2019 is still a couple of months away but some web design and digital marketing trends are already making next year an exciting one for web designers and site owners. The internet is only getting more competitive, which is why nailing the design of your site is even more important. Having a well-designed website could give you the competitive edge you need to stay ahead of the market.

There is no better time to start preparing your site for the challenges of next year than right now. It is never too soon to refresh your website, make a few adjustments here and there, and get it ready for 2019. To help you get started with tweaking your site, we have compiled a list of the best, most actionable tips that will help prepare your site for 2019.

The Tactile Feel

Making a website more interactive is not something new in the world of web design, but the way animations are used on websites have changed over the years. The latest trend is something known as micro-interactions. It is an approach that lets you utilize animations to add a more tactile and pleasant feel to the website.

Micro-interactions combine animations with users’ actions on the site. Using small animations, your site can be made to highlight what the users are doing at every step of the process. There have been a lot of interesting examples of micro-interactions being used with great success. Animating form fields as users go through them one by one is a good start.

Of course, you can also add a more tactile feel to your site through simple animations on clickable elements. Users are happier when the elements they click or interact with respond. A navigation menu that changes color when clicked – before the user gets taken to the next page – is the kind of small change you want to make.

More Emphasis on UX

User experience or UX is not easy to define, especially when you target multiple market segments or groups of users. That said, delivering a positive user experience is now a must. With so many websites competing for a users’ attention, even the slightest disruption to the flow of the user experience could mean losing thousands of visitors.

The best way to fine-tune your site for better UX is by listening to the users themselves. Things like keeping the navigation menu simple and consistent, using web elements to emphasize important parts of the site, delivering content as quickly and pleasantly as possible, and the micro-interactions we discussed earlier are just some of the ways you can improve your site’s UX.

Designing for UX is even more important when you are running an e-commerce site. For e-commerce sites, the goal is much simpler; you want users to be able to glide from their landing page to the checkout page as smoothly as possible. Minimize disruptions and your e-commerce site will be ready to compete in 2019.

Simpler Checkout Process

Sticking with e-commerce sites, there is another big change you want to make to improve the site for 2019, and that big change is simplifying the checkout process. Gone are the days of asking as many details from the customers as possible during checkout. You want the whole checkout process to be as simple as it can be.

Checkout forms need to validate user data on the fly. They also need to display clear warnings and concise instructions every step of the way. More importantly, the checkout process needs to be shorter than four steps; this means substantially simplifying the checkout form and the steps users need to take in order to complete their purchases.

These are big changes to make, but they are the kind of changes that are worth making. Fine-tuning the checkout process alone can help reduce dropped carts by a substantial margin. Further improving the forms and other details about the checkout process can boost sales and allow your site to be more competitive than ever.

Designing for SEO

Next, we have search engine optimization or SEO. SEO may be an old digital marketing trick, but it is still considered the most effective way of generating traffic. Besides, SEO is only getting more important as users now instinctively turn to search engines whenever they need information, particularly information about products and services.

SEO is no longer an add-on; it is an inseparable part of the site itself. You cannot do SEO once the site is up and running because it needs to be planned alongside the site and integrated with the website itself directly. Designing for SEO is THE approach to take.

There are ways to make a website friendlier to search engine crawlers, including adding ALT tags to images and adjusting the design for better readability. Having SEO experts involved in the web design process is a good idea since they can help fine-tune the structure of the site and optimize it for SEO too. Check out this service if you want to hire SEO experts to help with improving your site for 2019.

Along Come the Bots

Artificial Intelligence or AI will be more prominent in 2019, especially with new AI-based services and solutions entering the market. One of the ways you can add AI to your site in a positive way is by adding a chatbot to the site. You will have to integrate the chatbot in a non-intrusive way, but overcoming this challenge allows you to offer so much more and gain plenty in return.

Chatbots can do a lot for your website. They allow users to get more relevant responses when they ask questions; it is certainly much better than using template responses or asking users to wait for a customer support officer to help them. The chatbot also gathers information and insights about the users they interact with, allowing the sales team to learn more about potential customers as they browse through your site.

To top it all off, chatbots are easy to integrate; you don’t have to develop your own and can simply use an existing bot to get started. You still need to teach the AI and get it ready for your users, but the system will also learn and improve as it interacts with more users that come to your site.

Performance Matters

Site performance is already very important. Users now have shorter attention spans and are less likely to wait for a site to load because there are many alternatives they can visit. There is also a long list of things you can do to further optimize your site for performance. Even so, thriving for higher performance is still necessary if you want your site to remain competitive in 2019.

The trend around site performance is shifting a little bit. Sheer performance is no longer the sole goal. Instead, you also want to keep your site fluid and smooth when used. Pages need to load quickly, but they also need to load correctly to keep the users happy.

The new trend stems from the fact that many site owners aggressively optimize their websites to a point where some elements no longer load correctly. Sure, users can still view the site’s contents and get the information they need but having a site that fails to load some of its elements is clearly not the way to go.

Emphasis on Security

Google started prioritizing secure sites with valid SSL certificates in 2017. This year, the company’s browser displays an ‘unsecured’ tag next to the address bar when you open unsecured websites using Google Chrome. Unsecured sites also rank lower in search results. Can you see a pattern here?

Yes, security is another important aspect that you need to improve as you prepare your site for the challenges of 2019. Having a valid SSL certificate is a must. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a corporate-grade SSL certificate and validation, especially with services such as Letsencrypt offering SSL protection for free or a small fee.

The rest of the site needs to be secure as well; installing an SSL certificate is only the beginning. You need to assume a more active stance in protecting user information. Do not store details that aren’t absolutely necessary, and make sure you have clear privacy and data protection policies in place. There are also standards to follow, including the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It’s Time to Get Started

There is a lot to prepare to make your site more competitive in 2019. Remember that other websites are adjusting and fine-tuning their user experience too. You don’t have to change everything; the things that make existing users really love your website are certainly worth keeping. What you want to do is making smaller adjustments that make using your website an absolute joy.

The actionable tips and tricks we discussed in this article can help you figure out the best ways to improve your site today. Preparing for the competitive World Wide Web of 2019 will be much easier now that you know exactly the kind of small tweaks you can do to take your website to a whole new level.