Responsive Website vs. Native App – How Far Do You Need to Go Mobile?

With the coming of the mobile revolution being heralded for years, it seems we’re finally here (even though it came in with a whimper, more than a bang). With that said, it’s now critical that every marketer that wants to stay competitive be not only findable, but viewable on mobile devices. Mobile devices make up a greater portion of all searches each and every year, and we’re finally starting to see some viable means in terms of mobile purchasing to warrant the push to either responsive websites, native apps or both.

But what’s the difference?

What is a Responsive Website?

A responsive website (or more accurately, responsive web design) simply means that the site is coded and designed in such a way that the content will adjust to fit on whatever size screen it is being viewed on. So if you’re looking at a site on your 27-inch desktop monitor, it will look great, but if you visit the site on your 3-inch mobile device, it will also display correctly.

Responsive websites eliminate the need to have a dedicated site built for mobile (in addition to your standard website). The coding in the site responds to the device it is being viewed from and tells the browser exactly how the content should be displayed so there are no errors and functionality is preserved. If your audience connects to your site via a number of devices (e.g. computer desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, mobile phone, etc.), a responsive website is a critical investment.

Benefits of responsive web design include:

– Your site is indexed as mobile-friendly by search engines, while still maintaining all of its normal indexing

– All of your updates to your website can be done in one place and show up on any viewing device

– Your site becomes flexible, able to reach all viewers no matter the device they are using

– All of your updates are seen by anyone who views the page and are not limited or restricted by device

What is a Mobile App – or Native Mobile App?

Mobile app and native mobile app are two terms used interchangeably for the same thing. A mobile app is an application designed specifically for use on mobile devices. It is an entirely separate program from your website and instead of being stored on servers, it is downloaded by the user and stored on their smartphone.

What this does is it allows users to connect even when they don’t have internet access. This is due to the fact that the app is stored locally (though some mobile apps will require internet). That means native mobile apps grant faster access for users than mobile (or responsive) websites do.

In addition, mobile apps have permissions that can help your sales such as access to the phone’s camera or speaker. This makes it easier for customers to interact with you. The downside here is that native mobile apps require different operating systems for Android and iOS phones, so it does cost some money to develop them…twice.

There are also a few more downsides and upsides to mobile apps:

– While faster than websites on mobile devices, mobile apps have fixed layouts meaning you must design one for each operating system

– Your audience for mobile apps is limited to people who have smartphones

Search engines don’t index mobile apps because they aren’t stored on the internet, but rather on the user’s phone

– Updates can be tricky because the user must download them for updates to appear. Not everyone does this, so your newer content might not gain as much traction

– It is both expensive and time-consuming to develop native mobile apps and then get them approved by the app stores (Google Play and the Apple App Store)

Ideally, you would have both, but for now, a responsive website seems like the safer plan for internet marketers until your business demands a mobile app.

The Two Bare Essentials for Successful Landing Pages

Someone recently asked me what a great landing page consisted of. Before I began to rattle through my list of essential checkpoints, they modified the question and said, “Answer in two words.” I thought for a split second and then responded, “Content and Images.” Okay, that was three, sue me.

Still, my point remains. In order to have a really successful landing page, you really only need two things (aside from the obvious i.e. call to action, hosting site, URL, the ability to exist, etc.). When it really comes down to it, content is going to drive the traffic and then the sales and images are going to keep the viewer invested in the landing page. Done deal, right?

Doing Content Right on Landing Pages

Not so fast. It should be obvious by now that you can’t just slap up any old content up on a landing page and expect it to work. The content has to be done correctly. This means a few things:

Content Focus. For starters, the content has to be very specific. Landing pages aren’t the place to write novels or go off on tangents. Tell the viewer where they are, what they can do here and what you want them to do. Get them in, get them informed, get their order/email/etc.

Keywords. Of course you’re going to need keywords to rank on the SERPs, but don’t just keyword stuff. Use LSIs to trigger that oh-so important semantic search algorithm.

– Digestible Chunks. Don’t write huge paragraphs or walls of text. Keep it short and to the point, creating a lot of white space and nothing that will swallow your viewer whole.

– Pleasing Font. No comic sans, no 20 pt bold, no Times Roman—stick to Verdana if you want to be safe, but don’t be obnoxious or boring with your font choice, color or size as a general rule.

– Proper English (or whatever language you’re writing in). If there are spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, punctuation mistakes or anything of the sort, I’m leaving and I’m taking your viewers with me. These types of errors scream “amateur” and “scam artist” and will drive your leads to a better landing page (probably not owned by you!).

Don’t Forget to Optimize Images

And if content has to be done right, it follows that images can’t just be slapped up there either in order for landing pages to have the “bare essentials” for success. Here are some pointers to make sure your images are being all that they can be:

– Properly Sized. Images can’t be too big or too small. They should be scaled to fit on any device screen (responsive websites are the best way to do this).

– Alt Text. While not exactly essential, it is important to your keyword ranking and ultimate ability for your landing page to be found through a Google image search. Make your alt txt on images the keywords for your landing page.

Content Appropriate. Make sure the pictures not only match what you are talking about, but are also situated in the right area on the page. For example, don’t talk about blue elephants at the top of the page and then post a blue elephant picture at the bottom.

As you can see, it doesn’t take many elements to have a killer landingpage, but what it does take has to be done properly.

Is It 2011 All Over Again with Newest Google Update?

Many Internet marketers remember February 2011 very clearly. It was when Google rolled out its Panda update, which instantly changed the way websites were ranked by the Internet search engine giant’s algorithm.

Will Googles latest update – that rolled out starting on April 21 – cause the same amount of angst and teeth-gnashing? Possibly.

