You may be thinking that a new website is a huge investment, or you may be questioning how the return will exceed the expense. Outlined in this post are some elements I have put together to make this decision easier to make. Please use these elements as a tool to help further refine your brand.
Is your website mobile-friendly?
- Is your website responsive?
- People are consuming content every day, all day on
- Mobile isn’t going to die: It will continue to thrive.
Do You Have a Responsive Website?
What does responsive mean exactly? A better question to ask is what problem does responsive web design solve? Responsive design changes the landscape of a website based on the size of the browser window. The landscape of a website should change to ensure the user is getting the best experience possible, no matter what device they choose to visit a website on. Snap Agency’s blog is actually responsively built, meaning the layout should magically adjust itself to more comfortably fit the new width of the browser, even if you make the page as skinny as the resolution of a mobile phone.
“ A building’s foundation defines its footprint, which defines its frame, which shapes the facade. Each phase of the architectural process is more immutable, more unchanging than the last. Creative decisions quite literally shape a physical space, defining the way in which people move through its confines for decades or even centuries.”
– Ethan Marcotte | The creator of responsive design
Why is responsive design important? Making your website responsive is important for three reasons. Firstly, your target audience will receive the best brand perception possible no matter what device they choose to visit your website on. Secondly, your target audience will convert a great deal more on all devices more than they would without it simply because they are able to do so more easily. Lastly, responsive design is important because Google refers to responsive web design as the industry’s best practice.
Google feels this way because responsive web design means sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index and organize content. When websites have a separate URL and HTML for mobile use, it requires Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.
People are consuming content every day, all day with mobile devices.
In your daily routine, take note of the people around you. How many of them are looking at their phone or other devices and how often do they do it? Chances are there are too many people with their eyes glued to a screen to even count. This is the age of information and people are starving for it! The simple fact of the matter is that you will get more people to interact with your website, consume your content and/or buy your services/products when your website is mobile-friendly.
Mobile Users Are Different
Mobile users behave much differently than desktop users. While desktop and mobile users are usually the same person, they behave differently depending on their browsing situation. While using a mobile device, users are usually on the go. This means mobile users can be more time-sensitive than desktop users. Research shows that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than just three seconds to load, and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices. That is just too much business to risk losing out on especially in today’s market.
Mobile isn’t all about being quick: It’s about the experience and the story you are sharing with people. People are smart and can tell when they are being sold to. Today, people choose whether or not they want to watch your commercial, look at your products or learn about your services. People have the ability to look away within seconds if they feel like they are being forced to do anything. Solving this problem is simple—give people something they want to look at.
The future on mobile and what you should expect.
Mobile is not the future. It is the right here and now. If you are not optimized for mobile, you are behind in today’s market. The growth of mobile searches has grown consistently over the last several years. According to eMarketer, 2015 saw 50.1 percent of digital search ad spending, and that is expected to grow to 62.9 percent by 2016.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
You need to implement responsive design and adopt a mobile-first mindset to stay current. What exactly is a mobile-first mindset? Mobile-first is an idea for designing the smartphone experience first, then working upwards to tablets, desktops and possibly beyond. Now that mobile search has surpassed desktop search, it is only logical it should come first in the website design process.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO: Where do you stand?
Not only is user friendliness important, SEO, or search engine optimization, is equally important to gain conversions. SEO helps search engines figure out what each page is about and how it may be useful for users.
- Can people find you?
- Why ranking matters on Google.
- Knowing how people search for you.
Can You Be Found?
Do you know where you are currently standing in the search results today? There are certainly different levels you could go through in order to gain better SEO value. For beginners, I suggest you first ensure that your site is even accessible by search engines.
If you are at a more intermediate level and have reassured that your site is indeed accessible, you’ll need to next create content that is optimized to acquire search traffic. A couple of tools you can use for this are Google Autocomplete, Ubersuggest and your customer’s questions. You’ll need to come up with a list of keywords your target audience is searching for to find your products or services. Once you have, you’ll need to create pages that target each broad topic.
