How to Make a Website Responsive: A Complete Guide

The reason why it’s critical to make your website responsive is due to the fact that 125 million U.S. consumers own smartphones. And 62 percent have used it to make an online purchase in 2017.

As the continued rise of mobile phones advances, Google is aiming to improve users mobile experience. Thus, Google will be changing its algorithm and search engine rankings this July.

Publishers should understand the importance of not only having a mobile-responsive site. They should also restructure their SEO tactics.

Here are three ways to make a responsive website for Google’s search algorithm changes:

Mobile-First Indexing

When you search for something on Google’s search engine, its “spiders’ crawl through both mobile and desktop indexes to find the most relevant, useful and trustworthy answers.

From that data, Google shows you a list of sites, ranking in order of popularity and authority.

Google’s algorithm is centered around its mobile index first. This means that if you only have a desktop version of your website, you could be missing out on valuable traffic.

If a site isn’t optimized for mobile, it might still be included in the index. But it could hinder its performance as mobile-friendly sites will rank above a desktop-only website.

Acknowledge Your Page Speed

Publishers can anticipate what they call, ‘The Speed Update. This means that Google plans to use page speed in mobile search ranking.

Thus, if a mobile website loads at a slow rate, it is unlikely that it will make an appearance on Google’s search engine.

However, Google says that if a page has very strong content but is still stow, it may still rank highly. To be safe, ensure that your mobile site loads quickly as to avoid losing valuable visitors.

Examine Your Content

In order for Google to rank your mobile-site, it needs to be able to read it clearly. Therefore, make sure that the content on your sites desktop version is just as valuable as the content on your mobile version.

Content should be easily digestible, relevant, and use clear fonts.
Create content with a responsive template to ensure that everything is crawlable and indexable.

All technical aspects should be performing efficiently on your mobile site.

This may include equivalent metadata descriptions, social tags, and verifying your mobile search console on Google.

Ensure Easy Navigation

Your mobile navigation consists of menus and internal links.
The way it is structured on your site is an important part of keeping viewers on your page.

If your site looks disorganized or confusing to navigate, your audience will likely leave. Google will be prompted to disregard your site in its search engine.

Search engines rank your site by analyzing the structure of it to determine its primary functions and the keyword-supporting content within your page.

That being said, design your mobile site’s main menu with the most important pages determined by your visitors’ behavior.

Make sure you’re also tracking which CTA’s are generating the most clicks and conversions to analyze what is or is not working well for your audience.

How to Make a Responsive Website

Your viewers likely don’t have a lot of time or patience.
Make sure to always include a ‘search box” that is easily accessible, ensure links are redirecting to the appropriate landing pages, and that the menu looks the same on each page.

Ultimately, with the limitless amount of websites in this mobilized era, your viewers aren’t going to stay on your site if your website isn’t optimized for mobile.

Your viewers aren’t going to become leads unless your page loads quickly, your content is valuable to them, and your website is easy to navigate.

To learn more about how to make a responsive website, please contact us.

5 Ways Custom Web Development Can Transform Your Site

With nearly 40% of small businesses building their websites with Do-It-Yourself software, many of these sites risk looking like carbon copies of their competitors. Paying for custom web development allows you to create something that stands out from your competitors while performing functions critical to your business.

While custom development can be more costly than using a simple DIY interface, it offers far more options. If your company has special needs when it comes to backend communication or subscription services, you might need more than DIY software can offer.

If you’re wondering how custom web development can benefit your company, check out these 5 ways it can help you end up with a beautiful and dynamic site.

1. Match Your Brand

Likely you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and hours in meetings to come up with the perfect logo and brand design. You’ve got unique services and products and something special to offer your clients. You should tell them with your website.

By creating a website that matches your brand’s offerings and style, you’ve carved out your place in the market. When visitors see your website, it can offer even the most common household or everyday items in a new way that engages them like never before.

Your brand will be able to remake the industry you’re in with a unique web presence.

