Feb 29th is the Extra Day of Marketing

Every four years we get an extra day, the leap day. Another 24 hours to make our marketing more effective, to improve our ROI, to drive more online traffic, to gather more leads.

Or Go Fishing!

I’m going fishing.  So while I’m sitting in my ice hut, wood fire burning, jigging a chunk of work on a hook up and down, and enjoying an icy beverage, you should get to work on getting caught up on your online marketing.  Or better yet, take the extra day to become smarter about digital marketing to mobile users.

Digital Marketing to Mobile

Step 1: Turn off your PC.  Practice learning by doing.  Spend your time on your phone, browsing your company website.  Do all the activities you hope your customers/leads are doing.  Read your content, read a few blog articles.  Download your white papers and info graphics.  Complete the contact form and see how long until someone gets in touch to answer your inquiry.

Step 2: Repeat all the above on your competitor websites.  Make a list, or a chart, of which of your competitors is better or worse than you on all the key things you want your website visitors to do.

Step 3: Figure why doing this on mobile is important.  Want a clue, because mobile web access is the fastest growing device / access method.  More and more of your market, your future customers, are carrying their internet in their pocket.  Better figure out what works on your mobile site and what doesn’t.

More Leads From Mobile

Getting more from mobile means you first have to think the way a mobile user thinks.  You have to put mobile first.  when you build your website, when you develop content, think mobile first.  Test everything mobile first, then adapt to larger views of tablet, laptop, desktop.  That means making it convenient and easy for mobile users to intact with you on your website, placing calls to action in easy to access places.

Best Places to Test Mobile

If you really want to act mobile, then get away from your desktop and spend your time viewing the online world the way so many view it, mobile.  so go fishing, play golf, sit at the beach, or on your backyard deck. If you get frustrated with using your site on your mobile phone, then fix it, in March, but first, I’ve got a bite.

Sport Trivia Challenge, a new Mobile Website

Sports Trivia has a new Mobile Website home, www.sporttriviachallenge.com.

We just launched this new mobile optimized game for all sports fans.  Test your skill in a game of Sports Trivia or take on your friends in a Challenge.

 

New Responsive Website – PRTox

See our Portfolio article for a new website project to deliver a fully responsive website design for PRTox Consulting.

Mobile First

In a recent meeting with a client, he was describing the several year process he had to go through to convince the rest of his executive that a shift from traditional advertising to digital advertising was essential for the growth of the company.  As we reviewed the website analytics of their sites, we identified a couple of significant trends.  The first, and most obvious, was that digital traffic is still in a growth phase.  Across the board, across 6 websites, traffic growth was up.  Increases in organic traffic, referral traffic, PPC traffic and social traffic.

Our analysis of their web traffic started at the desire to answer three questions.

  1. Where did they come from? (source)
  2. What are the doing on our site? (content)
  3. What are they on? (device)

Digging into the third question was the most insightful.  The stats related to the first two questions were mostly similar to previous.  But the device usage among their customers is showing very strong trends towards mobile usage increases, in fact, on several sites, mobile has become the device of choice.

Testing Mobile User Growth in the Real World

But one customer does not reflect a whole market, so we did a similar analysis on nearly all of our customer websites, looking to confirm the trend to mobile is reaching the tipping point of mobile being the dominant website access device.  We wanted to confirm this using actual users, a real-world set of data based on customers here.  Based on what we observed happening with our own customer base, we re-phrased the “Digital Shift” to the “Mobile Shift“.

Tablets are not Mobile

We do not believe in classifying Tablets such as iPads as mobile.  While many studies will include just about anything non-PC as mobile (that is, not a desktop or a laptop), we disagree.  We only count mobile phones as truly mobile devices as we believe the majority of tablets are used only in what we call “local mobile mode”, that is, moving around the house or office.  This differentiates Mobile as truly transportable and focuses the attention on mobile user stats where we believe they belong.

Mobile Shift Leads to Digital First Thinking

With mobile now, or nearly, the primary device used to access websites, this leads to a much different mindset from traditional website design and information architecture. While mobile bandwidth with nearly ubiquitous 4G / LTE cellular access now eliminates the mobile choke point, the primary consideration now shifts to display usability.  A laptop, desktop, or tablet has a comparatively large viewing surface.  As big as the new smartphones are, they still do not.  Which means to truly cater to the customer, on the device they are choosing to use, means viewing your website through a Mobile First approach.

Mobile First is not the Same as Responsive Design

Responsive design is the current design methodology used on most modern websites.  Build a website with upscale design, high impact graphics, amazing image / slider transitions, cool menu builds, and then let responsive design adapt it to mobile devices.  This is OK, really, it’s OK, but it’s backward.  It still results in a useful user experience, one which permits the user to navigate on their phone with relative ease, without constantly zooming and sideways scrolling to access navigation and key features or content.