If you are more advanced and have considered all of this, then you need to remember that links are still the most important external ranking fact in Google’s algorithm. This is where networking will come into play, ask your friends, customers, business partners and/or encourage employees to reference your company website wherever they can. Most of all, remember that none of this will show results overnight and that there is no such thing as a quick-win tactic. Google has a Webspam team, so simply buying links is not a sustainable strategy.
Why Ranking Matters
Being found on popular search engines today could mean the rise or fall of a company. In fact, 93 percent of all buying decisions start with an online search. A study leaked from AOL’s search engine logs and reported the following: 42.25 percent of all click-through traffic is by the first ranking position in the search results while second position receives 11.94 percent and third receives 8.47 percent. The ranking list rapidly dwindles to nothing quickly, so you can imagine how crucial it is to be in the top three. Your search ranking not only provides the greatest amount of traffic, but it also establishes to your consumers as to the quality of your services or products.
How People Search for You
So far you have been guessing what people are typing into their search engine to find you, but how do you get to the point where you know what people are searching for? Knowing who your target audience is and what they need/want is critical for keyword success. It all starts with words typed into a search box.
“ Ignore the long tail at your peril—search marketing website content strategies must allow for this ‘impossible to predict’ form of visits or risk losing out to a more expository and prolific competitor. – Rand Fishkin from Moz News
You must have a clear understanding for the demand a given term or phrase has and also understand the work it will take to achieve a high ranking. If big brands take the top 10 results and you’re just starting out on the web, the uphill battle for rankings can take years of effort. Here are some resources you can use to gain more understanding:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
- Google Trends
- Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence
- Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand
There are many other sources for keyword research. Snap Agency’s blog has many posts about keyword research and is a great place to start discovering what could work for you in climbing the SERP ladder.
Give Your Audience Valuable Content
People don’t invest in things that are not valuable to them. To gain attention you have to create consistent content that is interesting and valuable to your audience. You have to build relationships with the people that show interest in your products or services to know what is truly interesting to them.
- What is content and why does it matter?
- Without content there is no purpose to a designed website.
- People consume content every day, all day.
What Is Content and Why Does It Matter?
Content is a term used to describe information delivered to your audience through copy, graphics or photography. People enjoy sharing content that interests them to their followers via social media; your goal is to interest people enough to get people to share your content. This in turn will help spread the word about your brand and can lead in generating you more customers. This is why at Snap Agency we recommend you have a blog; a consistent blog establishes you as a leader in your field and helps you rank better in search engines.
Without Content, There Is No Purpose to a Web Design
A website needs content in order to be designed well. What is the message you are trying to communicate? What is the tone of voice? Think of it this way: You and your friends are going camping and you all are planning on kayaking together when you get there. Well, when you go on this trip you probably are not going to choose to go in a Smart car—you are going to choose to travel in a large SUV or truck. In this scenario, think of you, your friends and the kayaks as the content and think of the design as the vehicle in which you choose to get there.
When I design a website I am not going to just say, “OK, right away, I will get started on that now.” I ask a lot of questions about the wants and needs of the client to so I can provide an end product that works the best for them and their customers. Without all of those questions being answered several different ways, a website will not serve you to its fullest potential and you are essentially leaving money on the table.
Does the content on your website communicate the message you want your customers to read? Designers are not content creators and they will resort to writing content themselves to help their design look more fleshed out. I know this because I do it all the time when I don’t have the content to design with. This is fine but it might not always be the best to use for your brand. Remember, you know your brand better than anyone. Do not rely on the designer to write your content unless you are paying for them to do so.
People Consume Content Every Day, All Day
Mobile digital media time in the U.S. is now significantly higher at 51 percent compared with desktop at 42 percent. This time spent online is an average of at least 5.6 hours a day and growing. Today, the World Wide Web is literally attached to the hip. Or, let me clarify, our wrists. With emerging devices like smart watches or wristbands, it’s easy to understand how people are consuming content 24/7.
Continue reading: When is it time to update your website? Part Two