2. Become Search Engine Optimized

As most new business comes from search engines, your site needs to load quickly, look good, and be well organized to meet the requirements of search engines.

With a custom design, you’ll be able to craft your message and your design perfectly to get high search rankings. DIY site building software will be, by its nature, a little out of date. You’ll be able to take advantage of the latest trends by building a custom site that can be updated as needed.

3. Catered to Customer Needs

User-friendly design is an absolute must. While there are internet design standards to aid accessibility and hardware needs, there are standards you’ll need to follow for your customers and your industry.

Cookie cutter tools will be missing some essential features that you need to meet the needs of your business. You might have to add a bunch of extensions and add-ons that could slow your site down or cause frequent bugs.

A custom design will allow you to have tools that you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll also be able to make tools that offer user experience how your customers expect it, not how some third-party developers think they should work.

4. Scale How You Need It

As a business owner, you should always be thinking about the future of your company. As you grow, you could need more server space or a more robust architecture to handle more users.

Only a custom design can help you easily scale as your business scales.

5. Custom Security Solutions

Sharing a server or design platform with a bunch of other sites allows you to be attacked however they get attacked. If a site that you share server space with is shut down or infected with a virus, Google might punish every site on that server until the problem is resolved.

Custom design can give you the custom security you need.

Custom Web Development is Purpose Built for You

Hiring a custom web developer can save you time and resources by offering all the tools you need at one time. Rather than buying 10 different licenses for all of the features your customers need, you can work with one company to give you everything.

If you’re ready to take your site to the next level, make sure your developer is on top of all of the trends that will dominate web design in the coming year.

5 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Optimized Website

Have a hard time driving traffic to your website? Looking for a convenient, easy way to increase its visibility online? Or perhaps you want more sales and leads?

In this case, make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. A responsive design can take your business to the next level.

Global mobile traffic increased by 63 percent in 2016, and over 18-fold over the past five years. About 60 percent of U.S. customers check out products and compares prices from their smartphones.

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing potential clients. Just take a look at popular brands and corporations. All of them have responsive websites that look great on any device, from computers to smartphones and tablets.

Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you need a mobile optimized website:

Reach More Customers

In today’s digital era, customers spend more time online on smartphones than PCs. About eight out of 10 people will leave a website that doesn’t display well on mobile devices.

Considering these facts, it makes sense to optimize your site for smartphones and tablets. This way, you’ll reach a wider audience and get more sales.

Increases Your Revenue

More sales equal higher revenue for your business. In 2017, 34.5% of U.S. retail eCommerce revenue came from mobile sales. This number is expected to reach 53.9 percent by 2021.

A mobile optimized website can skyrocket your conversion rates and total revenue. It’s a small step considering the benefits.

In fact, many successful retailers, such as Zappos and IKEA, are known for offering a mind-blowing mobile shopping experience. If you want to grow your business, you should do the same.

Get More Traffic

Mobile-friendly content performs better in search engines. Thus, it gets more traffic and backlinks.

Studies show that switching to a responsive design can increase traffic by over 30 percent.

The more people find your website online, the more likely they are to buy. High traffic can also increase brand awareness and give your business a competitive edge.

Boost Your Search Engine Rankings

The search engines tend to favor mobile-friendly websites. In 2016, Google has launched a new algorithm that gives a ranking boost for responsive sites in mobile search results.

Not sure how optimized your website is for mobile devices? Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out!

Depending on your technical skills, you can either hire a professional or optimize the site yourself. SEO experts know the ins and outs of mobile optimization, and can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Plus, mobile pages require different strategies compared to desktop landing pages. They need to load faster, have bold CTA buttons, and include shorter headlines. Not to mention the image size requirements and minimalist design.

Boost Your Social Media Presence

About 80 percent of social media time is spent on tablets and smartphones. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, customers will have a hard time sharing your content on social networks.

Since Google uses social media signals as a ranking factor, a poorly optimized website will rank lower in search results. It will get fewer shares and likes, less traffic, and less exposure.

