The holidays are here! And that means we’ll soon be bidding farewell to a year that’s been mercilessly pegged as the worst one ever.
And as we look ahead to 2017, there are still a lot of unanswered Internet questions. Will new regulations expand Wi-Fi service and security? What can we expect from augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR)? How will the Internet of Things affect us?
The coming year has both positive changes and a few challenges in store. Here’s what you can expect from the Internet in 2017.
The Internet in 2017
WordPress Will Get Even Better for New Users
Many small biz owners, like freelance writer Michelle Nicholaisen, love the way WordPress works today. However, she predicts that WordPress changes in the coming year will make the content management system even easier to use by incorporating more features that enhance the UI in the admin and editor.
She also expects to see well-designed, easy-to-integrate e-commerce and subscription options for newbies. The newest theme, Twenty Seventeen, will answer many of those needs for business owners with advanced features that show site managers which elements can be changed in the live preview screen.
More Global Expansion
The Internet will continue to spread into the far-reaching corners of the world with more public access. For example, Iran will add domestic video and increase services for businesses; Guyana expects countrywide hotspots, especially in the hinterland communities to be available in 2017; and Forrester Research suggests broader penetration in emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Mexico.
Unlimited Access May Take a Few Hits
While some countries will push to provide more connectivity services, several phone and cable companies may actually reduce access. Comcast, for example, has decided to start limiting Internet usage to 1 terabyte of data per month.
According to the company, most users don’t come close to using that much data. However, the change could prompt some stream-happy users to rethink their entertainment habits.
Updates Will Emerge for The Internet of Things (IoT)
Because hackers continue to develop ways to steal personal info, smart devices could need updates to protect privacy. IoT updates will include more options for automated crash reporting and new analytic tools to capture consumer behavior and monitor performance.
Tech advances will continue to include wearable technology and better user experiences. In fact, by 2020 it’s expected that the IoT will touch every aspect of marketing, so according to Dzone, “brands relying heavily on marketing should include IoT security advancement in their annual marketing strategy budget.”
Big SSL Changes on the Horizon
HTTPS has grown to become a trust factor for users and is a way of demonstrating that you truly care about protecting online privacy. SSL encrypts the link between your server and your browser, so every responsible business owner should be moving in that direction, according to WordPress.org. Adding SSL to your business website is easy and affordable, and there is really no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it.
Beginning in January, Google is going to label sites that collect confidential information as “non-secure” unless they’re protected with a dedicated IP and SSL Certificate. An SSL certificate legitimizes your website by keeping form submissions secure and ensuring potential customers that you’re safe to do business with.
Before the changes take place, read up on the new labeling system that includes “non-secure,” “neutral,” and “secure” indicators to watch for, like the little green lock icon that denotes a secure site or the red triangle that signals a potentially broken or unsafe site.
And stay tuned for a big announcement about SSL from Bluehost in the new year.
The Health of the Medical Industry Continues to Improve
The Internet has dramatically transformed healthcare delivery in the United States and big data will continue to influence diagnosing and treatment decisions as the new year begins.
Estimates suggest there will be approximately 1.7 billion machine-to-machine connections that make better use of the huge volume of data generated and collected from instrumented appliances, machines, and applications serving the medical industry.
More clinics will utilize web technology to deliver lab results, enable self-scheduling, and send text alerts.
More Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Elements
The popularity of Pokémon GO should come as a wakeup call for all business owners. The potential for adding gaming features to a website is mind-boggling, so expect to see more sites with AR and VR elements.
Creating believable virtual reality isn’t easy, but business owners who embrace the emerging technology will position themselves to drive long-term engagement. The key is personalizing the message.
As UX designer Laura Cortes writes, “We should be thinking of using personal information about the user, such as their music tastes, eating or exercising habits, or even health stats, as variables to personalise an experience and create something that reads and interacts with the human interface.”
Widespread Design Changes for the New Year
The new year will usher in more “mobile first” marketing. That means business leaders will focus on optimizing online experiences for mobile devices before websites are designed and built.
You’ll see more flat design features that are perfect for portable devices and smaller screens. Some professionals expect to see an increase in custom images and fewer stock photos, as web designers work to personalize the viewing experience with photos and videos that reveal more about the brand behind the website. Look for interesting fonts, authentic images, and bold colors.
Video Will Reign
While content will still be king, video will reign in 2017. Images are a must-have for any business website. Simply put, they engage viewers better than plain text.
It’s key for product demos, advertisements, and other content delivery. Every year YouTube video consumption increases by 100 percent. Real estate listings with video get 403 percent more inquiries. And 64 percent of people are more likely to make a purchase after seeing a product video.
As you can see, in 2017 some things will change significantly, while others will gradually evolve. One thing that won’t change: Bluehost’s commitment to WordPress. Ready to start your own WordPress site? Take a look at our optimized hosting plans or chat with a representative.