May 28, 2015

Is Your Mobile Website Ready?

by Erik Haskell

Are you planning to set up a web presence for your business? It’s essential these days. But while creating the website, if you are planning to design it only for the desktop version, think again! An only-desktop website holds no value these days.

And there’s enough reason for that.

Google’s Mobilegeddon has been out. And it is a clear wakeup call for all website owners. They need to be present in such a state that they can be viewed from the mobile devices without much of a problem. And if the website is designed in such a way that it helps viewing from the mobile devices and smartphones, then Google is going to assist it rank higher on the SERPs.

That’s because, Google had earlier announced, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

The objective was to make the websites more mobile-friendly.

But why is that needed?

Here are the reasons.

Almost 2/3rd of all Americans own a smartphone.
19% Americans depend on mobile devices to surf the internet.
So, if you own a business and want to establish an online presence with a website, it is essential that you make it mobile friendly. In fact, most of the websites these days are responsive. But if yours is not so yet, then it’s time you should immediately give it a responsive turn.

But what are the ways of creating a mobile-friendly website?

Here are a few tips that might come in handy for you.

Going Responsive is Imperative

This is the very first thing that you need to follow. There should not be any special website for mobile devices. You just need to make it responsive. It should be planned in such a way that the site is visible in the best possible manner on all kinds of devices.

Even a few months back, going responsive used to be an option. But no more. It’s imperative now.

If you want to survive in this competitive online world, it is essential for your business website to be responsive, so that your target audience can view it perfectly across all devices. It’s better not to design only for the mobile devices. Going responsive is a much prudent option.

Simple is the Keyword

Are you designing your website for a desktop computer? Even then, it needs to be simple. And more so for mobile devices. Remember, the space that a mobile internet user gets is minimal. And he needs to scroll or click through the website within that space.

In fact, clicking should not be considered to be an option while creating a mobile website, as it will make things worse. Instead, the website should be designed for scrolling. And it needs to be simple, so that the user can view the elements clearly even in the small screen of the mobile device.

Think Thumb! Think Index!

Well, these are the fingers that you should think of when designing for the mobile website. That’s because the site is going to be navigated with the help of these fingers. So, the hyperlinks should not be placed too close to each other, so that the user does not overlap their use. Moreover, you should also ensure that there is no pop-up for the mobile version of the website.

Content Needs to be Short

When you are using a mobile to surf through the internet, do you prefer long pages or short one? Do you love to drag the pages down for a long time?

Of course not. Neither does your target audience.

So, you should focus on keeping the content short. You might feel that you should provide the readers with more stuff to let them know better through your website. But for that, you should only break up a single web page into different sections. It will come in handy for the users, as they will seamlessly move through the website and read the content with ease.

 Icons and Images Rule

A picture speaks a thousand words. So, using it on the mobile website is extremely prudent.

But what about the icons?

Well, they also convey much more than what a simple chunk of text does. The icons are attractive and they have the ability to convey a message within a moment. So, it is important to use these icons. In fact, if a user comes across your website on the desktop and finds that it has a few mobile icons, he will immediately understand that the site is mobile friendly. And once he is aware of that, he will also visit your site more often from the internet-friendly mobile devices.

Serve Images Optimized for Mobile

Your website must be having lots of images? Have you optimized them for the mobile?

If you haven’t then the site is sure to take a lot more time to load. Hence, the visitors are not going to wait for them to appear clearly. Instead, they will leave your website soon, thus increasing the bounce rate.

So, it is important to optimize the images perfectly, so that they appear in the web in the right way. And yet, they should not slow down the process of loading for the website.

Include Videos Prudently

Use the videos prudently. You can always add videos to your website. In many cases, they add immense value to the website.

But what if the users are not able to view it properly?

When the user is viewing the website from a mobile, he is not able to watch videos that are too long. These videos also slow down the page load time. Hence, if you are planning to use videos for the mobile version of the website too, make sure that they are small in size and perfectly optimized for mobile viewing.

After the designing is complete, you need to test the website for a number of times before launching it. But remember, designing the website of your business isn’t enough these days. You need to ensure that all the users, irrespective of whether they are using the mobile or the desktop versions, are having an amazing surfing experience. Only then you can expect your website to be successful and fetch you more business than ever.

Google shaking up search recommendations on smartphones

Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones in a shift that’s expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as “mobile-friendly.” Websites that don’t fit the description will be demoted in Google’s search results on smartphones, while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Easily accessible

Although Google’s new formula won’t affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That’s why Google’s new rating system is being billed by some search experts as “Mobile-geddon.”

“Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices,” said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.

It’s probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

Here are a few things to know about what’s happening and why Google is doing it:

To stay in Google’s good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices.

Content must also be easily accessible by scrolling up and down — without having to also swipe to the left or right. It also helps if all buttons for making purchases or taking other actions on the website can be easily seen and touched on smaller screens.

If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on smartphones and the columns of text don’t all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.

Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.

Digital rubbish

The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated. Google processes the bulk of searches — two-thirds in the U.S. and even more in many other countries.

