Responsive Design – it’s not just a buzzword. We’ve written quite a few blog posts on the subject here at TKG. We’ve stressed the importance of providing a powerful, functional web experience whether the user is sitting in front of their PC or in the back of a taxi cab miles away from home.
Chances are if you are already working with an online marketing firm, you know whether or not your website is, in fact, responsive. But for the small business owner who doesn’t have a bevy of web experts at their disposal, this can be a tricky question.
Enter the Mobile Web Transmogrification Portal! The what? Transmog is a simple tool that generates a real-time working preview of your website as it would appear on various mobile devices. Preview options include the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy S3. Simply plug your URL into the tool and choose the display choice. You can toggle through the different display types and click through to any page on your website. The display updates real time so you can see whether your entire site is responsive or if your homepage is the only piece that is user-friendly.
We’ve captured a few examples of what a nice, responsive website looks like on the iPad and Galaxy using this tool. Give it a try! If you aren’t pleased with what you see on the display, you know where to find us!
For years I would preach about keeping all relevant content “above the fold” on the home page. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase, it simply refers to the area presented to visitors when a web page loads in the browser window. Wikipedia might explain it a little better. Anything included below the fold was most certainly lost forever. Never to be seen again. Yikes!
Why did I hammer this concept home for several years? Because it was truly believed that people didn’t like to scroll down a page to find what they were looking for. And maybe that was true way back when.
I think that concept is one dimensional and isn’t very true anymore.
While you still want to keep your biggest message on top, you can include many details on a page and people WILL scroll if they are motivated to find out more. Another reason to disregard my old advice is because search engines look at the entire page and index content no matter where it’s at. If it’s relevant, then it deserves a place at the table.
I think a large player in this arena is the adoption of smart phones and the necessity to scroll on those devices. People have become accustomed to viewing websites on smaller screens with the need to scroll. Have you ever spent 5 (or 60) minutes scrolling through Facebook? Yep, you’ll just keep going without any worry.
If you’ve lived in fear of the fold maybe it’s time to reconsider things. You may be missing an opportunity to get great, relevant content on your home page that will ultimately help convert potential customers. Not sure where to start? Call us and we can look at your website together.
Over the years, the ways in which we view the internet have changed dramatically. I still remember the days when my family dialed up the internet on our old Compaq, and now users have the option to access the internet virtually on their TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones, netbooks or even their refrigerators. The point is, users are accessing your site on a range of different devices, and you want to be seen everywhere you can.
If your company is willing to invest the time, money and resources it takes to create a digital playground where customers can go to discover your products and services, it’s worth adapting that investment to display correctly on all relevant devices.
So what’s the takeaway? To stay current and relevant in the digital space, it is important to consider responsively designed websites. Responsive sites are quickly becoming the industry’s standard because of their ability to adapt to changing technologies, and bonus: they have all sorts of residual business benefits.
Have additional thoughts about responsive design? We’d love to hear them!
As I have shared previously, having a business website that caters to desktop, tablet and smartphone users (responsive design) is crucial as Google is giving more weight to sites that offer a great experience to all of its visitors. So, let’s say you’ve invested in your company website to do just that – what’s the next step?
Obviously, you want people to find your website and pay it a visit. You do this by having a good SEO/content strategy in place; and you can also bring more traffic to the website through paid advertising, social media posting and email marketing.
So let’s say you have good traffic coming to your site. What are you doing with it? Is your website generating leads? Is it creating sales for your company? If not, then you need to look at what’s called “conversion optimization.” ‘Conversions,’ for the purpose of this article, is a fancy word meaning leads and sales – how someone makes contact with your business. If you have traffic, but you are not receiving leads or sales, then there is a disconnect somewhere – and you need to find it.
Leads and Sales
There are three primary ways to generate leads from your website: phone calls, form submissions, and live chat. Phone numbers should be prominently placed and easy to find by site visitors. Forms should be simple and quick to fill out so users can send you contact you. And chat is icing on the cake – a simple way to get instant gratification if you are a website visitor with questions. We have found that people like to reach out to our clients in different ways, meaning each person has their preference. Why not cater to all three?
Let’s say you have an e-commerce website; you don’t want leads, you want sales. Make the experience smart, easy and intuitive. Does your current e-commerce website offer features such as the ability to order from the product listing page? Can I set-up an account and save my past orders? Is the checkout process simple and painless? Can I get free shipping or a discount on larger orders? Are you offering as many products as possible to potentially expand order size? Does your e-commerce website convey the feeling of trust by offering a way to contact your company, a return policy, testimonials, product reviews, etc.? And do you offer live chat to help buyers overcome any ordering challenges or questions?
