Blogging Trends in 2016

If running a blog is an important part of your company’s customer connection, you are going to want to utilize it to its full potential. As a part of the internet, the blogging platform and popular styles are bound to evolve and adapt at the lightning pace we have come to expect from the internet age. Here are some trends you will want to keep an eye on and likely emulate in 2016.

Length.

While a 200 word article can be useful as a news bite or quick update and has the benefit of being a near guaranteed read for short-attention audiences, blogging is leaning toward longer, meatier pieces, backed up with reliable data. People are looking for substantive articles that show depth and thought. In 2015, the average length of a post was 900 words, which is a good 100 words longer than the previous year’s average. The way to stand out against content-saturated competition is by providing reliable, researched, and in-depth content that, instead of sparking a person’s interest, satisfies their curiosity and answers their questions about the topic.

Goodbye to comments.

The comment section can be difficult to manage, time-consuming to moderate, and not a place that readers want to participate in conversations anyway. Signing up for a username/password combination is usually enough of a deterrent to keep all but the most incensed or invested readers from partaking in a conversation. Removing this section moves the conversation to social media instead, where the reader can share the link to Twitter or Facebook and then include their comment.

Graphic Design

Pictures are an excellent way of attracting and maintaining interest. Images can simplify information, cut down on words so that the ones you use carry more impact, and transfer an idea in a more memorable method. Tumblr’s purely picture/short text blogging style is sure to be influential and attractive to that younger audience. Infographics, design icons, and pictures that easily can be shared on social networks have already been an important element of blogging and are likely to grow even more popular this year. If you are making an effort to write a longer blog post, adding tasteful and helpful images will break up the intimidating wall of text and give your readers a well-deserved break from time to time.

Endorsement Section

In our socially connected world, affirmation and affiliation are important elements for connecting to readers. Showing that other companies or names your reader base might recognize approved of your content will help convince them that your site/content/business is both “in” and reliable.

Newsletters

An important way of making sure your readers are seeing your content updates regularly is by convincing them to sign up for your newsletter. It is a great way of measuring and building your reader base, as well as making sure that no one falls out of the loop on essential updates or new features. It is a helpful incentive to offer exclusive content and special offers to subscribers.

Mobile Adaptation

It is essential that your website be mobile responsive, adapting to a screen size smoothly and quickly. Many people primarily browse content from their cells or other devices. If a website does not provide for this flexibility, mobile viewers will be quick to become frustrated and abandon the attempt to understand your website.

Popular WordPress Plugins

Choosing a theme and plugins for your WordPress blog can be the fun part of setting up your site, but it can also be overwhelming with thousands of possible plugins available and new ones being developed every day. Here are some of the most popular and useful plugins we have found:

Yoast SEO works as a built-in editor to encourage and promote the best writing. It walks you through techniques for readable and consistent content by having you choose a focus keyword for each article as you write it and then making sure you continue to use the keyword throughout your writing. It goes on to show you examples of what your post will look like in search results, giving you an edge on competition to increase rankings. The Page Analysis plugin works as a final copy editor to check that your posts are the optimal length, if your images contain an alt tag with the focus keyword, and if the meta description also contains that keyword. All in all, this plugin optimizes your content for search engines.

wordpress-logo-simplified-rgbFor improving your webpage’s performance and speed, Zen Cache is designed to reduce download time, optimize progressive rendering, reduce the loading time for pages, and more. Search engine rankings will improve with the speed of your site.

BackupBuddy is a secure and complete option for complete reassurance that in case of a catastrophe you will not lose anything from your database, media library, theme files, and so on.  Automated backups are easy to set up and will be quick to restore in the case of emergency.

A great plugin for easily adding nearly any type of online forms, from contact forms to surveys and user submitted posts, is Gravity Forms. It is very popular, in use on over one million WordPress sites.

Ultimate Branding promotes your logo, company name, and so forth across your network in place of any WordPress branding. It makes your site feel more unified and consistent. The best part is that this plugin does all the fussy work for you, so you won’t have to worry about writing a single code.

A helpful plugin for reducing spam is Akismet, which automatically catches comments that look like spam and allows you to review the filtered comments.

Envira Gallery is an aesthetically clean and pleasing plugin to create beautiful image galleries. If your site is photography related or tends to be picture heavy, this plugin simplifies the business with responsive design, fast loading, and stunning effects. It even offers a helpful free version, so you can try out some of the features right away.

Sucuri provides malware protection by blocking attacks, identifying spam, and preventing intrusions. It gives you real time alerts to keep you updated with any causes for concern. When it comes to website security, it is always better to be safer than sorry.

Another excellent way of tightening security on your site is Login Lockdown. This plugin limits the amount of failed attempts a user receives. This is helpful for deterring hack attempts, as most are focused on breaking your password by entering multiple combinations.

Top 7 web design trends you must know for your website

The internet is an ever changing, ever developing platform in which creativity can soar with few boundaries or limitations. As such, web design is also a fluid stage for new ideas and vivid imagination. While this is an exciting concept, it can also be daunting. Where to begin? What is outdated and what is considered modern? Where is the line between eye-catching and obnoxious?

The design for a webpage needs first and foremost to convey the intended information. If a font is perfect for your site’s playful attitude, but is difficult for the viewer to read, then it is not doing its job. If the colors grab the viewer’s information, but go against the mood you are trying to set, the design is going to be counterintuitive.

Web design trends change quickly and can be difficult to keep up with. We’re here to help! Here are some of the most popular trends we are seeing in web design:

Long scroll UI patterns provide a natural path for the eye to follow and allow the designer to decide the most beneficial order to convey information. It is an easy interface for the user to interact with and encourages viewers to look at the entirety of the website as the design naturally sparks curiosity.

Creative animations for loading, hovering, hidden navigation screens, motion action, galleries etc. Animations draw the eyes and hold attention. They have the benefit of keeping a viewer interested while waiting for loading, encouraging the eye’s path along a page, and generally making formerly static images more interesting and engaging. Additionally they add personality and an opportunity for creativity.

Micro-interactions engage the user and affirm their actions. It helps the users see the results of their actions, engages them in communication, and can provide tips for maneuvering. Ideally these interactions occur seamlessly and without distracting from the information provided. Simplicity is key.

Card design is growing more popular as the use of Pinterest sky-rockets. The interface is familiar, easy to use, and an excellent way to display a large amount of information in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner.

Cinemagraphs are the classier version of GIFs, bringing static pictures to life with minimal motion. These pictures have fewer limitations than GIFs and are less distracting and more mature.

Bold typography makes a quick and effective statement about your website’s mood and focus, while establishing your site as modern and unique. Even websites that are strictly focused on business benefit from eye-catching typography. With web fonts becoming more widely accessible, web designers are becoming bolder, making full use of the available tools.

According to Forbes, Natural stock photography use in web design is on the rise. Pictures are a classic method of catching attention and creating a connection with the viewer. But typical stock photos are boring and easily dismissed. Eye-catching, awe-inspiring, and amazing is “in.”

2015 was an exciting year for web development and creative new designs. It is thrilling to think of what 2016 will hold!