To minimize complaints, the company disclosed its plans almost two months ago. It also created a step-by-step guide and a tool to test compliance with the new standards.

Google has faced uproar over past changes to its search formula. Two of the bigger revisions, done in 2011 and 2012, focused on an attempt to weed out misleading websites and other digital rubbish.

Although that goal sounds reasonable, many websites still complained that Google’s changes unfairly demoted them in the rankings, making their content more difficult to find.

While most major merchants and big companies already have websites that will probably meet Google’s mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven’t had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.

“A lot of small sites haven’t really had a reason to be mobile friendly until now, and it’s not going to be easy for them to make the changes,” McGee said.

Ranking results

Google’s search formula weighs a variety of factors to determine the rankings of its results. One of the most important considerations has always been whether a site contains the most pertinent information sought by a search request.

But new pecking order in Google’s mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.

That will be an unfortunate consequence, but also justifiable because a person might not even bother to look at sites that take a long time to open or difficult to read on mobile devices, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews said.

“Availability is part of relevancy,” Andrews said. “A lot of people aren’t going to think something is relevant if they can’t get it to appear on their iPhone.”

What is responsive design? Watch the video and if you need someone to build it for you give us a call at (800) 796-3683 or use our contact form.

How To Avoid 2015 Google Penalty with a Responsive Website Design

In Google’s recent announcement on mobile search, a new algorithm update will begin this April 21st and affect more website rankings than ever before. Even Google’s initial quake of Panda in 2012 affected only 12% of website queries. But the new update will admittedly affect over 40% of mobile queries.

It is unclear at this stage to what degree each site will be affected but it is known that it will hang in balance between websites being mobile optimized and not being mobile optimized. It is also unclear as to if the new algorithm will affect only mobile search queries or all of search queries.

Below, we’ll show you how to navigate the decision making process when going mobile-friendly. There are a few ways to go and each has its pros and cons which is laid out for you. Much of your direction in going website “responsive” will be dictated on how easy or fast it can be to work with and change your existing website setup.

Google initially announced it’s commitment to improving mobile search in late January and since Google is warning the public ahead of time, it is a wise decision to use this time to prepare. So if you haven’t started, waste no more time and get going!

Here is how to get compliant with Google’s requirement for mobile responsive website design.

“What do I care if my site isn’t ready for mobile?”

Unfortunately, many website owners are still in the thinking that mobile is irrelevant to their business. This is typical of companies who sell mostly or all B2B. They’ll say, “My customers only search via desktop in their office.” or “We are trying to target the purchasing manager in businesses. They don’t buy on their cell phones or tablets.”

Even though the bulk of the search IS still on desktop for those companies, there is still a fast growing necessity to be mobile responsive; mainly for 2 reasons:

  1. Google is about to drop the hammer on mobile search and that could affect desktop rankings as well.
  2. There’s an ongoing increase in assisted conversions. The growth in overall mobile search applies to business users as well as non-business use. The argument that most purchases take place on a desktop holds less water since more purchasing decisions begin on mobile devices and migrate to desktop for further research and the sale.

“Is my site mobile-friendly now?”

Yes- Great job! Carry on with your life!

Not sure? Here’s how to find out: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

We can assume the Google’s algorithm is going to be taking in more website data than the mobile-friendly tool analyzes but it is a good place to start. If you’re site has failed the test, hopefully you’re not surprised and are ready to take action.

Time to get responsive and be responsive. There is really 2 directions to go when becoming mobile-friendly.

  1. Redesign your entire website for mobile responsiveness.
  2. ONLY create a mobile-friendly version of your website and redirect mobile visits there.

What is responsive design? Watch the video and if you need someone to build it for you give us a call at (800) 796-3683 or use our contact form.

Website Developer Services

Website Developer ServicesI NEED A WEBSITE?

I NEED A NEW WEBSITE DESIGN?

I NEED SOMEONE TO MANAGE MY WEBSITE

I NEED A RESPONSIVE WEBSITE

These are some of the many phone calls website development companies get from businesses needing online presence. If you’re a business then you most likely know how very important having a website is. There are many companies that offer professional services to develop a website. A professional website designer and developer can help you build your business presence on the Internet. If you are in the market to have presence on the Internet developed for your business, corporation or a personal website, they can assist you in making the right decisions.

New Website

A team of professional designers, programmers and marketers can help you create a professional online presence and help you to get the maximum results out of your website. Website development companies can do more than just design attractive website’s, they can create custom solutions that help you achieve your specific goal. These companies can help you build a search engine friendly site, increase site traffic and increase customer conversions.

eCommerce Website

Have something to sell? Website developers can design and develop an on-line storefront that accepts credit card orders and display your products to customers worldwide. This will provide customers to buy 24-hours a day 7 days a week. Your customers expect it, and your competitors are doing it!

Website Redesign and Responsive Websites

Is your website just blah? Keep in mind that your current web site is your online brochure and it’s being visited by existing and prospective customers. Is your web site consistent with the image you want to portray? Is your website responsive? Considering that there is a large range of mobile devices and browsers surfing the Internet now is the time that you should really consider making your website mobile compatible. Statistics show that nearly 58% of those visiting a website are on a mobile device. If your website is not prepared then you’re missing a major audience. What is responsive design? Watch the responsive video.

