One of the best ways to learn how online marketing pages should be constructed is to look at what the most popular sites are doing.

Earlier this week, Mashable shared what appears to be Twitter’s own mockup for a new page layout. If it’s real, it represents an enormous departure from the iconic Twitter newsfeed. However, it also highlights some of the most important design principles for the evolving internet – particularly for online marketers.

More visual real estate

The most striking update is an emphasis on pictures. Whereas profile pictures have historically been small and low-key, the mockup in question makes them much bigger. There is also an expanded cover photo. Most importantly, there’s a lot more room to breathe when pictures are sent in Tweets. All of this supports the principle that visual media helps with engagement. In terms of content marketing, Brafton reported on the phenomenon of cross-network photo promotion and the impact it can have on overall visibility.

A full content menu

The more content you provide to readers, the longer they’ll stay on your website. Giving them access to the most relevant articles and media makes the transition from a landing page or blog home page much more seamless, and Twitter seems to be taking this concept and running with it. The new design emphasizes related Tweets, similar users and hashtags that tie into trending pieces around the site.

Obvious calls to action

The primary actions that Twitter wants its users to perform are sharing and retweeting. The new layout makes this easier with clearer controls for sending Tweets to others or favoriting them. Similarly, online marketers should use designs that incorporate prominent but seamless calls to action. This way, viewers who land on a product page or news article have more incentive to complete a certain action or convert before leaving the site.

Highlight the new

It’s important for both SEO success and reader engagement to have fresh and new content front and center, and Twitter’s new design emphasizes that. Instead of an infinitely scrolling list where each entry is given equal weight, a good marketing website will draw attention to recent posts and prominent content.

As The Next Web pointed out, Twitter’s possible future looks more and more like Facebook’s – at least, if this new layout goes live. That’s an interesting comparison, because Facebook is constantly tweaking its News Feed to incorporate the latest visual design trends. Don’t think that you have to constantly update your company’s layout to maximize its effectiveness, but do realize that social media sites like Twitter can provide excellent lessons in managing customer navigation. 

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.