Look for big changes on the Web in 2012 as competition increases and companies take risks to increase market share. Business leaders must stay current and adjust their strategies to drive results online. Here are five trends to focus on this year.
1. Changes at Google
The world’s largest search engine is making two major changes in 2012. More weight on new and relevant content for search ranking results and social media growth with Google+. Those that take advantage of these changes early will get listed higher in search results.
Action Plan: Write new and relevant content including a company blog. Set-up a company profile page on Google+.
2. Growth of Social Media Profile Pages
Social media Websites are competing for new subscribers they can keep on their site for as long as possible. This has lead to business profile pages and content strategies as a way to compete for social media users. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and the emerging Google+ are all using this strategy to grab market share.
These are not personal pages, but business profile pages and will need a strategy, updated and relevant content and stats monitoring.
Action Plan: Build business profile pages in LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Include a YouTube business profile if you have videos.
3. Website Development and Marketing Budgets
Websites will be developed and launched faster and at less cost in 2012. Good design and strategy is not going away, but development is easier than ever. Also, budgets are dropping as Content Management Systems (CMS) become easier to use. WordPress leads the field for static content Websites with Magento an emerging leader for eCommerce.
The challenge will be in finding marketing strategists to provide direction. CMS templates and modules will make Website success more about strategy, messaging and content and less about development.
Action Plan: Learn about WordPress and Magento, the leading CMS platforms for 2012. Also, WordPress and Magento are free downloads.
4. Mobile Internet
Users are doing more with their iPads, iPhones and Android devices, which make up the vast majority of the mobile Web. The mobile Web will continue to grow in 2012. Our client’s are seeing 10-15% of their site traffic coming from mobile devices. Mobile traffic is highly qualified and requires conversion points. Current CMS programs like WordPress make it easy to build for mobile devices.
Action Plan: Review your mobile stats to see if more than 10% of visitors come from the mobile devices. Optimize your Website and adapt it to the mobile screen.
5. Use of Integrated Media Online
Users want the option to review content in a format that best meets their needs. Good Websites should have several content options including video, photo galleries, podcasts, slides, graphics and written content. This, along with CMS work, will drive job growth for graphic designers and Web media professionals. Flash will decline and HTML5 and other universal formats will emerge in 2012.
Action Plan: Make sure your Website includes various media, including video. All media should be played manually by the user, avoid auto-play media.
Thomas Young is a Vistage speaker and member. He is CEO of Intuitive Websites, LLC a Website marketing and design firm based in Colorado. You can reach Tom at Tom@intuitivewebsites.com or 719-231-6916.
Featured Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webtreatsetc/4091128553/