When the Internet first became an everyday thing, the focus of developers and designers was to create the most eye-catching graphics possible in an attempt to lure users in. Unfortunately, a lesson learned by many designers and developers (we're looking at you, Myspace) learned in time that these tactics didn't pay off.
First, the trouble was that servers were not prepared to handle customized layouts that consisted of dozens of gifs, combined with autoplay music code. Second, even if these servers could handle the load, most computers at the time couldn't process all of this data, leading to very slow load times, and in many cases, crashes.
How Google Changed Things
During the reign of Myspace, Google was quickly and quietly rising in the ranks (no pun intended) of search engines and advertising. As it moved along, Google focused on minimalism, much like Apple. Its strength was in its ability to avoid the glitz and glamour of sites like Myspace, and instead, it focused on streamlining its business. This eventually lead to faster products, and then apps, ultimately dominating the field for search engines and advertising.
Google's New Logo and Overhaul
Recently, in September of 2015, Google overhauled not only its logo, but also its take on the web entirely. The point behind the logo change was intended to demonstrate that Google no longer recognizes its place among various devices, including phone, desktop, laptop, and tablet. Instead, as Google has rolled out various new products over the years, including Maps, Music, and more, there has been a need to integrate all of these directions into one single brand. The recent September logo redesign is a brand signal of this effort.
What This Means for You
If you run any type of professional association or organization, you need to take this move on Google's part as a sign of the times. Google, which is staffed by brilliant professionals, is basically saying that groups need to consolidate. While there are still brands, such as Altria, PepsiCo, and Nestle, that have huge expansions into other brands, the thinking now is to ensure that the majority of work is done with one single vision instead of breaking things up. Furthermore, online content needs to be easily accessible and understood by consumers.
Redefining Your Website
A good idea right now might be to take a fresh, clean look at your publication's website. Is there clutter? Does it make sense? Does it integrate all that you have to offer in one place? If not, now is the time to re-brand, reorganize, and rethink what you're doing and what you aim to do. You may not be Google, but something simple, like changing a logo, can go a long way in changing how potential and current subscribers perceive you.
Once your publication has redefined it's website, what strategies will you employ in order to increase website traffic?