Website Management & Administration

Professional website companies can manage your website’s written and graphical content for a fee based by the hour or with a monthly agreement. Adding and removing text content, editing new content to make it web-ready, and removing dated and unwanted material as well as make ongoing improvements to the look and feel of the site as the scope and direction of your website changes.

Owning and maintaining a website is not trivial and keeping it up to date requires someone with time and development skills. If like the majority of World businesses you are a small or medium sized company you cannot afford to hire a webmaster or to have an existing staff member spending hours maintaining your Internet website or Intranet. Many companies prefer to maintain everything on their own, while others prefer that a professional website company keep track of their website-related accounts, expiration and renewal dates, and other subscription information as well. Most offer comprehensive webmaster services and website administration, services will give your company the edge that it needs to stand out from the crowd and keep you on top of the heap.

Some of the many areas of website management would include all of the following services for you. Plus, you can have the added assurance of knowing the work was done with a professional eye for detail. Whether you use a monthly service plan or an hourly billing option the purpose here is to make sure your site is always up, ready, and fully able to speak for itself.

  • Dedicated Project Manager
  • Any and all changes to the website and its content
  • Content updates to make sure new products & company details are up to date.
  • Outdated content removal.
  • Server log checks.
  • Performance checks and recommendations.
  • Technical support – Outages and downtime.
  • Security checks and feedback.
  • Reports – Producing reports on the number of visitors to your website.
  • Development and Corrections.
  • Site improvements – Minor changes to improve over all look and operation
  • Search engine optimization
  • Setting up and maintaining email accounts
  • Ongoing management of email accounts
  • Creation of domains and sub-domains
  • Domain name search and registration
  • Professionals with expertise in accessibility
  • Professionals with experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Ongoing quality assurance
  • Optional real time site statistics and reporting

ABOUT

CP Communications is dedicated to creating functional, successful, and award-winning websites for their clients: websites that not only stir the imagination, but catapult profit margins. The company offers services central to the development and construction of a website for mobile optimization, as well as website administration and marketing covering email campaigns, social media, media placement and other online marketing strategies.

For a quote visit our website and portfolio or call one of our associates, toll-free at (800) 796-3683.

Why major retailers are not accepting Apple Pay

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — More major retailers have stopped accepting Apple’s mobile payment system, Apple Pay.

CVS and Rite Aid have stopped accepting Apple Pay, dragging customers into a confusing and annoying fight over payment politics.

The drug stores are part of a consortium of major retailers who oppose mobile payment technology like Apple Pay, mainly for two reasons.

One, they want to escape the 1.5% to 3% fees they pay every time you swipe your credit card. Two, they want to keep collecting data on shoppers.

To do this, the group started the Merchant Customer Exchange to develop their own payment network. The network is called CurrentC, and while it’s only a coupon-and-rewards smartphone app now, it’s designed to one day let you pay at the register without using your credit card.

Wal-Mart led the effort to develop this, and it’s been joined by Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dunkin Donuts, Gap, Publix, Sears, Shell, Wendy’s and many more. And — surprise — no member of this group accepts Apple Pay.

The result? There’s a quiet battle underway over back-end banking systems you largely don’t know or care about.

On one side, there’s MCX, which boasts an impressive army of shops. By its account, there are 110,000-plus locations that process more than $1 trillion in payments a year.

On the other side are Silicon Valley giants, major banks and a few dozen brands that are trying to popularize this wireless technology.

The new iPhone 6 includes a tap-to-pay feature that works at any cash register equipped with something called Near Field Communication technology. It works at McDonald’s, Starbucks and others.

But while CVS and Rite Aid have the radio wave sensors at registers, they recently turned it off. Customers using any NFC technology — Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Softcard among others — will now get rejected at the register and told to pay another way.

Rite Aid flipped the switch without warning Friday midday, and CVS followed suit late Friday night, according to a payment industry firm that was alerted at the time.

On Monday, both CVS and Rite Aid defended their decision to switch off NFC payments. Representatives at both companies said they are currently “evaluating mobile payment options.”

Meanwhile, MasterCard noted that customers are worse off as a result.

“We believe that people should be able to choose how they want to pay. We are disappointed that both Rite Aid and CVS have decided to block their customers from using the payment method of their choice,” the company said in a statement.

Those familiar with this ongoing behind-the-scenes battle say retailers taking an anti-NFC stance are being shortsighted.

“It’s very self-serving to the merchants. They’re looking at their profits, versus looking at what’s best for the consumer,” said Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of e-commerce payment software maker BlueSnap.

MCX did not return calls for comment. NFC expert Doug Yeager thinks tap-to-pay technology will win eventually anyway.

“Long term, most MCX merchants will cave in,” Yeager said. “At the end of the day, what’s more important? Selling items or trying to do it your way?”

But until then, expect a nonsense patchwork of payment options.