The end of the year is a great time to start thinking about planning your businesses' online marketing strategy for the next year. 2016 will see an increase in the importance of content creation, increased growth in mobile, changes to SEO best practices, a diversification of social media and growing investment in digital assistants. We've outlined 5 key online marketing trends that SMEs need to be ready for in 2016 and some tips that can help your business stand out from the crowd...

Present times have seen the web design industry flourish with the promise of promoting a business and/or marketing a product. As there are millions of users constantly exploring the internet, searching for what they are looking for in the comfort of their own homes - many businesses won't want to miss out of the likelihood of profits they can receive from this activity.

How does social media differ for small businesses?

Social media is a great tool for small businesses and - relatively speaking - the cost of entry is low. According to the social media marketing industry report, 92% of small business agree that social media is a crucial part to their marketing. More than 50% of small businesses agree that social media increases sales.

However, small businesses fail when trying to compete with bigger companies. Bigger companies have what seems like unlimited content while small businesses do not have the funds or time to reach the same level. Rather than competing with the big boys, however, small companies can grow by concentrating on creating loyalty, brand awareness and increasing the traffic to their website.

Social media has two billion active users worldwide; 81% of this staggering amount will be accessing their social media profiles using a mobile phone. Mobile social media is an incredible opportunity for a business to build and improve connections and relationships with clients. As there is an increasing use of mobile devices to access the internet, keep up to date with the news, find entertainment etc. it is important for businesses to adapt! Google released an algorithm update this April in boosting the rankings of mobile-friendly websites and businesses.

The design of your website is as crucial to your business as is the content that is included on your website. Web design usually receives mixed opinions on what is good or bad design usually because it can be subjective. However, some may believe that having a sleek, modern, up to date website is what constitutes a good website design, whereas others will prefer a muted down version of the former, and something simple will work just as well. Website design preference will often vary depending on the particular industry or business, sometimes on which web design is trending, but neither of these designs is wrong, or bad. What elements are considered 'wrong' in website design?