Challenge yourself to objectively review your website. Determine whether or not you need help with traffic or conversions; then, take the necessary steps to improve its performance. You may be able to make some changes on your own or you may need some help from a web development/web marketing company. Whatever the case, DO something. The internet is not going away, and I can almost guarantee your competitors will be looking at this, too. Why not beat them to the punch?
All year long you’ve been working on online marketing efforts, putting time and money into your website. We are sure 2014 has been one of your best years ever.
As you head into 2015 and plan to make this next year even better, there are a few items to focus on to meet your new business goals. So we polled our experts and looked back through our archives this year to bring you the top 5 things to think about for your website in 2015
If your website is not easily accessed from or adaptable to any mobile device, or if you’ve been using mobile workarounds, or if you hear the term “responsive design” and say “huh?” then it’s absolutely time for a change.
(Seriously. We cannot emphasize this one enough.)
With more and more customers approaching access to the Web fluidly from any device, it’s more important than ever that your information and products be accessible and viewable on any screen.
No matter how good your online marketing strategy is currently working for you, it’s always wise to review your efforts and update them if necessary.
For example, you might place an emphasis on customer service in your business and have your 800 number prominently displayed in your utility navigation on your website. But have you thought about capturing customers sooner with the added convenience of live chat?
Or what about the use of opt-in SMS messaging for coupons or reminders? Sending some of your online ad budget toward Clickbank or Commission Junction? Custom landing pages for specific articles or capture opportunities (e.g. grabbing customers from a trade show)? YouTube, Facebook or Twitter ads? Sponsored Pins on Pinterest? Instagram contests?
If you have an idea, a niche audience or an upcoming campaign, consider tactics that may not have once been a part of your regular online marketing strategy.
Just to get you started, here are a few articles from TKGenius:
OK, when was the last time you audited your product listings and made sure every photo was up to date, compelling and showed your product accurately? How about the last time you went through your descriptions and updated them? Or–gasp–are you still listing products you no longer carry?
What about your forms? Are you still using tiny boxes with hard to read fields, or requiring information that makes it hard for customers to fill them out easily?
Do you always remember to update your copyright year on your website? What about your profiles on Social Media? Do they currently reflect your current brand message?
Auditing your site can take time, but is well worth the effort. Here are even more helpful articles from our experts:
What message is your website REALLY conveying? Is it consistent with your overall brand message?
It’s easy for brands to overlook their messaging online. Cluttered homepages, mis-matched logos across Social profiles, and landing pages that are all text actually detract from your overall message.
We’ve often found that many businesses are really good with their print messaging, but, for whatever reason, this messaging gets lost online. Part of the problem is due to feeling like everything needs to fit on one screen, instead of strategically using content, images, SEO or other tactics to funnel a visitor exactly where you want them.
Making your product or service offering the center of attention and erring on the side of minimalism in your design is actually a better way to convey your message. It’s also easy to employ the use of sidebar stickies or custom slider photos or videos to convey your message. And don’t forget the use of your blog or Social Media to reinforce your message regularly.
Unless you’ve been ignoring the online marketing sphere for, oh, the last eight years or so, you’ve probably heard the term “content” or “content marketing” at some point. But as both consumers, marketers and Google are getting more savvy, regularly publishing compelling content that truly reflects your brand and your message is more important than ever.
So does your content truly show your brand’s personality? Is it communicating your message and promotions clearly? Is it relatable and easy to understand? Does it work in harmony on all your channels? Does it include all types of content, especially multi-media?
Here are just a few articles (of the many) to help you create your best year ever in content:
With more and more users accessing the internet on their smartphones and tablets, it has become increasingly important to create websites that work across a variety of devices. Because of its flexible and adaptive qualities, responsive design has quickly become the industry standard for website development.
Responsive design is not only a tool for device adaptability though; there are significant SEO benefits that result from a switch to responsive design. Here are three of the big ones:
Google likes responsive sites Google typically favors mobile-optimized sites, especially when those mobile users are searching for local goods and services. Because Google is the world’s largest search engine, and other search engines typically follow Google’s lead, it is a good idea to pay attention to what Google likes.
One website with one URL From an SEO perspective, responsive sites consistently outperform separate desktop and mobile sites. With a single URL, responsive sites help reduce content duplication issues and improve SEO performance.
