Think back to 10 years ago, it’s winter of 2009. There are 1.73 billion internet users and 234 million websites. It’s not critical to have a smartphone, but it sure is helpful since almost everyone is determined to beat their old roommate in Words with Friends.

Now, come back to last year, 2019. There are now 4.39 billion internet users and 1.94 billion websites. Forget smartphones, now we’ve got smart fridges that connect to the almighty cloud and let us know if we’re eating too much cheese for the second time in one day. So much changes in a decade, and in terms of the internet and website development, that sentiment is tenfold.

You can probably see where we’re going with this, but what does web development look like now?

TECH TOOLS – Page builders have been around for years; however, Jeremy Hill from The Partnership’s development team recognizes that they have advanced to the point where they’ve significantly changed your typical WordPress development project. “Site builds are more efficient, the learning curve for clients (upon delivery) is shorter, and upkeep and maintenance are minimal,” said Hill.

MOBILE – At this point, every company should have a mobile-friendly website. With over 60% of traffic coming from mobile devices, websites should be designed for mobile users first. If a user has a poor experience on a website, the chances of them returning or making a purchase is minimal at best.

SEO – It’s great to target visitors and browsers with tags and keywords, sure, but there’s another thing that might be affecting your conversions, and that’s slooooow loading times. According to data from Unbounce, 70% of consumers admit page speed impacts their willingness to buy and most people will wait only three seconds before they leave; however, while many marketers are aware of this, many do nothing to render their mistake. Making sure your website is up to speed will put you ahead of competitors who didn’t think fast enough.

What Will Website Development Look Like in 2021 & Beyond?

VIDEO – By 2021, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video. With 9 billion internet video users in the year 2021, ads will be targeted specifically to this medium. In fact, online ads will claim more than half (52%) of global ad spending for the first time in 2021. Video is key and king, so putting focus on videocentric content will earn you more views, clicks, and visits.

SECURITY – Cyberattacks and hackings occur more often than ever now, meaning it is paramount that developers ensure that their websites have layers of security that are not easily breached. Web security will be an important topic for the foreseeable future and knowing exactly how to protect your site will be a coveted, valuable, and marketable skill.

A.I. – Artificial Intelligence has already been prevalent in recent years, but in 2021 we can count on it being as ever-present as the back button. A.I. can be used for easier interaction with customers as they will be able to anticipate what a user wants. Chatbots are also a great way to implement an extra way to communicate with your customers sans manpower, and it’s a growing industry at an estimated $3.5 billion by 2021, so taking advantage now would be a wise move for developers.

It wasn’t too clear in the winter of 2009 to see where we’d be 10 years later, or to know the impact that technology and the internet would have on our lives and society, but we can be sure that change is inevitable in the digital era. Being aware (and ahead of the curve) will make life and business a whole lot easier.