Categories
Digital Marketing Web Design

Has Your Business Embraced Mobile?

Most people in Ireland now own a smart phone, yet only 46% of Irish SME websites are mobile friendly. This means that when someone tries to view one of those non-mobile friendly websites on their mobile or tablet, they will likely have a negative experience.

Content will be hard to view and they will need to pinch and pull the screen, moving the content around as they try and read the tiny text and click the tiny links. If this wasn’t enough to damage your business, Google recently decided to hit a further blow by penalising non-mobile friendly websites and boosting visibility to those that are optimised for mobile browsing.

Google’s Mobile Update

Google wants to deliver the best experience to their users and mobile accessibility is now top of their list. As of 21st April 2015 Google changed their algorithms to reward websites optimised for mobile. This means that where you may have been appearing in the top 3 search results you may now be pushed onto the second page, never to be found.

Test Your Site

You can test your website here. If your site passes then you can relax; your search rankings won’t be negatively affected. If your site doesn’t pass then you should consider talking to a web designer.

With Mobile Comes New Browsing Habits

How people consume media and search for information on mobile is different to how they use would on desktop. Because people carry their mobile phones with them at all times, they tend to search for information the moment their queries arise. The information you display and how you display it is even more important today than it was before.

53% of mobile searches have local intent

More often than not, when people search your business on a mobile, they want to know where you are and how to get in contact with you. Understanding this need becomes valuable when planning a website that is optimised for mobile.

Things To Consider

Here are some elements you need to consider if you want to succeed in the mobile era.

Contact Info:

Your contact info should be front and centre. Your phone number and address should be on all pages and easy to find. Placing phone numbers in websites’ headers has become very popular lately and for good reason. When the first thing the users see is the phone number they are looking for then your website has just done it’s job.

Map:

Similar to contact info, you should make it easy for customers to find your place of business. Embed a Google map into your contact page and put a (view larger map) link above or below it that takes them to the Google Maps app. You could also consider adding a map to the footer of your site so it is visible on all pages.

Large Buttons:

Our fingers are bigger than computer cursors. With mobile screens squashing everything together it can be hard for site visitors to click on links in your site. Make sure all buttons are nice and big with enough white space around them. Hitting the wrong link and then having to click back is irritating to say the least.

Less Clutter:

Mobile devices have a limited amount of pixels, so choosing what is important and what isn’t is crucial to creating an effective website. During the planning stage you can focus on what is needed to convert visitor into customers and ignore elements that will prove distracting.

Responsive Design:

Responsive web design is where the content and overall layout responds to the devise it is being viewed on. Usually this means moving content that would be side-by-side on a desktop to lie one on top of the other so each section fills the full width of the phone. But it can include so much more: from changing text size for legibility, increasing button size for easy clicking, or most commonly to replace the navigation with one designed specifically for mobile devises to improve user-friendliness.

The benefits to Responsive design is that you only have one website. This significantly reduces both development and maintenance costs while allowing for a more consistent user experience. On top of that, Google has said that it prefers responsive design over separate mobile sites as content won’t be duplicated.

Overall Goals

Before you race off to find a web designer, you need to think about your overall marketing goals for your business and how your website can play an integral role in attracting new customers and nurturing your current ones.

If you’d like more information on the importance of mobile web design for your business, contact us today.

Categories
Web Design

Stop Using Image Carousels on Your Websites

One of the most common requests I get from clients is for image carousels.

You know them.

An image with text, slides out of the way to be replaced with a new image with more text, and so on.

They are very popular and make an appearance on a huge number of websites across the web.

Web stores use them to highlight their products, agencies use them to highlight their services and blogs use them to highlight featured content.

So what’s the problem?

Image Carousels Don’t work!

Despite their popularity any testing that has been published has shown that they are not an effective way of generating conversions.

According to a study on Notre Dame University’s website of 3.7million visits to their site only 1% of visitors ever clicked on a sliding feature, of which 89% were on the slide in position 1.

This makes a click through rate of 0.89% for the first position slide and a 0.03% CTR for each of the other slides.

These are your main products or services your are promoting.

Visitors are coming to your home page because they have an interest in what you do and for only 1% of those visitors to click through to your featured product/service is a wasted opportunity.

Why Do Clients Request Image Carousels?

Animation is cool

There is no denying that animated visuals make more of an impact than statics ones.

Creating moving banners should therefore engage visitors.

Equal Billing

If you sell multiple products or services then you naturally want them to have equal billing on your home page.

The logical assumption would be to use an image carousel to display each one.

Design by Committee

Get different department heads into a room and no one will admit that the next department is more important than theirs.

This encourages the above argument as no one gets to lose face.

The Competition Uses Them

The first place people look when planning their new website is to their competition.

The chances are at least one company in your field has a carousel on their website.

No business wants to be left behind and if your competitor is using carousels on their site then maybe it’s best you do too.

Every company wants their website to look modern, to promote all their products and to be inline or ahead of their competitors, but these are not good arguments for using carousels.

