top 10 web and marketing trends for 2014

The face of web design and online marketing has become an ever-changing landscape. Two days will never be the same in this day and age.

If you’ve started running around like a headless chicken, then stop! Thunderbolt has compiled our top 10 web design & marketing trends for 2014 to give you a little peace of mind.

1: Connected Devices

connected devices

Have you ever walked down the street to find masses of people staring at their phones and not looking where they’re going? It goes to show how much of an impact these little nifty devices have had on our lives.

By the year 2020, there is estimated to be over 24 billion connected devices across the globe. A current superpower and pioneer in this field is Nike, a front-runner for this current generation of mobile and connected devices. This is down to merging smartphones with a wristband, whilst interacting with your smartphone or device providing custom insights for the consumer.

This is the time when marketers need to put on their thinking caps! We use these devices for mobile payments, social networking, online education, fitness, and connection to in-car stereos, whilst presenting regular opportunities for businesses to provide a tailored and engaging experience.

2: Content Marketing

3x leads - content marketing

OK, content marketing isn’t new, but it’s always been the driving force behind developing and obtaining new traffic. Content marketing is likely to produce three times the amount of leads than traditional forms of marketing.

We know the web has become socially focused, which is changing the industry with increasing pace. This rapid evolution across the web now requires a new approach in the form of a two-way dialogue with your end users.  In this day and age, it’s not enough just to purchase advertising space or create press releases to sell your product and services.

It is time to listen to your consumers: highlighting your interests & influences. Building public trust is key and can develop long-term relationships with key accounts and new leads.

3: Sponsored content is key for brands and businesses for revenue growth

Sponsored Content

As we touched on above, content marketing is a vital revenue stream for your business in the foreseeable future. There are vast amounts of content which can be curated and distributed over the web, through the likes of social media platforms and blogs etc.

Sponsored content can come from a multitude of sources from advertising on Linkedin, Facebook & Twitter. It’s worth considering paying close attention to your investment in sponsored content to drive further traffic, visibility and conversions towards your business’s audience.

If you take a step into the world of PPC you will see that on many SERP’s you will notice most of the first page results are articles from industry leaders or publishers. Why, you might ask? This is due to Google recognising articles from more accurate portals.  This is why more companies are looking into sponsored content, promoting greater visibility for brands and content.

4: Simple apps like Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp will engage more users

Simple Apps

With simple applications now staking a claim within the social media market with the likes of Instagram which has become one of the most familiar and utilised apps across the world. Instagram boasts an audience of over 150 million users sharing over 16 billion photos a day along with an ever-growing video presence.

With simple applications constantly growing with the likes of Snapchat and WhatsApp, these are applications that continue to trend with generation-Y.

These apps have had great success due to allowing peers to communicate with one another in diverse, unique and un-monetized channels.

So how can a business capitalise on these applications I hear you ask? Well, there are opportunities for businesses and brands to start integrating these systems to show a more personable side of the business. It is a great way to create a community around the business.

Early adopters will have a higher fighting chance of making their mark before the platforms become over saturated.

Remember that strategy is key and integrating these simple apps alongside other prominent social platforms is a delicate process, to begin with.

5: The ever-increasing spend on paid social advertising

Social Advertising

Online marketers will always seek to invest in the most active areas of the business in which the audience is regularly engaging but also to see the most effective ROI for the company.  Facebook’s news feed adverts boast a 21% increase in click-through rates over generic retargeting adverts.

Paid social advertising allows you to target your audience easily. Due to adverts being fed into news feeds the end user is more likely to interact and convert with the advert over traditional retargeting marketing forms.

6:  Simple, Sleek, Grid Layouts

Grid Layouts

The user experience and journey should always come first for any website. Using a grid style layout provides a simple yet effective user experience, as demonstrated by early adopters of the approach including Pinterest and Tumblr, both of whom boast these elements.

Using grid styled layouts keeps content concise, compact and easy to read! 

7: Tailored and focused landing pages

Focused Landing Pages

You need to stand out from all other competition within your business sector, right? A great way to do this is through the use of focused landing pages that provide simple and clear communication to the end user. Focus on one service or product. Keep it simple, stupid!

Landing page inspiration

8: Quick user registration or checkout

Quick Checkout Process

Creating a quick registration process or guest account facility on your website is a great way to allow users to skim through the registration process, through the simple requirement of only two or three fields of information.

The quicker and easier the process for the end user, the better chance at a successful conversion.

9: Mega Navigation Menus

Mega Navigation

A lot of testing went into menu structures over the past few months, with many different brands and companies dipping their toes in the water, covering all kinds of menu variations. One such menu structure that stood out from the crowd, is mega navigation. It features rich media and subtle excerpts or titles, allowing users to quickly scan through content.

10: Unique web styled content

Styled Fonts

Have you heard about the @font-face advancement?  Having the ability to style and customise any font on your website is a very powerful technique, helping your website to stand out from the mass of cookie-cutter designs.

This has allowed font files to be hosted locally and externally. These fonts are defined with CSS code and style your webpage text.

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Thunderbolt Infographic