are allowing for the insertion of rich typography without sacrificing search engine friendliness.
- Traditional advertising will continue to lose ground. That may be another no-brainer. It’s interesting to visually see where that is happening though. See the chart below. Pay particular attention to the ground continuing to be lost by the Yellow Pages.
- Conversion rate optimization will gain more attention. We’ve known for years the value of tracking web statistics. With so many free options out there (i.e. Google Analytics), the percentage of sites tracking results has gone through the roof. What still lacks is organizations looking at this data and actually doing something with it. With the increase of social media platforms and the importance of getting return on the online marketing dollars being spent, I see there being a major increase in the attention conversion rates found in the web statistics get.
- Google will continue to increase ranking importance on Facebook and Twitter activity. Google, as well as others like Bing, are constantly evolving their search algorithms. Google has already started to place importance on social media usage, but there is still a ways to go. The challenge is recognizing the significance of real-time media while filtering out the noise and junk information that gets posted every second of the day.
- Google will start indexing and evaluating sites quicker. Google still has on their website they take several weeks to index new pages for search engine results. As the web goes more real-time, search engines need to keep up. It’s not quite that simple though. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is a lot of information out there and the potential to sacrifice quality for time relevant results. Search engine results will do us little good if you will need to click through thirty different results to find something that relates to what you are looking for. The advent of personalized searching may play a big part in this. If searches can start to determine how you personally like to search, they can start to overcome this obstacle. Therein lays one of the biggest factors about who will dominate the search world in the next couple years. Whoever figures it out first (and best) will have a huge advantage.
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