Why Don’t Image Carousels Work?

There are a few reasons why carousels fail to convert visitors.

To start they often resemble banner ads and people have learned to skim over banners without reading them.

They overload the visitor with choice and become a distraction.

Visitors don’t realise they are clickable.

They interfere with the goals of your website.

You would think that the animation would draw the users eye to the carousel but it usually just pulls them away from what they were looking at and before they have a chance to soak in the promotion, the carousel moves on to the next slide.

This means they miss the message you are trying to portray and fail to click on your call to action.

What’s The Alternative?

Think about your goals.

Is it to sell a product or service, or to grow your mailing list?

Place the most important promotion at the top of your home page, with no other distractions.

Secondary products/services can be placed in their own section further down the page.

Use hero images

Hero images are full width background images with minimal text and a call to action placed on top.

These prove to be just as striking, if not more, than carousels and can focus the visitor to a single, clear call to action.

Subtle Animations

Rather then have a whole background image move which will distract your visitors, use small animations to draw their eye to the call to action.

This could be as simple as a button changing colour shortly after the page loads, or having text move into location as the page loads.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing is that your website works as a lead generation tool and any fancy design gimmick that takes away from that should be removed.

Let your competitor keep their image carousel while you focus on converting your website visitors into paying customers.

Categories
Web Design

How Is Your Mobile Web Presence?

Both mobile technology and internet technology has advance greatly in the last 10 years and with it mobile browsing use has grown at an alarming rate. Mobile internet use surpasses that of desktops, meaning that more people either are or soon will be viewing your website on a mobile phone than they do on a desktop.

For this reason Google now penalises websites that are not mobile friendly. By mobile friendly I mean you can easily navigate and view the website’s content without the need to pinch and pull your screen.

How do small Irish businesses fair?

When you search for most small Irish businesses on your mobile phone, you are almost certain to have a less than smooth experience. They either have a website that isn’t mobile friendly or they don’t have a website at all. Leaving their customers with no way to find the information they want.

Facebook is not very helpful on this matter. Facebook Pages are great for sharing posts but they don’t offer a good solution for displaying your products or services.

Yes you can place them in your timeline but that is only a temporary solution and they will be pushed further down the page unless you add them again and in doing so you risk bombarding your Facebook fans with repeated messages.

So what if someone want’s to find out information about your business, or contact you? What option do they have?

They can search online directories.

This is assuming you have uploaded your info to such directories. Even if you are listed and yo appear in the search results. Are they going to find what they are looking for?

They can visit your social media pages.

Like I mentioned above, social media profiles are never designed with your best interests in mind or those of your customers. Social media is great for building brand awareness and can sometimes be good for strengthening relationships. Although with Facebook restricting the number of your fans that see any of your posts, it should make you reconsider where you focus all your resources.

They can go to your website.

Having a website and one that is mobile friendly is the only way to ensure that your products and services will be seen, that your customers will find the information they are looking for and that your business goals are first and foremost.

When was the last time you searched for your business on a mobile device?

Try searching for your business on both a desktop and mobile and see what you find.

  • Does your business appear in the first 3 search results?
  • How easy is it to find info about your business?
  • How easy is it to find your contact details?
  • How easy is it to find and your products or services?
  • How easy is it to find and directions to your business?

If you have no luck through Google then try Facebook.

Maybe you have your own website, but how does it look on that small screen. Can you read the text, easily click on links and is your number front and centre.

If you want to have an online presence in today’s times then you need focus on mobile.

Think Mobile First

If you put a focus on how your site will look on a mobile then it’s easier to make it work for desktop too. Approaching from the other direction proves a lot more complicated.

Speed Matters

You want a site that loads quickly and is easy to navigate no matter what the device. People don’t have patients to stare at a blank screen waiting for it to load.

No Gimmicks

Stay clear of animations and gimmicks. For years web designers would strive to find the latest flashy animation to make website’s look trendy. But those days are behind us and information is king. Make sure the focus is on your website’s content and not unnecessary distractions.

No Flash

Make sure your media can be played on mobile. And not just on your own site but media you share on Twitter and Facebook. This isn’t a problem if you use Youtube embeds, but if you are in doubt, try to view videos and other widgets on your site using an iPhone and if is works your OK.

Responsive Design

This is a type of web design that makes your website respond to the devise that it is being viewed on. It displays the same content, but the layout will change so it looks great on all devices.

Allow Fans To Interact

Use share buttons, so your content can easily be passed on to friends and enable commenting on your blog posts.

You don’t need an app

Don’t be talked into investing in a smartphone app. It will cost you money and nobody will use it. A mobile site is all you need. If you already have a website and need additional functionality that you believe requires an app then check out this site: App Vs Website

Display your contact details

Often the only reason people visit your site is to contact you and if you don’t make it easy for them to do so then you might end up missing out on an opportunity.

Remember

Mobile is about instant access & quick information. The big challenge of the future is how to deliver the right content that will keep your customers attention and have them coming back.