Grow Your Business with a Mobile Optimized Website

As you see, a responsive website can boost your business on every level. You’ll not get higher traffic but also strengthen your brand and online presence.

On top of that, mobile optimization is convenient. A skilled SEO professional can optimize your site for mobile devices in no time. Think of it as an investment in your business.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to get started!

8 Ways a Mobile Friendly Website Can Get You More Business

Do you believe that first impressions matter? To this day, a mobile-friendly website is one of the most accessible ways to present your business to potential customers. The Internet is changing at an alarming rate. Users can now access the Internet in many ways that no one could have ever imagined a decade ago. Roughly 4 out of 5 people use either a smart phone, a PC, or a tablet to browse the web. What’s more, mobile usage is predicted to increase rapidly by 2019 with new types of devices, like smart watches, becoming available. This article will disclose to you eight ways a mobile-friendly website can get you more business.

1. Most People Prefer Using Mobile Devices

As we speak, about two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone. Approximately 87 percent of millennials have their smartphone close to them day and night. Many people have now been using tablets and smartphones for years. Still, young students and seniors are just beginning to learn how useful mobile devices can be. A mobile-friendly website will attract the increasing number of mobile gadget users who will be accessing your website via their tablets, smartphones, and laptops. As a result, it will increase business for services like transportation, shops, personal services, deliveries, and much more.

2. Increased Loading Speeds

Time is limited. A majority of mobile users are using their phones frequently but for brief intervals. Mobile-friendly websites load faster, allowing mobile users to accomplish their objectives within the limited time available to them. Studies have already revealed that a user will likely abandon a web page if he or she has to wait for more than 6 to 12 seconds before the page loads. Other research shows that approximately 40 percent of mobile users will leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Therefore, a mobile-friendly website will ensure that you do not lose any potential customers who visit your website.

3. Higher Google Ranking

To get more business, your website must be formatted according to popular search engine guidelines and regulations. On April 21 2015, Google announced a new algorithm that favors mobile-friendly websites. If your website is mobile friendly, it will undoubtedly rank well with Google.

4. Improved Backlinks

Apart from making your website rank better in search engines, a mobile-friendly website leads to a strong backlink setup. All of your backlinks will redirect a mobile user to your website instead of being split between a mobile and a desktop website. The end result is increased business leads.

5. Mobile Users Buy More

According to research, mobile users purchase more than primary desktop users. This is because mobile devices give users the power to become informed customers. Most people use their mobile devices to compare brands and read user reviews, eliminating second-hand guessing on every purchase. In addition, mobile users use their smartphones to find coupons, research sales, and look for clearance items. In fact, studies show that 93 percent of people who research a product using a mobile device will eventually buy. The more mobile friendly your website is, the more sales you are likely to make.

6. It Gives Your Business a Competitive Advantage

One out of every three businesses surveyed did not have a mobile website. Having a mobile-friendly website will definitely give your business a boost over its competitors. Start by visiting the websites of your competitors to get an idea of where your business falls and how you can improve in order to outperform them.

7. It Increases the Average Time Spent on Your Website

A mobile-friendly website grabs the attention of your online visitors from their first visit. If a visitor finds it effortless to navigate your website while on the go, you are more likely to convert that visitor into a customer. In fact, 74 percent of people confess that they are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly website in the future.

8. Increased Social Media Shares

One of the outstanding benefits of a mobile-friendly website is the ease to share interesting posts, pictures, and articles with friends. The more social media shares your website gets, the faster the growth of your business’s network and net worth.

A mobile-friendly website will make your business stand out from the crowd. Even though a mobile-friendly website might involve more upfront expenses, it has lower maintenance costs. Also, there is absolutely no need to duplicate and reformat content with a mobile-friendly website. Do you want to increase your sales and acquire more customers for your business? A mobile-friendly website is all you need.

