INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Contributed Content, Hong Kong
Roger Chen

Five website design and SEO trends to help optimise your online performance in 2018


In the high-paced city that is Hong Kong, the internet is alive, changing, and always moving towards new technologies and trends. If entrepreneurs and small business owners want to keep up then they will need to monitor the pulse of changing website design and SEO trends to help further optimise their online presence and strengthen their online profitability. They can do this themselves or work with website design professionals so that their online presence takes advantage of the five trends outlined below.

1. Optimised for voice search
With a Cantonese version of Google voice search having existed since 2010, Hong Kong has long had a local language facility in this area. Now Google CEO Sundar Pichai is saying that one out of five searches come from voice queries and that number is expected to grow. Businesses need to consider how people use virtual assistants (like Siri) and smart-home devices (like Amazon’s Echo or Alibaba’s Tmall Genie), and optimize their SEO plans accordingly. That means focusing on natural language, considering searcher intent and targeting long-tail search keywords.

2. Show off your website security
Providing strong web security has long been a priority, and website professionals need to constantly stay ahead of emerging threats so that their clients remain protected. Today, showing that your website has added security protection to users is growing. Google is already labeling certain pages that aren’t HTTPS as non-secure on Chrome web browsers. Sites that don’t have SSL certificates could provide negative experiences for users and rank lower in search engine results. To help cope, businesses should consider protecting their website with security protection and SSL Certificates, which can also help to build trust with their customers.

3. Give a voice to chatbots
Chatbots have become substantially smarter in recent years, growing in tandem with the rise of artificial intelligence. While English and Mandarin language chatbots have become widely available, Cantonese versions have been less forthcoming, but that is changing in Hong Kong. 

With 80% of businesses intending to start using chatbots by 2020², in many cases to reduce costs and boost profitability, now is the time to embrace them. This is particularly true for businesses like fashion and food retailers who need to provide immediate assistance to customers, and will need to place chatbots on their websites, social media profiles and apps to provide it.

4. Focus on the mobile-first experience
Nearly seven in ten (69.8%) of Hong Kong’s population were counted as smartphone users in 2016 according to eMarketer³ and at least 83% go online to use a smartphone at least once a day. These findings are aligned with the global trend that 57% of all search traffic comes from mobile and tablet searches. It is imperative that brands optimise their website design and SEO to prioritize mobile experiences, be it focusing on improving site speed, navigation structure, responsive web design or readability. 

This is particularly important if the site has an e-commerce offering. A product that allows online stores to be built quickly and be mobile friendly so customers can easily search, choose and purchase products on multiple platforms is ideal.

5. Lean on simple design and bold typography
Sites should be created with a responsive design in mind, helping to ensure that they look great on all screen sizes and devices. Design and development should also focus on offering fast load times and a lean user experience. To execute this, designers should shift away from using large images and overly decorative design elements.

Instead, they should focus on utilising simple elements like white space and catch user attention through bold fonts and bright colors that stand out against plain backgrounds. This design style makes it easier for users to view content on mobile devices, and it helps direct attention to call-to-actions and buttons which improve engagement and increase conversions.

Keep up with the latest website design and SEO trends
To help stand out amongst your competitors, business owners ought to consider trying any or all of these trends, and continue to keep up to date with further developments in web design and SEO. Keeping your website fresh, clean and informative can help new and current customers engage with your business and help your venture grow.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Roger Chen

Roger Chen

As Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific Region at GoDaddy, Roger is on point to build a market-leading position for GoDaddy in the Region by delivering compelling end-to-end experiences supported by world-class go to market activities offering SMB online solutions and platforms.

Prior to GoDaddy, he spent 6 years at Yahoo where he last served as Vice President of Product Management, led PM and Design teams for Asia across Media, Search, e-Commerce, Mobile, Partnerships, and Custom Solutions.

He has over 20 years of professional experience in Asia & US, focused on internet product development, marketing, consumer hardware, and telecom. His previous leadership experiences included Technical Director at AT&T/SBC Communications, and led product development of consumer laptop group at Dell with annual billion dollar product revenue.

Roger graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, double-majored BA degree in Computer Science and Economics.

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