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Do you want to be trendy with your content management system (CMS)? Well, you might not. But you certainly want to know how the playing field is changing. Here are the top emerging WordPress trends for 2017, in terms of strategies you can take with your own installation of the CMS.

 

A new year is important on a business level. Holiday bonuses mark the end of a successful, profitable year, for instance. More similarly to personal resolutions, though, are the many trends list that are released for virtually every segment of the economy. Essentially, looking over these trends, businesses can consider how their market is changing and think, “What are our resolutions this year?”

 

 

#1. Customize thy design.

Everyone wants to use a set of standardized, trusted tools – but, at the same time, stand out and express their own unique vision.

With that in mind, consider the impressive data from W3Techs Web Technology Surveys: “WordPress is used by 58.5% of all the websites whose content management system we know,” reported the service in December 2016. “This is 27.2% of all websites.”

In other words, WordPress is incredibly popular. Nonetheless, competitive advantage in business is fundamentally about differentiation. As more and more people move to WordPress, because of its popularity, people on WordPress will want to modify their sites. JavaScript, HTML5, and other markup/coding languages will be used for customization.

 

#2. Scroll to the future.

Scrolling became more predominant in 2016 because of increased mobile use. Scrolling is more necessary on smartphone screens that have less space to display information. Incredibly, it seems that from getting used to scrolling on smartphones, people became more likely to scroll on their desktops.

“The return of the scroll as an accepted user pattern provides more flexibility in the design and gives you more chances to interact with each visitor,” noted Carrie Cousins of design tutorial publication Design Bombs. “Think of all the opportunities to play games, include scrolling features (parallax!) and develop other creative ways to tell your story.”

Cousins added to deeply ponder UX when you are thinking about putting together a long-scroll WordPress page. Make sure that you prefer scrolling to clicking as the way to access content.

 

#3. Abide by SSL Everywhere.

Google wants SSL across the Internet. Although SSL certificates are far from perfect, Google seems them as (of course) a major improvement over an unencrypted site.

Roshan Perera of theme site Theme Junkie noted that the search giant now views sites lacking HTTPS protocol (generated automatically by SSL) as unsafe: “Starting 2017, HTTPS will be mandatory for all websites, including WordPress powered websites,” he said. “If you’re building a new WordPress site in 2017, you better Implement HTTPS for your WordPress site from the very beginning.”

 

#4. Leave behind desktop-first design.

It’s become increasingly clear over the last few years how important it is to cater to mobile users through strategies such as mobile ads and responsive design (the latter of which alters the way the site populates to harmonize with the user’s device). In fact, there are now more smartphones and tablets accessing the Web than desktop computers: StatCounter’s analysis for October 2016 found that mobile devices represent 51.26% of access, while desktop represents 48.74% — the first time desktop has ever been outdone.

Google is actually now prioritizing any sites, WordPress and otherwise, that take a mobile-first approach. The extent to which the data the search engine uses to rank your site will rely on mobile is a bit shocking. “Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps,” Google announced in November 2016, “our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”

 

#5. Ride the wave of parallax.

There’s a design technique called parallax (noted by Cousins in tip #2 above, and used by astronomers) that means you are essentially implementing various backgrounds, moving at different speeds, in order to create the illusion of 3D.

Say what? Here are more than two dozen examples of parallax in action, as featured by Awwwards.

 

#6. Get in on the typographic revolution.

Similar to the general trend toward customization mentioned above (tip #1), owners and managers of WordPress sites want text that stands out and captivates prospects. Developers can get creative with fonts using Google or Adobe’s font-creation apps, advised Review Squirrel, after which the finished products can be imported into WordPress.

 

#7. Embrace UI elements in a container format

Cards and other standard container elements are well-suited to mobile-friendly responsive design. Cards are great for intelligently storing data, with a single element in each container. Every box is a CTA, in a sense, asking that the site viewer put in their email, click a video, or purchase something.

Note: Cards can be modified for better compatibility with whatever design you want.

 

#8. Show, don’t tell.

Video has become less optional and more fundamental, with 2016 potentially serving as a tipping point. Yes, perhaps viewers have become hungrier for motion pictures of whatever sort over time, but the ramp-up in video is more about more efficient server technology, HD screens, and faster high-speed Internet.

Be careful with your video creation, noted Cousins. “Users demand high-quality action that tells a story,” she said. “From short snippets to more cinematographic-scale production, users will only pause to watch a video that’s good.”

Specific formats you could try, based on their effectiveness for other companies, are a short loop highlighting an item you’re selling or a more highly produced infotainment piece. Pro tip: Be sure to incorporate closed captioning.

 

#9. Review and adopt SaaS WordPress plugins.

The Internet has a fever, and the only prescription is more cloud computing! Now, keep in mind, storing your site on a cloud server for affordable high performance – IaaS (infrastructure as a service) – is just one way this virtualized model is being used for WordPress, with plugins aggressively switching to the SaaS (software as a service) model.

Perera commented that some in the open source crowd don’t like this SaaS plugin trend; however, it does create a market for strong WP tools such as OptinMonster and SumoMe.

 

#10. Set up your WordPress lemonade stand.

Review Squirrel noted that trusted ecommerce platforms are being integrated into WordPress sites as a standard expectation.

In this way, WP is increasingly becoming an environment through which people can more quickly and effectively make cash for their businesses.

 

#11. Tiny is huge.

Shift your business to the cutting edge of Web appearance with miniature logos and micro-designs that take a cue from watch design.

This trend is a step in the reverse direction from previous efforts to optimize for mobile by increasing scale of visuals on the site, Cousins advised. “The best part of this concept is that every design element must be created with intent and purpose,” she said. “There’s no place for elements that don’t help the user reach a goal.”

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