What it Means to Have a Modern Website

Often times when working with clients I hear that they want a modern website. The term modern can be very subjective. So just like all things, with a website project it is good to know what you are asking for when requesting a modern design. It’s also great to be specific and not just use a single word catch phrase to describe what you want.

Currently when asking for a modern website some of the things you can look forward to based on current trends are:

  • Parallax: This is a really neat feature that makes your site appear 3D. Used appropriately and sparingly this feature can really make your site stand out above the crowd. Although there are several ways to implement parallax design, a simple implementation as found on this site: http://www.ecompliantsoftware.com/ is a great way to bring your site into the 21st century.
  • Flat Design: A flat design is a design that emphasizes usability. There aren’t any gradients, the colors are solid, crisp, and clean. The edges of buttons and icons     are clean and sharp. This design will allow the user to focus on you as a company and not get lost in too many “artsy” elements. A good example of a flat design elements is: http://www.smithfire.com
  • Lots of space: Having a nice amount of negative or white space will allow your users to view the site with ease and also allow the site to transition across all platforms. This site: http://www.weatherstonecm.com/ has a great amount of negative space without looking bland.
  • Responsive: The biggest thing is to build a site that is responsive. What this means is the site can be easily viewed across all devices, tablets, smart phones etc. This will allow you and your viewers to easily view your website with proper formatting no matter what device you use.

When looking for a “modern” website, it’s important to know what a modern site truly is and the current trends being used in modern website designing.

Ensure you communicate your goals with your design team and they will be able to work with you to find the right style of design to fit your needs.

Elements of a Website

Below are descriptions of what the different parts of a website page are and what they do.
It helps to know what these are properly called and how they can improve a page on your website. By knowing what each section and button does on your website, it helps that much more in getting a design and layout done fast.

The less back & forth we have to do when getting approval on a website design, the faster we can finish up a project and the faster you can have your website up for the world to see!

Testimonials – Evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something. A past clients written statement about their experience with your company.

Footer – The bottom section of a website is also known as a footer. This area typically contains the name of the company or organization that publishes the website along with relevant copyright information. Some websites may also include basic navigation links such as “About Us,” “Contact,” and “Help”. Corporate website footers often include additional links to “Terms of Use,” “Privacy Guidelines,” and “Advertising” pages as well.

Call to action – In marketing, a call to action (CTA) is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using verbs such as “call now”, “find out more” or “visit a store today”.

Body copy – Main text part of a website, or any printed matter

Header – The header of a web page typically includes the company or organization’s logo, as well as the main navigation bar. This section resides at the top of each web page.

Slider – An area to display photos, text, forms, videos or advertisements.

Text Header – The title, subtitle, or topic that stands at the top or beginning, as of a paragraph, letter, or chapter.

Navigation – Web site navigation is the science and skill which you apply to a website that helps visitors move from one page to another.

Rollover – an action found within a web page, used to provide interactivity between the user and the page itself. The effect that happens when you move your mouse over a particular object.

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How to Effectively Handle Your Website Project

I will be the first to admit that I have a problem with plans changing. As a project manager I have found that often times many of my clients have the same problems, which is understandable because building a custom website can seem scary. There are always good and bad ways to handle a change of plans. So, when working with your design team it is very important to know how to effectively handle changes to your web design. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Ask questions
Understanding
Keep Everyone Involved
Live Communication
Patience
When working with your design team it can be easy to get stressed about a project changing direction or having a lot of revisions. Remember we are here to make your vision come to life and if you follow the tips above the project will run smooth and in the end you will have an amazing website that will help your business grow.

Why Choose a Custom Website

Why should you choose a custom website versus a $60 or $80 template that you can set up yourself?

Like many things, the answer really depends on several factors.

Mostly it depends on where you are at in your company and what you are trying to accomplish from a marketing perspective.

If you don’t have any online presence at all, or very little or poor quality, you aren’t generating revenue yet and you don’t have a very large budget (think hundreds of dollars). Buying a template site for cheap is probably going to be your best option. There’s little to no cost to get it up and running and you can improve or create a website almost instantly.

