So, as usual, there is a lot going on in the world of web marketing.  And with all the noise online, some of this may have gone unnoticed or at least under-noticed.  Well, never fear, because we’ve put together this quick list of 3 new trends you might want to look at…

One – HTML5

You may have heard some people talking about Apple and Flash.  Basically, Steve Jobs and his crew have decided, once again, not to support Adobe Flash (you know, all that cool video and animation stuff on web sites) on their iPads, iTouch, iPhones, etc.

This has really upset Adobe and Flash evangelists (as well as Apple haters).  But, this does not mean you can’t have animation on these devices.  You just need to use something other than Flash.  That something is HTML5.

HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, has been the standard language for all web sites since forever.  And it has gone through some updates and enhancements over the years.  HTML5 is the latest standard to come out for publishing content on the web.  While not all browsers currently support it, it looks as if most will soon.

With it you can do things typically only available with Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, etc. like video players, rich animation or drag and drop functionality.

Of course, there are still some limitations.  Flash is still the preferred language for most of this.  But while HTML5 may not be a complete game changer, it has made this type of feature more accessible as a possible web site enhancement language option.  Just don’t drink all the Kool-Aid just yet; HTML5 is not quite a universal standard. Be sure to consult with a professional.

Some HTML5 benefits:

  • No plug-in needed to watch video as long as the browser supports HTML5
  • Standardizations for future HTML coding will cover more elements contained within a web site
  • Works on Apple devices and will allow developers to show video and more on mobile devices that do not support Flash

Two – WordPress as a CMS

Yes, WordPress has been around for a while.  I believe at the time of this post, WordPress 3.0.1 was available for download.  But, WordPress is still in the early stages of adoption as a Content Management Solution or CMS. Typically, it’s been used primarily as a blogging platform.

You may have seen these sites, very basic with a look and navigational structure that seems strangely familiar.  The reason being is that there are a bunch of free WordPress sites out there using a free theme – a templated look that you can plug-in to your WordPress blog to spruce it up a bit (“templated” meaning you aren’t the only one with that look).

Of course this is not ideal for companies looking to maintain their brand online and to establish a unique and effective web presence.  Recently, however, developers have updated the source code so that you can control so much more of your WordPress web site.

It’s only been since version 2.8 or so that you’ve been able to create unique sub pages, landing pages, and blog templates.  With these enhancements, companies can now build their site on a WordPress platform without losing the richness of a fully customized site with user targeted content layers.

Since WordPress has certain editing tools built into it, it can also be used as a full Content Management System.  Now, companies that were faced with a tricky CMS choice – Adobe Contribute (low end, cheap and limited), proprietary CMS (middle to high end, usually cost prohibitive) or Open Source like Joomla or Drupal (high end, free code, high cost development) – have a more scalable solution.

Some WordPress as a CMS Benefits:

  • The source code is Open Source which means it is free and requires no fee or license
  • Source code is well supported, documented and can be easily migrated
  • Search Engines, so far, tend to index these sites very well
  • The admin interface is straightforward and user-friendly

Three – Third Party Social Media Integration

Social Media is nothing new, but the ways in which you can integrate it into your marketing strategy has turned Social Media into a viable marketing enhancement option for most businesses. Basically, this means unifying your message across multiple media outlets.

In the early days of Social Media, some companies, in an effort to be bleeding edge, abandoned their traditional web marketing efforts and put all their eggs in the Social Media basket – case in point, Skittles.  The problem with this approach is that you ditch what the masses are used to in hopes to be first in a marketing trend and… your clients don’t get it.

Now, with certain trends like Facebook’s Open Graph Initiative, Twitter, and other available APIs, you can link all of these without abandoning your web site as your organization’s online communication hub.  You can feed your blog posts into your homepage, your Twitter posts (tweets) too.  You can feed your blog posts into your Facebook fan page and your LinkedIn profile.  And your YouTube videos can go on all of it.  And so on and so forth.

The companies that are doing this while still treating their web site as their marketing “home-base” are really seeing the benefits.  Your message is spread further and through more channels.  Search Engines have more ways to find your content.  And your target audience is better able to find you, interact and convert.

Some Third Party Social Media Integration Benefits:

  • Unified messaging translates to Social Media
  • More ways to engage your target audience (find them where they live)
  • A stronger opportunity for your message to go viral
  • Can maintain more control by keeping your company owned web site as your information hub

We hope we have helped you see some of what is happening now and see how it could be of actual use to your organization.  As is in the case for most of what we post, these trends are proven and can be viable options as marketing add-ons.  If there are others you would like us to expound upon, please comment and let us know.  Of course, if you have questions or would like some assistance with implementing these tools, etc, please contact us and let us know.

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.