 

Mobile-Friendly Algorithm

Google is finally acknowledging that most people are accessing the web via their mobile devices – such as their phones, tablets and new iWatches – rather than on old-school laptops or (gasp!) PCs. It’s new algorithm, which doesn’t yet have a deceptively cute animal name the way Panda and Penguin did, is expected to radically change the way marketers search results by being more mobile-friendly.

A recent survey by the consulting group gShift found that a majority of marketers expect Google’s new algorithm to change their site’s page rankings. And about two-thirds of the online marketers polled said they already have taken steps to make their websites more mobile-friendly in anticipation of the update’s roll out.

 

The Rise of Mobile Web Access

It’s a testament to how quickly technologies can improve that the majority of web users now use mobile devices to access their favorite web pages and apps. Increased bandwidth, exponential expansion of memory and data processing, and near-universal WiFi has made mobile the way to go for most Internet users.

Only a few years ago – perhaps not coincidentally when Google was rolling out its Panda update – it was unthinkable for most people to stream their favorite TV shows or play multi-player games from their phones while on the go. But today, it’s as common as having a cup of coffee in the morning or chatting about “Game of Thrones” over the water cooler.

 

Who the Update Will Effect

About a third of website owners polled by gShift said they get between 11% and 50% of their traffic from mobile devices, and that’s probably on the low site. Another study conducted by the mobile commerce platform Branding Brand found that 43% of all traffic to major retailers comes from smart phones and tablets.

If you have taken steps to make your web page more mobile-friendly in recent months, you’re not alone. An estimated 68% of marketers surveyed by gShift said they have made the move to mobile-centric web pages.

And it makes perfect sense. Digital marketers understand how important it is to provide page visitors with websites that are optimized for the devices they are using to land on them. Having a well-defined mobile strategy today is as important as SEO and link-building were prior to Panda and Penguin: It was simply something that you had to do in order to be successful. Not doing it was unthinkable.

 

Please note that this update aims to show websites that are mobile friendly to people who are browsing on a mobile device – ie cellphone

So far we have been told that it does not effect standard computer browsing – just mobile devices
 
Although this is new factor – it is only one small factor out of hundreds that they take into consideration 
 
You can see more about this at:
 
 
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Top Secret Algorithm Update

While Google, as usual, is remaining tight-lipped about what its new algorithm will look like, there are some clues if you know where to look. For example, in March Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, hinted that the new update will have a more profound impact on search results than either of the previous “Big Two” updates did.

While Panda weeded out websites with poor quality content and Penguin, which came in 2012, penalized sites that used backlinks and other artificial means to boost rankings, the latest Google algorithm update is anticipated to value pages that are most optimized for mobile users.

So if you haven’t already converted your web pages so that they are mobile-friendly, there isn’t much time left. You don’t want to wake up to discover that your top-ranking web pages are now nowhere to be found.

Going forward – it would be worth while looking at a more mobile site, if you think your customers will be searching for you on their mobile devices (ie cell phones)
 
We have a number of responsive templates that you may find suitable 
 
Get in touch with us to find out more

 

 

Reaching the 24-Hour Customer – Dealing with The Plugged-In Consumer

There used to be a set schedule for internet marketers that despite a few tweaks here and there, was pretty much universal. You knew that emails should go out with the proper timing so that come Monday morning, they were at the top of a person’s inbox as they slid into work. You knew that social media posts were best delivered at five minutes to or five minutes after the hour so that you could catch people just coming back from lunch or a meeting. You knew that the best time to launch products that had restrictive marketing timers was about 11pm for the 24-hour counters.

In short, there was a schedule for internet marketing and as long as you pretty much stuck to it for most of the time, you’d have some success.

The Consumer is Always On

But now, things are a lot different. The worker isn’t checking his emails at 9 am when he gets into the office, he’s checking them Sunday night, Monday morning, Tuesday midday and Saturday all day. Social media accounts are being checked at all times, with alerts ringing off even during meetings. The difference here? The wide array of devices that people use to connect to the internet.

You have your desktop for when you’re at home, your laptop for when you’re commuting, your tablet for when you’re commuting light and your smartphone for when you’re commuting between devices. On the toilet, in the bed, watching TV, at the movies, there is no place that the consumer isn’t plugged in anymore. The consumer is always on.

And that’s great for internet marketers, we have a direct line to our clients and leads 24/7, 365 days a year. They even sleep with their phones under their pillows! This ought to be like shooting monkeys in a barrel (which we’ll assume is easier than shooting fish), right? Well, sort of.

 

When to Contact the 24-Hour Customer

The problem that arises here is that if the customer is always on, when is the best time to contact them with your marketing campaigns? When is the best time to post on social media for maximum engagement and reach? When is the best time to send an email so it doesn’t get shifted to the bottom of Gmail’s “Promotions” compartment?

These are the questions and here are the answers: no one knows. Sure, there are some educated guesses, but overall, there are no more “rules” on the best times to send out your marketing campaigns to interact with and reach your audience… that is, no more “general rules.”

 

Metrics and Analytics – Do Your Homework

The fact that the consumer is always on should make our lives easier, but it doesn’t. Not if you want to take full advantage of the opportunity before you. Sure, you can keep on posting at your standard times and if they are working for you, great! (We know for a fact that most of them aren’t, especially Facebook which has drastically changed the way it deals with reach, now it makes more sense to post constantly, instead of just once or twice a day).

But if you really want to dig in and capture the market like a pro, you’re going to have to look at your metrics and analytics. Don’t just find out what time your viewers are on, they’re always on. Find out what times they are interacting and engaging with your posts. While this might not be the easiest task, there are some tools that can help you get started.