Since I wrote “11 Web Design Trends for 2011” a year ago, there have been some interesting changes in web design and online marketing. Some of these trends are “must-have” if your coaching website is to attract clients. Others won’t apply at all. And some are optional.
I’ll comment on each trend to let you know how to best apply it to your online marketing strategy for your coaching business.
In Part 1, we look at what’s new and/or hot and what’s ancient history.
Not all of the trends below are brand new. But they are definitely hot for 2012.
1. Mobile Continues to Rise
More people than ever are searching from their smartphone or tablet. It may not be the same browsing they do from their desktops, but they’re still roaming the Internet.
This means it’s more important than ever to make sure your website looks good on a smartphone. And we’ll still see more mobile versions of popular websites to insure ease of use while on the go or away from a computer.
We also might be seeing a little more consideration towards netbooks, mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets – in other words, devices with smaller screens. Let’s face it, a site that fits comfortably on your 27” Mac is going to overwhelm your little 10” netbook. Forcing your site’s columns to conform to a fixed width may not be such a good idea anymore if you have a really wide site.
So when designing a website for your coaching business, be certain it can be easily viewed on smartphones, tablets, and small notebooks.
2. Interactivity for Touch Screens
With the rise of touch screens, expect more sites to offer fun and friendly elements to put your finger on. And even with Flash disappearing (see below), you’ll continue to have smooth-flowing animations and gentle scrolling, in order to make the browsing experience more pleasant to your sight and touch.
Desktop and laptop touch screens haven’t become as popular as regular monitors. However, sales of tablets like the iPad has increased the demand for touch friendly sites – much more than we had a year ago.
Is this applicable for your coaching website? Could be. It’s important to really know your ideal client and how and where they are accessing your site information.
Is your ideal client likely to be browsing your site from their tablet or smartphone when away from their regular computer? Will they be trying to access your recipes on their iPad while in the kitchen? If so, then you may want to make your web pages more touch-friendly.
Either way, it isn’t hard to incorporate large fingertip-size buttons on your site to make it easy for people to use with a touch screen.
3. QR Codes are everywhere
Speaking of interactivity, have you noticed that QR Codes like this are everywhere! I went to eat at Chili’s a few days ago and even the ketchup bottle had a QR code on the label. Unbelievable! There were more QR Codes on the table displays and in the menu.
For those of you new to QR Codes, this is a Quick Response Code that allows you to turn an image into a message or a hyperlink using your smartphone. It’s like taking hyperlinks into the real world – no computer needed, just a smartphone.
Here’s an example of a QR code that gives a message instead of sending you to a website. People are putting these QR Codes everywhere they want to advertise a webpage or give information.
How does it work? You download a QR reader app to your smartphone and the app will automatically scan any QR Code you point your phone camera at. It then takes you to the website or message. Very cool.
The marketing possibilities for this are huge. Hence the explosion of QR Codes all around us. You can make your own codes for free here: http://www.qurify.com/en/
How does this apply to marketing for your coaching business? You can use QR Codes in any printed information you give out, including business cards, brochures, and postcards, as well as printed coaching products and books. Use to link to your site or a webpage with bonus information.
4. 3D Effects
Not enough of us have 3D screens for the full effect, but not to worry! This new internet trend is to give more depth, shadows, and perspective to feast your sights on. It’s not real 3D, but can mimic the effect. Here’s a 2D example of this. ======>>>>
Will this help you get more coaching clients with your online marketing? Probably not. It might look really cool, but you’ll probably want to put your marketing dollars into a more effective strategy for getting clients.
What’s Ancient History
5. Say goodbye to Flash
With the huge rise in mobile search and lack of Flash support on the popular Apple, Android, and RIM tablets and smartphones, the original Flash is officially losing ground. Word is that Adobe is working on a HTML5 implementation anyway.
How does this apply to websites for coaches? Flash has rarely helped Internet marketers sell more online. On the contrary, having Flash on a sales site usually reduced sales. It’s also expensive to have created – often over $2,000 – and takes a long time to load.
So for coaches, this isn’t a loss. We have better options now for cool effects.
One of the big differences in web trend between 2011 and 2012 is that this year there are a lot more new features to report. I believe that the popularity of the Apple iPad has had a huge impact on some of these – giving rise to mobile friendly sites that can be used on devices with touch screens.
QR Codes were still too new to be popular at the beginning of 2012. And Google Plus was almost unheard of. You’ll hear more about Google, HTML5, and social site in part 2, where we’ll take a look at what’s still going strong and what’s on the horizon.
And what’s on the horizon is really cool…