One of the toughest aspects of digital marketing, for both marketers and companies, is keeping up with how fast it changes. Just think about it: if it’s possible for busy marketing teams to fall behind and miss things because they’re immersed in their day-to-day activities, imagine how tough it is for people outside of the industry?

We sympathise with you guys, we really do, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop harping on the importance of battling through the time constraints to stay on top of the ebbs and flows of digital marketing, or listening to a trusted source that does stay on top of the info (like us). More than any one tactic or strategy, keeping pace with digital trends, rules and best practices will be the driving force behind successful, long term marketing campaigns. Companies that don’t stay on top of changes evaporate over time (anyone remember Nokia?), and marketing is exactly the same. So make sure you don’t evaporate.

The Internet is an aesthetic, visual place where graphics, images and video play a large role in the stories both people and companies tell. And make no mistake, your customers want to see and hear stories, not sales pitches. But as web design becomes more accessible to the masses, it changes at a quicker pace.

As we head further into 2016, we thought it’d be a good idea to take a deep dive into the world of web design to determine the biggest shifts in conventional practices. At our WSI office, we don’t build websites (I will say it again, we don’t build websites) but we work with a great bunch of developers to make sure our client’s websites have the highest chance of marketing success. So here are the Web Design Stats You Can’t Ignore in 2016:


Time flies. Whether it’s getting older or watching your kids grow up before your eyes, the ways in which we perceive the passage of time are frighetning. So even though it feels like you redesigned your website last year, it was probably more like three years ago. And the world of web development is light years away from where it was three years ago. Don’t be satisfied with a website that’s boring and dated because one thing is for sure: your customers won’t be.


The stats on the effectiveness of website sliders (also called carousels) are astounding: in a study, only 1% of visitors clicked on a slider image. The reason this is so shocking is the sheer amount of websites that are built specifically around sliders (yes, including ours). The purpose of a slider is for users to click and navigate through the images, but the data says they just don’t work that way.

Why then, do so many websites still have sliders? For starters, since sliders are often a central design feature, it’s hard to move away from them without a complete redesign. But given the metrics, and the fact that visitors are using sites in completely different ways than these designs intended, it’s time to implement more useful design features. Break the habit, its bad for you.


You’ve seen (and likely used) “ipsum lorem ipsum” example text (or maybe even the more funky bacon ipsum), but there are a couple reasons you should stop using placeholder content. The biggest reason is that content isn’t just an afterthought, so it shouldn’t be treated that way. In a recent poll, 45% of marketers said written content is the most important type of content on their site. But my question is, how many of those same marketers used example text when they designed their website? Too many. You would never let your sales person walk into a massive deal with a recorded sales message from another company, would you? So why do you allow the same rubbish on your website?

Design and write your website and its content side-by-side, in real time. You’ll get the content right, which well help you get the design right and in the end, you’ll produce a great website with fantastic content that is relevant and resonates with your market.


You can spot stock images a mile away. Have you tried to look for good stock images with realistic looking South Africans in them? And while their obviousness doesn’t render stock images completely useless, they certainly don’t move the emotional needle as much as custom made images do. And the thing is, they don’t have to be hand sketched, super professional images to be “custom.” Just one more quick point on this. If you’re going to use images of people in South Africa, don’t just use one race of people. After all, this is the Rainbow Nation. Mixed it up a bit and reflect South Africa as a whole!

With graphic tools like Canva, even those of us with minimal design skills can create decent custom images. What’s more, anybody with a camera can create custom imagery, too. In fact, 46% of marketers say custom photography will be part of their marketing strategy in 2016. Consider hiring photography students or interns who need work experience to take custom images and do some design work.

Do yourself a favour and phase out stock images, or at least dress them up a little bit; it’s worth the extra effort, and potential customers will notice.


“I don’t have time.” We all say this, probably more than we should, but that’s a discussion for another day. Nevertheless, this mantra of not having enough time in our days has certainly transferred over to our Internet usage. Internet users have no patience whatsoever, so heavy pages that slow people down are an absolute disaster for your marketing campaigns and websites.

In a recent article, Econsultancy found that 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. That may be a little slower with our less-than-award-wining Internet speeds in South Africa, but you get the idea. In the grand scheme of things, three seconds doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a hard fact that it’ll cost you conversions and ultimately, Rands from your bottom line. Get rid of those sliders, scripts and anything else weighing your pages down.


It used to be that merely having a website, fresh content and an active social media presence was enough to help your business stand out from the crowd. But that’s obviously no longer the case as these things are now a standard expectation. The key to differentiating your digital presence is finding the perfect mix of marketing tactics. And in 2016, that means telling stories with visual content, as 65% of senior marketing execs believe that photos, videos, illustrations and infographics will all be part of the stories their brands tell.

It might sound like a lot of work, but when it comes to something as important as the design of your digital presence, that’s the price of doing business in 2016.

So, if you need help or advice on what and how to do, get a hold of us today. Don’t delay.


That’s the end of our rundown of the latest edition of our monthly infographic, but be sure to check back next month for April’s feature. Here’s the full infographic, in case you want to share or blog about it:


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