Emerging out of a need for personal website publishing systems that go back as far as 2001, WordPress is one of the most powerful and most popular open-source platforms in use for publishing websites available to users today. How popular? According to W3Techs’ web technology survey data, WordPress is used by 63% of websites with identifiable content management systems, which accounts for roughly 35.9% of all websites.
As an open-source system built on PHP and MySQL, WordPress allows knowledgeable developers to envision and build any number of useful software applications that can then be integrated into the WordPress content management platform. Having access to such flexibility at the foundational level of building and launching websites, developers can use the WordPress website content management system to quickly and efficiently deploy solutions that address modern business challenges. This massive scope of influence held by WordPress over modern web development allows developers and marketing professionals to use the platform to identify trends in design and functionality that the developers can in turn capitalize upon in their own work. Follow along as GoingClear lays out three of the top trends in WordPress development as we approach the midway point of 2020.
1. Websites You Can Talk To, And Websites That Talk Back
Technological advances are allowing us to have more in-depth interactions with websites both on and off the keyboard. WordPress developers are finding extensive functionality in incorporating both your ability to “talk” to websites, and their ability to “talk” back. Let’s explore how voice-enabled search and chatbots are changing the ways we interact with websites and how WordPress websites are supporting those changes with voice-enabled search and chatbots.
Voice-Enabled Devices Require Voice-Enabled Search On Your Website
Starting in 2011, the four major players in mobile device and smartphone operating systems decided to start incorporating voice activated assistants into their technology. Apple laid the groundwork for the voice-assistant revolution, introducing us to Siri in 2011 to help us navigate our lives. Later, Amazon gave us the ever-helpful Alexa, which has since found its primary home on the Echo home device. Microsoft jumped on board and transitioned the AI character, Cortana, from its popular video game franchise, Halo, onto our desktops and phones. Google, relying upon its position as the most popular search engine, added voice-activated search capability to the core website, allowing users to initiate voice-activated searches with a simple “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.”
Smart devices began to proliferate in the five years leading up to 2020, and in 2019 it was estimated that 65% of 25-49 year olds used a voice-enabled device to execute a search at least once a day. With voice expected to be a $40 billion marketing channel by 2022, WordPress developers can’t afford to ignore it as a necessary design element. Not only will it add a level of navigation for users, but it will greatly improve a website’s site ranking for Google voice search queries, improving your brand exposure and recognition.
Chatbots Improve Your Customer Service
While your employees are in the office during normal business hours every day, there’s a strong chance that your customers are engaging with your product and services around the clock. One of the first places consumers tend to turn towards when they have an issue, or need answers to questions, is your website. This interaction with your website is quite literally almost a one-time chance to salvage the customer relationship — 91% of unsatisfied customers will not return to patronize your business. There are only a few practical and affordable solutions to ensure you can acknowledge and address the majority of the concerns that flow through your website. For WordPress developers, the solution has more often than not been to incorporate a chatbot into the webpage.
Chatbots are AI-driven automated software agents capable of having increasingly complex interactions with customers based on queries entered into the chat interface. Some examples of interactions that chatbots can handle include product exchanges and returns, answering frequently asked questions, scheduling service appointments, and providing guidance as to proper product use. By expanding your website’s ability to field such essential business services, you build trust in your brand and provide overall savings to your bottom line over time.
2. Multipurpose Themes for Every Occasion
One of the most useful aspects of WordPress is the sheer limitless versatility made possible by the open-source software approach to online content management. In the past, WordPress developers used this versatility to create themed websites targeted to very specific business use cases and challenges. New technologies and innovative approaches to design have led to developers taking a more open-ended approach to design themes and layering in functionality, resulting in multipurpose themes that can handle the requirements of different kinds of businesses. This versatility means that a business using WordPress to build out its website can opt to use a multipurpose theme that will provide basic functionality from the start, but later easily allow the company to add in ecommerce content, a blog, service pages, and other functionality that without the multipurpose theme might require an expensive website redesign.
3. Integrating Video and Motion into the User Interface
User experience is going to be a driving factor in website development for the foreseeable future, supported by more complex user interfaces. In order to maximize the impact of the UI and to increase accessibility and add guidance to the user interface, developers are embracing video backgrounds and other motion-based interface elements to guide the experience and support the written material on the page. Using background video, you can provide product demonstrations alongside product descriptions to add a layer of engagement for site visitors. Similarly, animated transitions and navigational elements can help guide the user’s eyes to interactive portions of the website. All of this goes towards improved user engagement and improving the quality of the information being conveyed.
Partner Up With An Advanced WordPress Developer to Take Advantage of Popular Trends
Your website is the virtual lobby for your business, and more often than not will be the first contact clients have with your brand. If you aren’t properly leveraging the benefits of modern development trends in WordPress, then it’s time to partner up with an advanced WordPress developer who can help punch up your website to compete in the modern business landscape. At GoingClear Interactive, we work with clients to match form with function, resulting in a 67% average conversion of web leads and 32% increase in average traffic. If your website is behind the curve on current trends, give our team of specialists a call today, and see why GoingClear Interactive is the preferred WordPress Development solution for successful businesses in and around the Boston metropolitan area.