Tag: website design
Perhaps you heard about Google’s search algorithm update last week. Google, a company that has been hinting for some time now that marketers should take steps to make their websites mobile-friendly, finally gave their mobile-friendly advice some teeth. The reaction was not entirely unexpected:
Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!
Incidentally, Google refers to their algorithm change by the much happier and positive-sounding name, “Mobile Friendly Update.”
So why does Google care if your website is mobile-friendly or not? It’s simple. They want to continue to dominate in the search engine and, thus, the search advertising business. And to do that, they have to deliver the best web pages to their users for any given search. If you happen to be searching Google from a smart phone, you certainly don’t want them to send you to a website that loads slowly, has unreadable type and content that doesn’t display on your mobile device. From Google’s perspective, that’s more than just a hassle – it’s a failure that could lead their users to switch to another search engine.
Is it the end of the world for your website? Maybe not. But, if your website isn’t optimized for smart phones and tablets, there’s a good chance that you’ll start seeing significantly less traffic.
Our advice? First, don’t panic. Your website may be more mobile-friendly than you realize, and it’s super-easy to find out. All you have to do is go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page and plug in your website address. They’ll let you know if your website is affected by the new algorithm and even give you the reasons why.
Now if it turns out that your website is not mobile friendly, it would be a good idea to find someone to update your website using the latest responsive design techniques so that you can offer a great user experience to everyone, regardless of their device or screen width. Just so happens, we know a few people who are really good at doing exactly that.
So who ya gonna call?
Maris, West & Baker is hosting a brand new conference designed to help Mississippi companies learn new ways to market their companies using advanced website technologies, online advertising and popular social media platforms. DigMe, which gets its name from the conference’s focus on Digital Media, will be held October 25, 2012, starting at 8:30 a.m., at Table 100 Banquet & Event Center in Flowood, Mississippi.
According to MWB’s Tim Mask, “The Internet has revolutionized the way companies market themselves. It has really leveled the playing field for companies, but you have to know what to do and how to do it. We created DigMe as a way to help Mississippi businesses get up to speed with the most promising new technologies and tactics that are out there.”
Conference topics include topics including search engine optimization, website content optimization, online advertising, inbound marketing and social media marketing. Guest presenters will include Tucker Marks from ReachLocal and Jim Eustace the founder of Get Smart Content. Details are available on the DigMe Digital Media Conference website.
The Internet is now the main way people search for businesses. So if your website isn’t performing, you could be turning away customers.
Sure, your website may look attractive enough. And you don’t have any dead links or cheesy under-construction animations. But is your website really doing its job? Or is it hopelessly out of date? Here are six easy ways to tell if it’s time for a redo. Continue reading “Six Signs That It’s Time For A New Website” »
“We need a website.”
It seems like such a simple statement. But, in fact, the correct response to the situation depends on a wide range of variables.
Think about how you want your website to fit into your marketing program as a whole:
• Is the purpose of your website to provide basic information about your business to potential customers? In that case, you may just need a simple website with basic information and contact info.
• Are you trying to attract business leads? If so, you’ll need ample content – the more the better. You’ll want to keep the site updated frequently, as well.
• Do you want to make your site useful for visitors? In this case, you may want to consider interactive tools.
• Do you expect significant traffic from smart phones? Of course, having a mobile version of your site would be a necessity in this instance.
• Is social media an important part of your marketing program? Then you’ll likely want to integrate Facebook, Twitter and other social media features into your web design.
• Do you want to sell merchandise from your store? Then you’ll need a shopping cart application.
In most cases, what you get from your website is directly proportional to what you put into it. The time and resources devoted to designing, developing and maintaining an attractive, useful and frequently updated website do indeed pay-off.
Keep in mind, talent and experience count. After all, anybody who’s ever created a WordPress blog can call themselves a website developer. But it takes a lot of training to be able to handle features that go beyond the typical template approach to website building. And simple web development mistakes can easily undermine your web presence, especially when it comes to search engine optimization. (Don’t be too quick to dismiss the importance of good SEO for your website: When it comes to search engine traffic, 95% of non-branded website visits come from the first page of search results. If you’re not on page 1, you’re missing out on a whole lot of click-throughs.)
Our advice: If you’re looking for a company to build a website for you, do your due diligence. Check out several recent websites they’ve created. Ask for references from clients. Make sure you’ll have access to a content management system so that you can make basic updates to the website yourself. And be sure you’ll be getting access to analytics data, preferably Google Analytics reports. We’d recommend doing a few basic search engine tests to make sure their websites are showing up as they should, too.
And here’s an easy way to weed out the good web design firms from all the others: Look at their website. If their website looks dated and dull, what are the chances that the website the build for you will be any better? Slim to none.
Unless you’re a start-up, chances are you already have a website. But is your website really doing enough to market your company?
Here are some things to think about:
- Is your website current? Considering how fast Internet technology is advancing, five years is like an eternity. Are the pictures small and fuzzy? Are your product descriptions still accurate? Do you have pages missing? Do you have a “coming soon” notice that has been in place since your website launched? Or, worse yet, are there typos and inaccurate information?
- Can you update your website yourself? Several years ago, content management systems required a lot more technical expertise. So simple website updates were often left to the experts – at a fee of $100 or so a pop. Those days are over. Content management systems are now much easier to use, and simple updates can be made easily.
- Is your website mobile friendly? Having a mobile website is a good idea. But, at the very least, your website should use mobile friendly technology (i.e. not Flash).
- Can search engines find you? Sure, your company pops up on Google when you enter your company name (eg: Bob’s Diner). But does your name show up for non-branded searches (eg: Jackson, Mississippi restaurants)? Do your competitors show up higher on the search results page?
- Is your website easy to navigate? It may seem easy to you. But test your website on a few people who don’t know your business as well as you do. Can they find information easily? Or is it more of a chore?
- Do you have access to your website’s analytics? It’s your website. Shouldn’t you know how many people are visiting it? How about these questions: What search keywords brought them to your website? How many pages did they check out? Where in the world did your visitors come from? Here’s the answer: You can get very comprehensive reporting with a quick, free installation of Google Analytics. It’s a must have. After all, not have access to analytics is like not being able to tell how many people walked through the front door of your brick-and-mortar business.
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make updating your website a priority.
Lately, we’ve noticed a lot more interest in search engine optimization (SEO) from small business owners here in Mississippi. Rightly so. According to some very recent research, more than 95% of all non-branded search traffic from search engines comes from page-one results. In other words, if your website doesn’t come up on the first page, most people are simply not going to see you. Continue reading “Search Engine Optimization: Why it Matters for Small Businesses.” »