It also helps you pass an increasingly important test, the Google Mobile Friendly test, which will help you maintain good positioning in mobile search results.

Mobile First is About the User Experience

So, now shift your design criteria, and your approach to information architecture to the user, the mobile user.  A mobile user sees less content in one screen and needs to scroll more to see some of the content a laptop/desktop user will see “above the fold”.  It is important that you do not make your mobile website visitors work harder than necessary to get the job done.  Make sure that your Call to Action buttons and links are all readily available.  One first consideration is to put your phone number, address and email (or at least an easy link to them) at the top of your page header, every page.  Consider the user driving down the road (let’s call them passengers), phone in hand, who needs to find your location or phone number.  Position this at the top of the page for easy access and you will notice an increase in phone inquiries.  Make sure your phone number is a tel: formatted link.

Continuing to think about making the life of a mobile user more convenient, put the other action buttons where they will be found at key times during the user experience.  Put your Buy Now buttons, Contact buttons, Get Help buttons near the most important content on the screen, such as near product images or prices.  Think through the visitors sequence.  Locate the product wanted, select options, view the price, decide to buy, click the button.  If your user has to scroll their screen sideways/up/down, you will guarantee you lose sales.  Do not assume your visitors know which way to look, based on where on the desktop display the action buttons can be found.

Measuring Mobile First Success

Mobile first is about getting the user to their desired place on your website, efficiently and easily.  Most user engagement reviews will suggest that measurements such as time on site and page views are important in measuring engagement success.  However, think differently about how you approach mobile user success.  Consider the objective is to get the user the page (content, function, etc.) they want, and allowing them to perform the action desired with the appropriate effort.  Shift your success criteria not to quantity but quality.  How often do mobile users access your high value pages?  If you have a product oriented website, how often do your deepest pages get viewed?  If you have an e-commerce site, are your customers making purchases from mobile?  A customer who visits your site on a mobile device, drills down to a product page, and makes a purchase, is a more valuable visitor than one who views 10 pages and spends 7 minutes on your site.

Viewing and Reviewing Mobile First Design

Until Mobile First is ingrained as your approach, force yourself to toss aside the mindset of the desktop view.  When designing, avoid using a full screen desktop display to confirm your design changes have taken effect.  Instead, shrink your browser width to 320 pixels wide, or 480 pixels for landscape view.  I like to have two browser windows open, one at the portrait width and one at the landscape width, and refresh each with every change to cover both mobile views as I go.  At the same time, have your smart phone handy and frequently refresh your view.

Responsive Website for txdeerhunt.net

An existing customer called us up and wanted to be more aggressive marketing their Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting.

The project included developing a Google AdWords campaign and a fully responsive website based on our “Mobile First” approach.  The site design, content strategy, layouts, and image galleries were all optimized for mobile.

See more in our Portfolio.

What is a Mobile Viewport?

I have had a few inquiries from other web developers ask me what is a mobile viewport and what does it do?

Most important of all, this is a meta tag that Google looks for and uses when determining if your site is Mobile Friendly.  If Google does not find this meta tag, then you will not pass the Google Mobile Friendly test which can negatively impact your positioning in mobile search results.

What the Mobile Viewport Does

From a functional stand point, the mobile viewport sets the initial zoom level of a webpage, when viewed with a mobile device.  Without a viewport, mobile devices will render the page at a typical desktop screen width, scaled to fit the screen.  That means your website, when viewed on a mobile phone, will simply be a tiny, illegible version of your website layout.  The mobile viewport should be on each page of your website in the head section.

One key aspect to understand is that the mobile viewport meta tag is ignored by desktop browsers.  Including this meta tag will not alter the desktop view of your site.

The Mobile Viewport is most useful when used within a responsive website design scheme.

Mobile Viewport Code

The basic or standard use code for a mobile viewport meta tag is as follows:

<meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>

The setting content=”width=device-width” instructs the page to match the screen’s width in device independent pixels. As mentioned before, this is most useful in responsive designs as this allows the page to reflow content to match different screen sizes, and adjust to the orientation of a phone, landscape or portrait.

The setting “initial-scale=1” tells the browser to use an initial zoom scale of 1:1 between the device independent pixels and the css pixel settings.  This also allows the user to control the zoom level after initial page load.

Advanced Settings – Max Zoom

It is possible to set the minimum and maximum zoom level of a web page as well as completely eliminating the users ability to zoom a page.  These may be useful features in some case where you need to control the display size, but are not typically used and not normally recommended.  It is also possible to set the viewport to a fixed width, which could be useful if a web app is built for a specific device such as in a commercial setting.  Another instance may be when a website is not built with a responsive design, but instead has a separate mobile only set of pages.

