If you do any type of web surfing at all, I’m sure you’ve noticed the trend toward websites that go all the way across the screen and have multiple sections on the home page. Some of the sections might stay still while the page seems to scroll over them. We call those websites, “parallax” websites. What do you think about them? Do you like them?
I do like them. To a point.
First, it’s a very modern look and we all want our websites to look modern. But you have to be careful that modern doesn’t equal trendy. Trendy website can be costly because they will need to be redone every few years to keep up with the current trend. If you’re the type who likes a new car every two years, then you may want a new website that often also.
If you are like me and drive your car until you absolutely NEED a new car, then you’ll probably be happier with a more traditional style website.
So how can you get the trendy feel in a classic website that won’t have to be redone as soon as something new comes into style?
Let’s talk about the current trend for a minute – the wide sites. I believe that’s a trend that’s here to stay. With people on all different sized devices, a wide, one-column design translates well on all of them. And the large, “hero” image at the top of most of them can be made to scale down to fit smaller devices.
What’s not so great about the trend is that there is little actual content on a home page that relies heavily on pictures. You also have to be sure that so many images on one page doesn’t slow your page load down. Yes, Google still takes page load time into account when ranking your site, but more importantly, your web visitor won’t wait for a slow-moving site.
To keep your site classic and timeless, make sure…
- You have a regular navigation bar at the top of the page. A trendy site has a hamburger menu. A classic one has an old fashioned menu.
- That at least one of your sections relies heavily on actual text and not just images. This is for both your web visitor and for Google. I would do this even if you have a more trendy site. You can’t rely on image-naming for all your keywords. Well, technically you can. But I wouldn’t.
- That if you use one of those large, “hero” images at the top of your home page, that visitors know there is content below it. Just because a large image is the current trend doesn’t mean that people will automatically know that you have more content coming. Remember when we used to put all the important stuff “above the fold”? Now that hugely important area is only one image. The good thing about the hero area above the fold is that we have to be super-concise about the content that is there. No more filling the space with a ton of unnecessary info and optin boxes.
Some ways that you can show more info coming is: by using arrows, by having an image that is cut off so people have to scroll to see the whole thing, or by having the hero image stop and having text peek out from below.
Trends on their way out:
Slideshows. If you have one, it doesn’t automatically mean you need a new website. It depends on where it was and what it’s use was. Marketers found out that people don’t like to wait for the slides so they were pretty much ineffective so buh-bye slideshow.
Textures and raised edges are out. Flat is in. I believe shadows are classic though. I love using shadows to enhance certain areas. Shadows are timeless – not in a Birkenstocks type of timeless. At least I hope not anyway.
Again, i am not saying that trendy is bad. Trends happen because we are getting better. We know what’s working and what isn’t. Just know that trendy may be out of fashion soon, leaving you needing a new site.
Lastly, the one trend that is here to stay is making sure your site is mobile responsive and that it is usable on all size devices. You can test your site here to see if it meets Google’s standards for mobile responsiveness https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.