It’s a potentially dangerous balancing act, but one that may also prove to be your ace in the hole.
January 2014 marked the first time in a long while that the number of websites on the Internet actually went down. While there was an increase in domain registrations during the one month period between December 2013 and January 2014, online tech site Tech Made Easy notes that the number of active sites contracted by about 4 million to just over 180 million.
Thousands of sites are opened and closed every day, so that data naturally doesn’t hold up as well today. It does perfectly illustrate just how busy the Internet is, though. Even if you’re in a very niche business, that’s still a lot of direct and indirect competition for an entrepreneur trying to get his or her company noticed. It makes it all the more important to be as unique as you can be to stand out in the crowd.
One simple way to do this is by bucking current design trends. Consider the online casino industry. It’s as cutthroat as they come, with online gaming giants pouring considerable (read: millions upon millions) amounts of money into advertising alone. Most sites carry similar games and sport clean, techie designs. Gaming Realms, however, decided to go the opposite route for their casino site Castle Jackpot by harkening back to the times of themed land-based casinos like the Excalibur in Las Vegas. The design is completely medieval-themed, from the graphics to the typography, and it works – there’s nothing quite like it in the online casino market.
Of course, there’s a bit of a caveat involved when you decide to buck trends. Try to be unique, but don’t lose sight of your customer and their needs. Become too far out and you run the risk of visitors not knowing what your company is all about. Worse still, you may end up alienating your existing audience. As the Usabilla blog points out, “Your design may be unique and stand out, but the result might end up like a sore thumb if usability is neglected.” It’s basically a potentially dangerous balancing act, but one that may also prove to be your ace in the hole.