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Is your website ready for Generation Z?

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(Image credit: Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash)

How is the perception of the web different in the latest generation? 

Generation Z (Gen Z), the first generation to grow up never experiencing a world without computers, has now become a driving force in every online trend and is important to every marketing decision being made. Quite different from any generation preceding them, Gen Z audiences expect more from their digital experiences, and existing websites need to innovate to stay competitive.

According to recent surveys, most of the Gen Z demographic believes the digital world determines what they do on a daily basis. For instance, 71% of Gen Z respondents believe online actions such as past purchases and social media interactions affect future job prospects, while 60% believe online reputation is important for dating success.

What can you do to get your website ready for Gen Z consumers? 

Gen Z is on course to make up around 40% of all consumers, and it’s the driver in virtually every consumer trend. Businesses that fail to target this demographic risk losing millions of dollars in revenue. On the positive side, this seismic shift is an opportunity for savvy businesses to capture a new market.

To accomplish this, companies must make their website the single most important part of their marketing strategy, express their purpose clearly, and deliver value at all times. Gen Z expects websites to be personalized and secure, to feel authentic, and to work as well on mobile devices as on desktops. Everything that a company does should be available online. Brands that can’t adapt to the unique demands of Gen Z will likely see their market shares diminish as they fade into obsolescence.

How should you measure the success of your website? 

Marketers have long tracked the number of conversions from visitors to customers a website gets, but now they must do much more. They often pay attention to actions that drive sales, but they must now also analyze actions that show the website has offered something of value to the visitor. Having a precise indication of how, where, and why your website is generating value to visitors is superbly useful when you’re aiming to make your website more appealing to Gen Z.

In the end, individual conversions are not as important as the long-term revenue you can get from a customer that returns time and again because of the value you’ve offered them and the brand loyalty you’ve built up. 

What can IT professionals and marketers do to speed up websites? 

Besides offering value, your website needs to be fast. Using speed test tools like wpengine.com/speed-tool and webtestpage.org can highlight what’s slowing your website down. Some easy fixes for speed issues include optimizing images, hosting on a faster platform, and using a content distribution network. 

How are IT purchase decisions being affected by these changes? 

Marketing and IT departments are both coming up with ideas on how best to appeal to this new generation of online consumers. Traditionally, IT departments have had the last say on where the budget for digital technology is spent, but marketers now undoubtedly have a bigger say in what a company should be spending its money on. In a recent survey, 25% of enterprise executives stated that their marketing department decides what software to buy.

At the very least, marketing and IT departments are working together more when deciding which software best meets the demands of Gen Z.

What will the WordPress 5.5 release offer for marketers? 

WordPress 5.5 will be the second major update to the content management software in 2020. For the first time, automatic plugin updates will be included in the WordPress core in 5.5, but perhaps the more interesting updates are coming to the full-site editing tool, Gutenberg.

WordPress’s Gutenberg block-based editing tool has had 79 public releases over the past two years. It’s an entirely new editing experience for WordPress, where you can drop modern, multimedia-heavy layouts onto your pages and edit them inline. These work across all screen sizes and devices, and you can see exactly how your site will look in real-time.

There are already over 2,000 blocks you can drop into your WordPress site using Gutenberg. All blocks can be customized using a standard toolbar. It’s here where the WordPress 5.5 update takes things a little further, as block customization tools have been improved.

The Gutenberg tool in WordPress makes it easier for non-technical marketers to create secure, high-performing websites without touching a line of code.

How will the future of web development pan out? 

WordPress powers over 30% of the world’s websites and one reason for its enduring appeal is that it is open-source. Expensive proprietary software fails to compete with open-source software like WordPress that has thousands of developers refining and perfecting every part of the user experience. Businesses must embrace open-source software or risk falling further behind.

Using an agile content management system like WordPress offers significant benefits to businesses, such as a faster time to market, the freedom to experiment with fresh design ideas, and a lower cost of ownership. Tasks can be completed by different marketing teams concurrently, and there’s less reliance on coding. Marketers are free to put their own designs into effect.

To meet the demands of Gen Z, businesses must use tools that allow marketers to make changes quickly and without fuss. Offering value to the customer means they’ll return time and again, and measuring the interactions that show value has been given makes it easier to improve the customer experience.