If you are generating income, or need to invest more in your company in order to start generating income, you would be much better served going to a professional company and getting them to build you a site. It will cost more, but in the long run you will get a much better value.

When you contract a professional company to do your website, you should really think of it as hiring a marketing expert, not just a website builder. If they do their jobs correctly they will consult with you and find out what your company actually does. They will ask questions like “What is your target audience?” “What makes your company stand out?” “How do you plan to drive people to the site?” and many more.

They will get a good idea of who you are, who you are trying to reach with your website and what you want to tell those people. If they are a great company, they will also help you figure out ways to tie in any other marketing actions to your site so they all align and boost the effectiveness of it. They then walk you through the process of getting your site built and live.

Basically you are not just paying for a website, but a marketing consultation as well as help on designing and implementing a site to take your marketing to the next level.

If you were buying a used car and you only had $500 to spend, you are probably going to to be buying from a private seller (or the junkyard). You’ll get a car and it will be better than nothing, but you definitely get what you pay for. If you had any money to spend on the car and you needed the car to be reliable and hassle-free, you’re probably going to be going to a certified used or new car dealer. It just makes more sense based on your needs.

So, the moral of the story is, if you don’t have a budget at all, a $60 or $80 template may very well be your best option. For everyone else though, you should be contacting a professional company to get the most value for your marketing budget (and friendly service too!).

Architecture of Your Website

The overall architecture of your site affects your users’ ability to find the information they are looking for and engage with your business effectively.
How do you know if your site has information architecture problems?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • From the home page, can you tell within 5 seconds or less what your company does or what products you offer?
  • Is your main navigation easy to find?
  • Do your page names and navigation titles make sense to someone who isn’t an expert in your field?
  • Click through the links and navigation on your site – do they take you to the pages and information promised by the link/navigation title?
  • Can you tell from the home page how to contact your company or where on the site to get that information?

If you answered no to any of these questions, it is time for you to seriously evaluate the information architecture of your site. Without a clear layout of information, prospective clients will not be able to find what they are looking for and they will leave – taking their time and money to a business that can convey information in an easy to understand way.

Working With Your Design Team

So you’ve decided to create or redesign your website and have chosen a design company…what now? The first thing that you need to do is get in contact with your design team. There are a few things to keep in mind though when you are working with them.

The first thing is, get familiar with a few common design terms. You can read our blog about those here: http://www.studio98.com/useful-web-design-terms/. Being familiar with these design terms will make it easier to work with your design team. It will also allow you to feel more involved and knowledgeable about the project and process.

The second thing is to trust your team. You have chosen your design company for a reason and more than likely it is because you liked the work that they do. Allow your design team to be the experts and take care of the “heavy lifting”. Allow the designer to do what they do best, to create amazing designs! A good design team will always take your notes and ideas into consideration, but you will need to trust them to create something that is great for the overall design…after all, that is what you hired them for.

A third thing is to try and be specific when giving revisions and changes. One of the hardest things in design, especially custom web design, is creating a client’s vision based on what they say. Rather than telling your design team “I want it to look better than this”, be specific such as “I think that the call to action button doesn’t stand out enough”. Also don’t be surprised if you design team comes back and asks several specific questions to clarify your feedback even further. A good design team will ensure they really understand your feedback and what you trying to accomplish, not just correct any little point that gets brought up. This way they can make sure they are creating something you love.

Finally, when working and talking to your design team, make sure you actually have direct phone calls. Emails are a great way to communicate, however, there are things that can get lost in translation. Allow your design team to get on the phone with you. They should be willing to do screen shares and talk about specific details relating to your project. This will ensure all questions get answered and goes a long way towards keeping a project running smoothly.

When working with your design team, remember that they are there to create something fantastic for you, as well as showcasing your web presence. Allowing them to do what they do best is going to guarantee a wonderful project for you.