The Latest Research for Web Designers, April 2020

Suzanne Scacca.
April 27, 2020
Although life hasn’t returned to normal yet, the web design and marketing space doesn’t seem to have been too badly disrupted — at least not with all the new research and surveys floating around. And thank goodness for that. If we can maintain some semblance of normalcy, I think we’ll all get through this crisis in good shape.
The Latest Research for Web Designers, April 2020.
In today’s roundup of the latest research for web designers, we’re going to look at a variety of topics, from 2020 holiday shopping predictions to missed opportunities in SEO.

Retail Experts Predict Huge Uptick in E-commerce Holiday Sales

Shelley E. Kohan wrote a piece for Forbes entitled, “Coronavirus Fears May Drive U.S. E-Commerce Sales Beyond 2020 Projections—And Change How People Shop In The Future”. While all we have at this point are guesses about when the coronavirus crisis will end and what will happen to the global economy as a result, Kohan has a really interesting data-backed theory. It goes like this: During the holiday season, there’s a noticeable increase in e-commerce sales. Because of the concentration of buying activity throughout the season, consumers become accustomed to this way of shopping, which is why e-commerce sales activity often remains high even as we move into non-holiday months. Principal analyst of eMarketer Andrew Lipsman explains:
During the holiday, a time with more concentrated buying activity, consumers spend more online creating a step-change, meaning the consumer may not return to past behavior.
Because of the quarantine and self-isolation orders around the globe right now, consumers are buying far more online than they have before. And the longer they have to rely on this means of shopping, the more comfortable they’re going to become with it. So, while predictions of holiday e-commerce sales might have been modest for 2020 prior to the coronavirus, that could easily change.

What Can Web Designers Do About This?

If Kohan’s and Lipsman’s theories are correct, e-commerce shopping is going to soar this fall/winter. So, it would be a good idea to start working with your clients now who plan on capitalizing on the holiday shopping season. It wouldn’t be a bad idea either to start helping clients prepare for the end of the crisis. For businesses that have slowed down or stopped altogether, they might be becoming complacent, just waiting for demand to return. Instead, they should be working on a plan to hit the ground running the second things start to pick up — and you should be right there with them to ensure their site is ready for it. That could mean preparing their web hosting for a surge in traffic, redesigning the homepage for summer sales, or helping them digitize more of their business now that consumers have become accustomed to doing stuff online.

Experian Survey Reveals Data Breach Fears

A recent Experian survey shed some light on the state of cybersecurity, why businesses fear data breaches, and what they’re doing about it. In 2019, data breaches were on the rise with 63% of organizations reporting the loss or theft of a thousand records or more. And as security breaches become more prevalent, companies are losing faith in their ability to fight off an attack. Of those surveyed, only 23% believe their business is protected from email phishing attacks and 20% believe they’re protected from ransomware. As for what they’re doing to protect their organizations, a lot of the focus is on securing their physical infrastructure:
  • 73% audit their physical security measures
  • 69% do background checks on employees and vendors
  • 57% do third-party cybersecurity assessments
  • 49% have cybersecurity insurance
What’s surprising is a lack of concern or attention paid to their websites and data captured there (at least in terms of this survey).

What Can Web Designers Do About This?

If you know that security is a primary concern for business clients, make it part of the early conversations you have with prospects. Lay out the facts about digital security. Then, make sure your proposal includes a plan for fortifying their website from security breaches. Even if their focus is on the physical protection of company data, they’ll appreciate you bringing the risks of a digital breach to their attention. And if you’re looking for ways to stabilize your income, this would nicely open the doors to a new opportunity selling website support and maintenance.

HubSpot Research Reveals a Gap in Technical SEO

A recent survey from HubSpot research reveals how many companies are using SEO and what kinds of technical SEO, specifically, they’re using. According to the report, 63.57% of organizations actively invest time in optimizing their web presences for search. While it’s good to know that many businesses are taking SEO seriously, it’s unnerving to see how few of them have made technical SEO a priority. According to the survey, companies employ the following technical SEO tactics:
  • 24% optimize for speed
  • 23.5% optimize for mobile
  • 23% localize their websites
  • 14% do keyword strategy
  • 11% create content clusters
  • 2% have a backlinking strategy
If search rankings are so important to companies, why aren’t they investing more time in these necessary optimization tactics? Is it a lack of education on the benefits of technical SEO or is it that their dedicated SEO doesn’t know how to implement them?

What Can Web Designers Do About This?

The first thing web designers need to focus on is the fact that less than two-thirds of companies are spending time on SEO. That alone poses an opportunity for designers to get in there and start educating prospects and clients on the benefits of SEO. This will then enable you to introduce yourself as part of the solution. You might not be an SEO expert in terms of content, but you’re certainly an expert in terms of mobile responsiveness, performance, accessibility, and tagging. If technical search optimization isn’t currently part of your web design checklist, it should be (at least for clients who understand and appreciate the value of technical SEO).


What’s so great about this research is that all of it points to greater opportunities for web designers. While the world might be feeling scared, isolated, and hopeless right now, there’s still work that needs to be done. And there’s a lot you as web designers can do to keep businesses afloat amidst all this uncertainty and ready to hit the ground running once we return to a normal pace of life again. Featured image via Unsplash.

Suzanne Scacca

Suzanne Scacca is a freelance writer by day, specializing in web design, marketing, and technology topics. By night, she writes about, well, pretty much the same thing, only those stories are set under strange and sometimes horrific circumstances.

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