I’ve lived in New York City for over 20 years now. I have watched gentrification change neighborhood after neighborhood. It began in Manhattan and then moved to Brooklyn.
Today, few could imagine squatters living in the East Village. But, if that didn’t exist in the 1980s, we would never have had the musical Rent. The same thing happened to Williamsburg in the early 2000s. Gentrification can be a major boon to the area, but every city needs an enclave where creativity can flourish.
For New York, I would argue Bushwick is still one of those places, with its collage of multi-color industrial reclaimed sites. It still has a vibe that is unique within New York City. Many of the artists and others displaced from Williamsburg made the move to Bushwick. They brought their creativity, quirkiness, and free-spirit to the neighborhood, which exploded with several unique businesses catering to these new residents.
Bushwick has a mix of artists, actors, and other creatives mixed within one of the largest Latino populations in the city. This influx of gentrification creates both opportunities and challenges. Crime rates go down. Businesses are more successful. Rents and property values go up.
Time will tell, but I hope Bushwick can keep its character while improving the economic prosperity of both its new and existing residents.
Great web design is important no matter where you are located. However, in densely populated areas like Bushwick, where mobile usage is high. These best practices are highly important especially because
For a web design to be successful, it needs to be fast & responsive to do well on mobile, and intuitive so users find what they need quickly.
I remember as a kid the five second rule. If food fell on the floor, it was still ok to eat it if was on the ground for less than five seconds.
Turns out that germs are more forgiving than mobile users. There is not broad agreement, but it seems they follow the under three second rule.
If a page takes over 3 seconds to load, mobile users bounce as the Pingdom chart below suggests.
SEMRush gauges page speed using a 1 second rule. I would argue they are closer. My personal experience suggests that the widow has continued to narrow.
Search engines grade your speed as part of your ranking. Therefore, page speed is an important factor in search engine optimization.
The root cause of most speed issues is the content management system (CMS) that you choose for your website.
In plain English, these are programs such as WordPress and Wix. These programs have three parts.
The browser has to fetch the data and the full theme in order to render the page. After the browser parses the content, it has to sort through all of the themes features to see which to use. This causes delays in loading, which is typically called render blocking CCS.
With all these disadvantages, you might ask why someone would choose a CMS. A CMS is user friendly. They are faster to build, easier to maintain, and simpler to update. You do not need to understand coding or even basic HTML or CSS commands to get great looking results.
The key issue with the theme. Every theme carries a set of instructions called cascading style sheets (CSS), which tell the browser how the page should look. It will load your content onto the screen following these instructions.
According to Best Designs, original graphics are the most successful.
“Original graphics make up 40% of all successful visual content that accomplishes marketing goals, but 43% of marketers struggle with the consistent production of captivating visuals.”
Since we are communicating one message, the artwork that supports it must work very hard to support the message. This is where local market know-how can really help. Original photos and images of your business in Bushwick interacting with your neighborhood can add value.
It also helps with when your calls to action focus on local events in and around Bushwick or at your business location.
Every email, no matter how trivial, should have a call to action. This is where all the hard work above pays off. If we omit one, we just wasted resources that could have been spent more cost effectively.
We cover email list building in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. Again, we will just hit the highlights here as it pertains to Bushwick. Every neighborhood has summer fairs. While these were severely impacted by COVID, in our post COVID world they should roar back with a vengeance. It would be smart to see if you could piggy-back off one or more of them.
Incentives, deals, free trials, and samples are all great options when developing your calls to action. See if you can partner with your neighbors to create a shared promotion. This way one shopper in Bushwick has two or more places to visit while out in the neighborhood.
In a gentrifying neighborhood, the first decision you need to make is deciding on your target. There will be those unique businesses that can appeal to both new and existing residents, but that will not be the norm. Depending on your business, it may force you to choose. Once you make that choice, Local digital marketing can help you reach that target more effectively.
If your developer helps you set up your tracking codes and other third party integrations, then you can minimize any issues those create.
The beauty of a custom build is there is no trade-off between speed and quality. When you factor in the lost revenue from bounces and poor conversion that a slower site creates, the investment generally pays for itself.
It does not matter that much which theme you choose. All will need some modification to be to pull you out of the 20-40s on Google Page Speed Insights.
There are three common options.
Users expect the same level of user experience (UX) regardless of device. This is simply the bare minimum of performance.
Custom builds are generally designed for mobile first. They are first designed to work on mobile, then scaled for desktop, not the other way around.
There are several very good themes across CMS providers that can provide a seamless UX experience. However, they require some quality control.
These are not generally built mobile first. Therefore the first issue is image sizing. If you let the theme do it, it can cost you on performance. Therefore, you will want to be mindful of these pitfalls if you go this route.
The key challenge with any design is that it is so easy to lost in the visual and aesthetics that we lose track of why people come to a site.
Fundamentally, a website is a communication tool. If we lose sight of this purpose, the performance in terms of dwell time, bounce, or conversion will suffer.
In fact, when users were asked what they valued most in a website they chose finding information by a 7 to 1 margin.
A separate report showed 60% users left because they could find what they needed.
For a great web design, it should excel in three key areas.