Don’t just take a leap of faith that your new or refreshed website will be a success. Applying these 2021 hot web design trends can provide a foundation for building a site that will help search engines find you, attract high-quality leads, grow sales, and provide visitors with a positive experience.
These 12 hot web design trends for 2021 will give you a strong foundation for creating a website that achieves your marketing objectives.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #1.
The Need for Speed
People have very little patience for a website that’s slow to load. To begin with, 40% of users abandon sites that take longer than three seconds (source: Kissmetrics), and most (70-96%) will never return (source: Entrepreneur). A speedy website boosts organic search rankings, helps retain visitors, increases return visits, and improves your ability to compete. As you work on your website, think about how you can increase speed by, for example, removing seldom-used features, optimizing media size, and considering how your back-end systems affect speed.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #2.
Security is Everything
In the first half of 2019 alone, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records (source: Risk-Based). Phishing scams, ransomware, and social engineer attacks are just some of the tactics used by ever-more sophisticated cyber-thieves. Research from Gemalto found that 70% of customers would stop doing business with a company after a data breach, plus you risk significant fines and lawsuits. Be sure to use a secure hosting company, implement strong passwords, use malware protection, and take other steps to reduce security vulnerabilities.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #3.
The Popularity of WordPress
Gone are the days when all websites were built by nerdy coders in windowless cubicles. Anyone can build a site with WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and other do-it-yourself website platforms. With so many low-cost and even free DIY options, small businesses and “solopreneurs,” can easily start building a digital footprint by leveraging built- in tools for SEO, analysis, social media posts, and more—especially taking advantage of an almost endless supply of plugins. If you want to ramp it up, developers and graphic designers can adjust your WordPress site in endless ways, to your specifications.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #4.
WordPress versus Custom Development
If WordPress is so versatile, why do people still choose to have custom-developed sites? DIY sites today are so flexible that it’s a valid question. Still, there are pros and cons to each, and it’s a matter of exploring relevant factors, such as:
- Creation and Maintenance: Consider the technical expertise of the people who will be creating, adding to, and maintaining the site. Determine how far do you want to deviate from a DIY template, as well as what type of ongoing maintenance will you need.
- Control: With WordPress, you are in control of all the elements—timeframe for completing the site, the process for making content changes, and adjusting other elements without relying on a developer’s timeframe—and without added costs every time you make a change.
- Goals and Specifications: Depending on your marketing objectives, learn if you can modify your desired WordPress theme to achieve the design and functionality you want. Determine if you can make those adjustments yourself or if you’ll need to hire a developer.
- Cost: No question…WordPress is the way to go.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #5.
You have probably published more and more content over time, at an ever-increasing rate. Dealing with all of that content can get messy. Content Management Systems (CMS) help you efficiently create, optimize, publish, and logically manage the administration of it all, including:
- Determining who can make changes to your site
- Managing whether content is in draft mode, published, and if it is visible to the public
- Seeing when content was changed, viewing previous versions, and restoring older versions
- Controlling how content is connected and insuring that dependent elements are in synch
- Finding and grouping specific pieces of content
- Responding to and nurturing leads
Easy-to-use (and often free) CMS systems found in DIY platforms like WordPress provide ways for marketers to stay organized and automatically perform a wide range of CMS functions, without needed excessive technical expertise. Developers and those more technically oriented can get even more functionality with free, open-source CMS systems, such as Drupal and Joomla.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #6.
Scalability & Growth
As your business and functionality needs grow, your website needs to grow with you to handle bursts of traffic (such as on Black Friday), keep your site from getting bogged down, or crashing entirely. Without scalability, the user’s experience suffers and you can lose leads and sales. Scalability is especially critical for the exploding use of mobile apps. Popular ways to scale up include moving to cloud-based solutions, using flexible e-commerce platforms (such as WordPress), and ditching legacy systems.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #7.
