When you update a website, you need to be certain that you’re making intelligent decisions about how you do it. One of the worst decisions you can make is to base your update on whatever trends happen to catch your eye on the Internet. Some of these trends are not destined to last very long. Some of the trends may be indications of how you do want to update your site, but not all of them will be appropriate for you. Here are some things to consider.
When websites first started to go up, blinking text was one of the most common features you would see on them. The intent was roughly the same as the intent of putting a neon sign outside a business. It was supposed to catch your eye and make you pay attention to whatever was blinking. It really didn’t help that whatever you were supposed to pay attention to was constantly disappearing. This was a trend that proved to be short-lived that that appeared – to the great annoyance of many visitors – on many different websites. If you had bought into this trend, you would’ve probably been going back to a web designer shortly thereafter and asking them to remove the “blink” tag from your source code.
There are similar trends going on today that may or may not be good ideas for your website. Here’s an example. On many sites where a photo gallery is an important part of the site, the photo gallery will continue loading infinitely, constantly expanding the length of the page and loading more and more images onto the viewer’s screen. The problem with this is that it eventually causes people’s browsers to freeze up. If you don’t have that many images, it may be a great idea. If you’re a professional photographer with thousands of images, it’s a trend you may want to avoid.
Another common trend that you’ll see used on websites is including a real-time Twitter feed somewhere on the site. This, on some sites, can be interesting. For example, if somebody is looking at your site because you report on breaking news, having live Twitter feeds may be a good idea. If the Twitter feeds that are reproduced on your site are just your friend’s feeds, it’s probably just going to distract your visitors and start to irritate them after a while.
Imitating Viral Content
Imitating viral content can sometimes be effective, but it’s important to keep in mind that this content appears on and disappears from the Internet about as quickly as the words that people use to use “blink” tags on. You may want to avoid trying to be too trendy in this regard. By the time you figure out a way to use a viral trend for your business in an appropriate fashion, the trend may have already disappeared from the Internet and using it may just end up making you look dated.
If you plan to incorporate trends into your website redesign, talk to a web designer about it and be open-minded if they tell you that something may not be around long enough to warrant incorporating it into your website. They’ll generally have very good insight in this regard. They’ll also be able to let you know what new technologies really aren’t trends but may have given birth to some trends.
Being contemporary, hip or even edgy is a good idea for some websites. The trick to doing it right is making certain that you’re not jumping on a bandwagon that’s about to be parked. Make certain that, if you’re doing something trendy, you’re also doing something sensible.