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The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate and consume information. Currently, there are 1.94 billion websites since the first-ever website on the Internet published on August 6, 1991.

We use the Internet to access information, go shopping, explore opportunities, and make connections that would be otherwise impossible. As we move towards the 20th year of the 3rd millennium  (it is only 208 days away, or 6 months from now), it is indisputable that websites are vital parts of our lives. As people live longer and technology becomes more accessible, below are some of the topics that are on the forefront.

6 Website and Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

  1. Mobile-First

Long gone are the days when we had to sit down at a desktop computer to access the Internet. With all the mobile technology (smartphones, many iPads, and tablets, wearable technology) hitting the market regularly, we now have access to the Internet anywhere and anytime. As mobile internet usage has been steadily increasing over the years while desktop declines, most companies recognize the NEED for a responsive website. Now that over 60% of web traffic is coming from mobile devices, many industry leaders are opting for mobile-first design over responsive.

Mobile-first design takes your site beyond working on mobile devices to offer a truly tailored mobile experience. By 2020, there will be no place for websites that are not catering to their mobile audience. Is your website mobile ready?

  1. Accessibility

Accessible websites are designed to work with assistive technologies, like screen readers, to give users with disabilities access to the same products, information, services that are available to everyone. Your website should not require users to hear, see, or utilize a mouse. If it does, you may be alienating up to 20% of potential users. Additionally, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and ensures “equal enjoyment” of goods and services available at public accommodations – including websites. This means that legally, your website must be accessible to everyone.

If you wait till 2020 to upgrade to an accessible website, it may be too late.

  1. Brand Storytelling

A blog by One Story states that around 92% of consumers want brands to make their advertisements feel like a story. People are increasingly skeptical of big promises and banner advertisements. They feel more driven to spend money on a brand’s narrative or story.

Mostly, audiences are looking for content that’s useful and relevant to them at a particular stage of their life. They want content to speak to them. For words to leap off the page, showcasing why a product or service could transform their very existence.

A carefully crafted story takes users on a journey that they don’t want to end. If a consumer feels good when interacting with your brand, it can increase sales and interaction.

  1. Dynamic Content

In the context of web design and development, dynamic content refers to content on a website that changes depending on user interactions. This means that two people visiting the exact same webpage might see completely different content based on things like what they did last time they were on the page, what time of day it is, or where they are located. Facebook is an example of a dynamic website.

Obviously, dynamic content is not new, but it is not being used to its fullest potential.

  1. Security

Long gone are the days when security was optional unless you were taking payments through your website. Thanks to the blunders of big corporations like Facebook, consumers are paying more attention now than ever before to where they spend their time on the Internet. We expect to see that green padlock in the URL address bar on every website we visit. Not only does the padlock (or lack thereof) signal a safe website, its evolved into a symbol of trust that has the potential to reflect positively (or negatively) on a business – even beyond their presence on the web. We can thank Google Chrome for this.

  1. Voice Search

Google claims 50% of searches will be conducted using voice search by 2020. Voice search is users using their voice via a device, usually a phone or home assistant to make a query via a search engine or digital assistant.

Consumers are being trained by the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple to just shout out their needs and expect expedited local solutions to accommodate them. Voice search growth statistics have exploded with smart speaker devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Homepod.  And people are not afraid of the machine anymore; they have gone beyond a period of discomfort and hesitance and into a place of comfort and instantaneous gratification.

If your website is not utilizing search engine best practices, then you have tons of work to do.

The future of the Internet is being influenced by new technology, changing social dynamics, and the next generation of digital natives. In next year, these six trends will be commonplace.

Christine Laikind, founder of SCS Digital Marketing caters to professional keynote speakers, business coaches, and industry partners. She is also an advocacy speaker on web accessibility. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and going through the Smokey Mountains on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.