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Five Popular Trends in Website Design for 2014

Five Popular Trends in Website Design for 2014

While a site’s content is certainly more important than its’ design, there’s no doubt that design plays a large role in determining whether potential customers stay on a website, or go elsewhere. The design of a website could be viewed in a similar way to a storefront window: An attractive, creative display will draw customers in, while a cluttered, disorganized one will drive customers away.

Listed below are five particularly popular trends in website design for 2014. Being aware of these trends can help designers to create websites that will appeal to their target audiences, and thus generate sales:

Grid Style Layout

It is worth mentioning that the grid style layout is not suitable for all types of websites. However, it can be perfect for e-stores, photography websites and other, similar sites.

The grid style became popular when Pinterest starting using it on its’ platform. Since then, other popular websites have adapted and modified it for their own use. The grid style makes it easy for users to scan a site for information, and find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Also, it is visually appealing, so it keeps people on a site for a longer time, compared to what would otherwise be the case.

Focused Landing Pages

There was a time when a webmaster only had to create a single page for his or her website. That time is long past. Anyone who is serious about selling stuff online will need to create focused, targeted landing pages for each of his or her most important products.

Doing this serves multiple purposes. In terms of design, it enables webmasters to reduce clutter, as each page only deals with a single topic, rather than several or more related topics. Targeted, focused landing pages are also ideal for SEO, as Google prefers sites to use targeted landing pages, as opposed to a general home page for on-site and off-site links. Additionally, studies have shown that linking online advertisements to a focused landing page, rather than a general one, increases sales and profits. This tactic makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for, without having to do a website search.

HTML5 Video Players

While including video content on a website is a good way to attract customers, Flash video players are no longer nearly as popular as they once were. Nowadays, more and more webmasters are switching over to HTML5 video players. These players display high quality content, and only take up a modest amount of bandwidth. This ensures that a site will load quickly, even if there are large photos and/or other graphics displayed on the page.

Another important reason for using HTML5 is the fact that Flash is not compatible with most mobile phone devices. This means that sites that use Flash are unable to reach tens of millions of people, who use their mobile phones to browse the Internet and shop online.

Personal Portraits

People do not only want to find out about a product, they want get to know the person behind it as well. A personal portrait is a great way to connect with customers, and it adds a friendly touch to any website. Such a portrait can be included on the home page, about page, or even along with blog articles on the site. The photo should be clear and convey the image that the owner wants to convey (i.e. casual, friendly and professional, etc).

Mega Navigation Menus

Mega navigation menus are ideal for sites that have a lot of content. As the name implies, these menus enable a user to see a large number of links on a single page, thus making it easier to find appealing products and/or articles.

The goal of being aware of modern, popular website design trends is not to create clone sites that look the same as everyone else’s. Instead, being aware of these trends, and other popular design innovations, can enable webmasters to broaden their horizons, and use new, cutting edge techniques to create websites that are easy to use, and visually appealing to their target audiences.

Why Creating a WordPress Child Theme is Always a Good Idea

Why Creating a WordPress Child Theme is Always a Good Idea

Thanks to its power and notable flexibility, WordPress is a popular site design choice with webmasters of all experience levels. One often overlooked aspect of WordPress is the use of child themes. Most designers, who understand the benefits of these themes, are keen to take advantage of them. The benefits of using a child theme all relate to ease-of-use in some way. Child themes greatly facilitate the creation and maintenance of fresh and interesting websites. This frees designers to focus more on creativity, which is a big plus. The caveat is that child themes require a good parent theme, to provide the many benefits that are sought.

Ease of Initial Development

With a good parent theme to use as a framework, a child theme offers webmasters the opportunity to concentrate on the style of a site’s design. The high level of functionality included with a good parent theme, means less time spent on aspects like optimizing a site for search engine traffic. Often, designers waste time trying to reinvent the functions that are expected of modern websites. With these elements of a site ready for use, designers can direct all their development efforts towards creating a website presence that is unique and fresh.

Ease of Customization

A child theme is the best option for a site with a dynamic appearance and dynamic content. Frequent style and function modifications create the risk of inadvertent damage to a theme. However, if a designer applies numerous changes to a child theme, the parent theme remains intact. If errors or an unforeseen problem occurs, the webmaster has the convenient option of reverting to the parent theme, until corrections or a new plan for the theme can be implemented.

Ease of Securing the Site

Eventually, all webmasters have to install security patches, or updates for their site software. The need for vigilant security is a reality of operating a website. With a WordPress theme, the dilemma is that customizations are overwritten when the theme is updated. Even if they understand the importance of updating themes, many web designers cringe at the idea of losing custom changes, due to a security flaw that must be addressed. When modifying a child theme however, it is a simple task to safely update the main theme, when that becomes necessary. A webmaster can keep the site secure, without risking customizations that took hard work to implement.

Ease of Updating

Just as the need to update a theme due to security concerns is inevitable, new editions and upgrades to a theme will become available periodically. New or improved functionality is often a bonus of updating a theme, but sometimes it is a competitive necessity. Typically, updating the parent theme will offer website visitors an improved experience. By using a child theme, webmasters can do this while still maintaining all their previous modifications. Thanks to the range of strategic options available, regarding the application of customizations, site designers do not have to choose between their own site modifications, and the improved features that come with updating the parent theme.

Ease of Creating Child Themes

It is becoming increasingly easier to create a child theme. There are a number of plugins available that take the time and work out of generating these themes, and applying changes to them. Site designers can experiment with the various plugins, and the process of modifying the new child themes they create. Webmasters can quickly begin working on new child themes, safe in the knowledge that the parent themes will be available and unchanged, should it be necessary to revert back to them for some reason.

It is easy to underestimate the potential of a site powered by WordPress. Once a savvy designer gets to work though, the possibilities become more evident. The direction taken with a site design begins with the theme selected. At this point, the designer must decide between directly modifying a theme, and creating a child theme to adapt as desired. What many webmasters come to realize is that a well designed WordPress parent theme, which can serve as a framework for a child theme, gives them the best of both worlds. This option allows designers to create the customized experience they envision, and also secure their websites and take advantage of parent theme improvements as they become available.