Reduces bounce rates A mobile website can suffer from high bounce rates if users are unable to easily read and interact with the content. Users often get frustrated when sites are not mobile-optimized, so they leave. Responsive designs allow users to enjoy their online experience on any device, which helps reduce bounce rates.
If you would like more information about responsive design, contact the development experts at TKG . And make sure you sign up for our Breakfast Bootcamp on Oct. 16, where we’ll discuss even more SEO benefits of responsive design.
Every responsive site is a fluid and dynamic creation, so it can be difficult to get a handle on even the basics of responsive design. Luckily, there are a few general tips and techniques that serve as the foundation for nearly every responsive project.
Follow these important responsive design tips and you will be on your way to developing mobile and tablet-friendly websites:
Mobile First A mobile-first approach to responsive design allows you to prioritize content for mobile devices and work your way up to larger desktop displays. This mobile-first approach ensures that your audience sees the most important content first, no matter what device they’re using.
Content Strategy The goal of responsive design is to offer the best user experience possible, on all devices. A website redesign is the perfect time to rework your content and make it more readable, valuable and accessible. This emphasis on content strategy shifts the focus of your website development back to the needs of the user and their unique online behaviors.
Initial Design Once you have a content strategy in place, begin crafting a rough website design on a responsive sketch sheet. The various screen sizes, resolutions and device capabilities available today mean more layouts to plan for. By using a tool designed specifically for responsive design, you can refine your ideas and lay your site’s framework before you begin the actual site development.
Framework While choosing a CSS framework is mainly a matter of individual preference, incorporating one into your responsive design process offers a number of benefits. A framework can help speed up the development process, reduce browser compatibility issues and streamline your responsive design.
Breakpoints Once you’ve selected a framework for your site, you must set breakpoints to signal the transition between devices. Some developers set breakpoints based on common screen sizes, but that practice does not totally embrace the flexible and adaptable potential of responsive design. Explore your design to find natural breaks in your content. That’s where you should set your website’s breakpoints.
Scalable images Images present serious challenges for responsive designs because they need to be fluid enough to adapt to a website’s viewports and text sizes. Resources like adaptive images, CSS sprites and jQuery plugins are available to scale images and interactive media, so you don’t have to worry about warped or disproportionate assets.
If you would like more information about responsive design strategies, contact the development experts at TKG. And don’t miss out on our Breakfast Bootcamp on Oct. 16, where we’ll discuss even more tips and techniques for responsive design.
In online marketing, there has been a serious behavior shift toward mobile and tablet browsing. With readers increasingly accessing websites on their smartphones, tablets and computers, responsive design has become an important part of the online user’s digital experience.
Check out our list of the 5 major business advantages you can achieve by switching to a responsive website design:
Builds tablet and mobile audiences
Traditionally, when mobile audiences would access a website, they would be re-directed to a device-specific site. But with responsive design, one site can be developed and implemented across all devices. As tablet and mobile sales continue to grow, responsive design will become increasingly important for reaching these growing audiences.
Enhances user experiences
Responsive design allows site owners to deliver quality content to audiences across multiple devices. On responsive sites, pictures are proportional, text is readable and buttons are large enough to click – no matter what device your visitor is using.
When you switch to a responsive site, all of your efforts can be focused on a single set of hypertext links and a single SEO strategy. Consolidating your efforts will save you time, money and make your site more popular among major search engines.
Increases sales and conversion rates
As your audience becomes familiar with your site’s navigation, the improved user experience could positively impact your conversion rates. Responsive design removes some of the functionality and performance issues that multiple sites can create, so users are more likely to see their conversions all the way through.
Streamlines development and site management
Developing a single responsive site takes a lot less time and effort than creating a traditional site and a standalone mobile site. But responsive design is not only a time saver in the development phase; it also makes sites easier and more cost effective for clients to manage on the back-end.
Interested in responsive design, but don’t have the tools to develop a responsive site yourself? Don’t worry. Contact the development experts at TKG, and see how we can help you achieve your business goals.
By now, you have likely heard about responsive design.
Responsive design allows users on any device – desktop, smartphone or tablet – to have a good online experience regardless of screen size.
So, the question is, how does responsive design impact online marketing efforts? As marketers, we sometimes focus only on specific tasks, such as creating content, developing email campaigns and updating social media networks. The fact is that if you do not have responsive design in place, all of the online marketing strategies you want to implement will not garner your full potential results.
How much impact does mobile play into content, email, search and social media marketing today? The answer in short – a lot! Here are just a few examples:
51% of emails are now opened on mobile devices
60% of internet access is made on a mobile device
70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour
60% of social media time is spent on mobile platforms as opposed to desktop browsers
These results mean that mobile has a growing impact on online marketing efforts. People are reading content, opening emails, performing searches and engaging with brands on social media – all from their mobile devices.
