In today’s fast paced online environment the goalposts are always moving. Just when you, as a business owner, sit down to consume your much deserved piece of the online pie, a single algorithm update and causes your website to plummet down the organic rankings. And with it, goes all your hard work.
That’s why we here at Dmac Media have created our 2018 Digital Outlook, to keep you ahead of the Online Trends in 2018. Similar to our last year’s review, we’ve set out a number of key considerations to help drive your online business forward, for the coming year.
This year, we examine three main aspects of the online environment that are set to change (and in some cases already have). These are likely to impact your website & online business; Security, Organic Ranking & Social Media.
The Biggest Change to Data Protection in 20 Years.
2018 will bring significant changes in relation to data security, with the biggest change to data protection legislation in 20 years, coming into effect on May 25th. Business owners across Europe and the wider world are familiarising themselves with the finer aspects of the incoming General Data Protection Amendments (GDPR). Once enacted, businesses will have a host of new requirements to adhere to in relation to their customer’s data. For those businesses currently utilising email marketing software such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact these changes are set have profound impact.
No longer will it be acceptable to harvest user emails at checkout, with auto ticked boxes or implied consent through silence. Instead, businesses must make a conscious effort to transparently inform their customers about their marketing intentions at signup. Customers must knowingly opt in once informed. This is just one aspect of a very detailed document and regulation. If you would like to learn more about GDPR and how it will impact your business
Not Secure – Leave This Area Now!
As you can imagine, with personal data security becoming a pressing issue, many of the internet stallworth’s have reacted. Following two years of subtle inkling’s, Google have enforced a hard line in relation to secured and data protected websites. Many of you may have come across notification like this while browsing.
To use the words of Dave O’Brien a fellow Dmac Media Blog Author, a notification such as this is “more than a little discouraging, it is in fact completely off putting.”
In simple terms, Google has recognised that information being sent through your website is not encrypted and could in fact be accessed by a hacker (Eeek!). Adding an SSL Cert (Security Socket Layer Certificate ) to your website, adds an extra layer of security through data encryption before the information is sent. Becoming SSL secured brings with it a host of benefits including a higher search ranking and increased trust and confidence among consumers, while it will also elevate your website above competitors.
Is Your Website Harder to find than Wally?
While we’re on the subject of higher search ranking, last year we suggested that mobile first indexing would be a feature and that you should start optimising your mobile content. We do hope you heeded our call, as doing so would not only have put you ahead of the competition, it will also have given you a head start on what is set to become the norm in the coming years. While progress has remained largely slow on this aspect from Google’s point of view, we believe it will gather pace throughout 2018.
With Google working towards mobile first indexing, mobile performance and in particular speed is key. Large image files are the number one offender when it comes to slow mobile websites. Just one large image on your homepage can drive customers away from your website before they even get a chance to see it. There are also a number of technical optimisations Google now look for when it comes to mobile (& desktop) websites. Compressed code, minified HTML and even landing page redirects can all contribute to a slower than anticipated website. Thankfully, there is a very useful free tool that will help you see just how your website is performing on both mobile & desktop.
Facebook Pioneers Beware – It’s Pay to Play in 2018
Unfortunately Google don’t hold the “Goalpost Moving” monopoly. In early January, CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a host of new changes set to impact largely on brand and publisher pages. In essence, Facebook is set to supress publisher pages and place greater emphasis on more meaningful, real life content. In other words, personal pages. This comes as no surprise as Facebook’s Organic Reach has been declining for many years now (only 6% of your pages audience is likely to see a post), the many social pioneers who have steadily built up their audience look set to be worst affected. Such businesses will require a social media strategy rethink, and in most cases paid social media marketing appears to be the way forward. Beware however, as costs increase with demand.
So there you have it, 2018’s Digital Outlook. While some aspects of this article may seem daunting, fear not, Dmac Media are here to help. Whether you’re a business that relies predominantly on email marketing for revenue, or if its social media that makes your business tick, Dmac Media can help you charter that heavy waters of today’s digital ocean. Get in Touch Today!