 

Responsive Website – Classic Ball Fields

A quick announcement, we have just launched a new website on a classic subject, using the most current responsive website programming.  ClassicBallFields.com is all about the love of the game of baseball, and the baseball fields the games are played in.

You can read more detail in the Portfolio, or go visit ClassicBallFields.com

The website is fully mobile responsive, which is even more important now that Google is using mobile friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile search.

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Google Wants to Reward Your Mobile Friendly Site

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

If it is, then Google is preparing to reward you with more mobile traffic by giving it better ranking on mobile search results.

Does Mobile Friendly Matter for My Business?

Usually the answer is yes.  If your business relies on customers to drive revenue, then absolutely.  Some examples of businesses where mobile friendly should be considered essential include:

  • restaurants
  • retail stores
  • personal services
  • bodyshop
  • mechanic
  • eye care
  • dentist
  • home services

Of course the list can be as long as we have time to sit and think of business categories.  Simply put, if you have customers and competition, your website should be mobile friendly.

Mobile Search is the fastest growing segment of the search market.  Depending on which study you refer to, mobile users take action on their search results, within the hour, 55% to 70% of the time.  Mobile users that find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop.   Why? Mobile users are on the go. When you’re browsing, you grab the laptop and start researching or just satisfying curiosity for products or services. When you grab your smartphone to search, you have a specific intent in mind, whether it be food, clothing or an oil change for your car. Mobile searchers are buyers, assuming you can meet their needs.

How Can I Test my Website:

Google has provided a tool to test webpages at google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

Here is what it will look like if you pass the test:

mobile-friendly-screenshot

April 21, 2015 Deadline for Google Mobile Friendly

Google will roll out an update to it’s ranking algorithm on April 21st that is said to have “significant implications” on mobile site rankings.  If your site is able to pass the test for what Google considers to be Mobile Friendly, then expect more traffic coming your way.

What does Google Mobile Friendly Mean?

There are 3 tests that Google performs on a website to determine if it is Mobile Friendly.  These are:

  • Is the text large enough to read on a phone?
  • Is the mobile viewport set?
  • Are the links far enough apart?

One of the great things about the test, is that if you don’t pass the test, it will tell which of the three reasons your site failed.

What Do I Do If My Site Fails the Google Mobile TEst?

The first thing is too panic, and then panic some more.  It’s Mobilegeddon!  OK, done panicing?  Good!  Now lets get to work.  April 21st is just around the corner.   If you want to lead your business segment for mobile search traffic, then we can help you convert your site to a mobile friendly site.  Just use our Contact page or call us directly at 306-371-4595.

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WordPress Makes Mobile Easy

Everyone has a smart phone.

My mother in law has a smart phone, and mobile internet browsing is continuing to climb.  I have seen the mobile to desktop usage ratios on some of my clients sites at almost 1:1.  Having a website that displays properly on an iPhone, and Android phone, or a Windows phone is now an essential part of your digital marketing strategy.

Responsive Web Design is Hard

Writing the code, using cascading style sheets, to render a website properly on the device the user has at hand is hard.  The array of screen sizes keeps growing and screen resolutions are anything but standard.  Writing code for each screen size, once practical, is now impossible.

WordPress Makes Mobile Easy

Fortunately, WordPress developers and theme designers have made the life of a website developer much easier by building a number of responsive themes and writing standard code in the WordPress engine to aid in the presentation of websites, no matter the screen.

Netnotic Marketing is a huge fan of WordPress, and the many options to choose from, when delivering a responsive website to one of our clients, is one of the many reasons.

Why Love WordPress?

Why Love WordPress?

Because it works!  WordPress started as a purely blogging platform, then evolved so that additional “static pages” could be added, then custom home pages and menus, and …. the list went on.

Content Management Systems have become increasingly powerful over the past several years, and increasingly flexible.  With literally thousands of developers, and millions of website users, WordPress is definitely a tried and tested system.

Now websites built on the WordPress platform have a library of plug-ins to choose from to extend the functionality and thousands of themes to choose from.  With thousands of themes to choose from, you have options of starting with a free theme or, as we recommend, dishing out the $50 to $100 for a premium theme that will offer more features built in.

With a world-wide base of users, WordPress has been tested in every environment and each WordPress update (free) helps to improve the product.

WordPress Makes Mobile Easy

Many WordPress themes, both free and premium, are built on the principle of responsive design.  That is, as the device used to view the website changes, the website format and layout adjusts to the screen size.  This is built in, one of the many reasons why we love WordPress.

How Hard is WordPress?

That’s definitely a future topic for this blog.  For now, it’s fair to say that you want to have your WordPress site set up by someone who has done it before, but then most of the day to day management can be handed off to a non-technical person.  Sure, a little bit of html and css knowledge would be handy, but 90% of content management can be handled without any technical or programming knowledge.