Responsive design greatly affects the user experience, ultimately meaning it will support your online marketing efforts in the following ways:
Email Marketing – As many users are reading your emails on a mobile device, naturally you want them to be able to follow the links in your email and have no issues browsing your site on that same device.
Content Marketing – users will be able to read the content from their mobile device, and also be able to use the social sharing buttons to easily share the content.
Social Media Marketing – when users click on a promoted offer on their mobile devices, they’ll be able to purchase the promoted item just as they would on a desktop browser.
Search Marketing – when a user clicks on a link to your website from search results, they will be able to get to your page and consume the information they need, just as they would on a desktop.
If it isn’t already a part of your online marketing strategy, a responsively designed website should be a significant consideration moving forward. Website visitors will be able to learn about your products and services, buy your products and consume your content on any device without issues.
So adding responsive design will not only make your website visitors happy, but it will help you get more results with your online marketing efforts. That’s a win-win in my book.
Do you have a responsive design success story? Share it in the comments!
After working with a different array of clients over the years, and especially after fielding inquiries from business owners and company managers who are shopping web marketing/web development services, I have come to one important conclusion: not everyone who claims to offer web development or web marketing services has the customer’s best interest in mind. I mean, in the world of “website creating and promoting,” I’m not sure if very many companies are speaking the same language at all. And the result of this discombobulation has created confusion among businesses who truly need the services we provide.
So, let’s clear the air and set a path for those who are looking for answers to how they should use the web to promote their business – just some basics to get you on solid footing…
My Website Sucks
OK – you’ve established that your site is not working for your business. It’s old. It’s not catering to the growing web audience who are looking for goods and services on their mobile phones. What should you do? First off, you need a website that will work very well no matter what device accesses it, be it a phone, a tablet, a desktop or laptop. You need what’s known as “responsive design.” A site built with the ability to become 3 websites in one, essentially, will put your company on the path to be able to reach all potential customers with a website that functions well. You get what you pay for, and the best websites cater to visitors with optimum user experience. If you are shopping website quotes by sending out a development RFP, and if it is not including responsive design, your new website will be outdated before it ever goes live.
But, that’s not all – there’s more…
Just because you spent some hard-earned cash to create an awesome, well-designed website does not mean customers are going to flock to it or that your company is going to do more business online. You need web marketing expertise. Listen to me – you need to hear this. There are many web marketers out there who offer flim-flam pricing, but their methods, I am finding, do not work. There’s no plan. They typically seem to offer a “one shoe fits all” approach. Ugh.
What to look for? You’ll want a web marketing company that will listen to your company’s goals, first; then, establish a strategy to grow your business. Some things you should think about when considering web marketing agencies are questions like what I have noted, below. If a list like this is foreign to them – run. Do not look back.
Who is my potential customer and how can I reach them?
Are my potential customers local or national?
What is the primary (and maybe the secondary) demographic of my potential customers (e.g. male, female, age, etc.)?
Who do I want to sell my products are services to?
What is most important to my company?
Are my potential customers using social media?
Are my potential customers using print or e-mail?
What percentage of my potential customers are using smartphones?
What are my potential customers actually searching for when they access the web?
How do I convert potential customers to leads, sales, once they come to my website?
SEO: The Dirty Buzz Word
The acronym SEO (search engine optimization) has become filthy in its use. Yes, SEO is important (and something we do well), but it has come to mean so many different things due to the false promises and claims heralded from fly-by-night companies who do not know true web marketing. Many have spent quick money on SEO for results that never came in. SEO should be but a part of an ongoing, much broader web marketing strategy. It is a component of several approaches – never an end all.
And last, but not least – this is very important:
Our philosophy is that we live and die by ROI at The Karcher Group. We believe we cannot be successful unless we grow our clients’ businesses – we are committed to accomplishing this and will do whatever is industry best practice, honest and necessary to ensure success. So, to us, ROI and relationship is everything.
When shopping for marketing services, you should consider if the web company candidates are going to provide provable results, a measuring stick to ensure your company is getting ROI (return on investment). If there is not a plan in place for your web marketer to provide regular reporting to your company on the progress and growth that has been made through their efforts, then your business is most likely not going to benefit. If they are the real deal, they should be able to provide you with case studies and testimonies from clients whom they have helped.
May web marketing strategy and ROI be your guide – your company’s keys to online success.