Content is King + Queen
The phrase “Content is King” may be overused, but it doesn’t make it any less true—especially with the proliferation of blogs and social media. Content marketing is at the center of the marketer’s digital world, with 72% of marketers saying that content marketing increases engagement (source: Content Marketing Institute). Rather than annoying people with messages they don’t want, content marketing is “inbound,” attracting an interested, information-seeking audience—for better traffic, leads, and sales.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #8.
Designing for the User First
Websites are now inbound hubs that need to, first and foremost, serve the visitors we rely on. We need to give them what they came for—not just feed them information we want them to know. The new priority is to create a positive user experience (UX) that makes each visitor interaction as useful, seamless, and enjoyable as possible. UX starts with easy, fast access to the site, and goes through each leg of the journey while responding to the user’s behavior on the site. UX encompasses functionality, navigation and structure, the ease of finding appropriate information, aesthetics, readability, and overall enjoyment.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #9.
Building for SEO
Without optimizing content for SEO, websites performance plummets, and all your good work can simply get lost in the ether. Here are some facts illustrating that SEO (search engine optimization) is serious business:
- In 2019, organic search traffic delivered 53% of site traffic, as compared to only 15% from paid online ads (source: BrightEdge).
- The average traffic share generated by sites listed on the first page of Google search results is 91.5% (source: Chitika).
- Over 40%of revenue is captured by organic traffic (source: BrightEdge).
Whether you or a developer are building your site, and regardless of who creates your content, it’s imperative to educate yourself on the basics. WordPress and other DIY sites are increasing their SEO capabilities to meet demand, and it’s up to users to learn how to make the most of it—or discuss SEO functionality and administration with your website developer.
SEO is also constantly changing, from Google’s updates happening several times a year, to your competitors always improving their own SEO strategy to beat you to the top. Some of the new suggestions for improved SEO for 2021 include the importance of local SEO, voice search, mobile friendliness, and image and video related SEO.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #10.
You can’t argue with the fact that making your website accessible to the most people will maximize its power. Don’t lose the potential of reaching the 19% of people with vision, hearing, motion, speech, and learning impairments (source: US Census data). That’s where inclusive design enters the picture. In addition to accommodating those with permanent disabilities, you’ll also broaden your reach to:
- People using mobile phones, smartwatches, and different input modes—such as keyboards, microphones, trackballs, and digital cameras.
- Older people with changing abilities as a result of aging
- Users with slow internet connections or limited bandwidth.
- Those in fast-changing situations, such as moving through various levels of sunlight.
- Users who temporarily can’t use both hands, such as when driving a car or in certain professions.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #11.
Proactive Maintenance + Web Support Partners
Small businesses and solopreneurs generally don’t have an IT department or developer on hand for daily website maintenance, including application updates, security issues, and other systems problems. For the most part, that’s okay if your site doesn’t have to manage complex data or highly sophisticated functionality. However, even a low maintenance site requires some degree of ongoing maintenance to keep it secure, increase reliability, back up content, and keep it up to date—and these elements are increasingly important. Planning upfront for ongoing maintenance ultimately saves you time and money, while supporting the user experience. Plus, a site that works well frees you up to focus on your other responsibilities.
Hot Web Design Trends for 2021 #12.
The Rise of eCommerce
eCommerce continues to grow at a stupefying rate. Roughly four out of five Americans are now online shoppers, with half shopping with mobile devices (source: Pew Research). And the numbers keep going up and up. Today, even companies that never considered themselves an “ebusiness” have had to explore online sales simply to stay in business. Being competitive isn’t easy when you’re competing against behemoths like Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, and other giant sites. It all boils down to creating a unique site that potential and current customers will love, love, love. Some recommendations include optimizing for mobile, increasing security, focusing on local areas, and providing meaningful interactions with service reps.
How Will You Apply these 2021 Website Trends?
Website trends continually change and shift over time, and it can be hard to keep up.
How you apply these trends largely depends on your goals, staff expertise, time, initial investment costs, and ongoing maintenance needs.
Researching DIY sites and talking to a web design and digital marketing agency can help you figure out what road to take.