Are you mobile-friendly?

Are you mobile-friendly?

AMC Google testWe are mobile-friendly according to Google. yes, I know,  blatant self-promotion, sorry.

Google has a tool to rank the mobile-friendliness of any website. We mentioned this in a previous news item.

Here are some mobile-friendly sites, such as the Victorian government http://www.vic.gov.au/ and Australia car sales site http://www.carsales.com.au/. While others are not like a popular job hunting site in Australia http://www.seek.com.au/ and a large Melbourne hospital site I checked this morning.

So what? More people access the web from portable devices than desktops. This has created a sense of urgency in the web design world to build websites that are easy to read and browse from iPhones, Samsungs, and other smart phones.

This trend has major implications for all websites. Your all-important content (more information here) must be relevant to the reader more than your organisation. “Mobile-first” thinking puts the screen and power limitations of mobile phones front and centre when designing all company websites. You are then forced to make the most relevant user stuff the easiest to access - front screen display and obvious menu structures. Another important trend is to make websites adaptable to all devices without having separate mobile versions. These are the so-called responsive web  sites, like this one. Firefox users are able to test responsiveness easily with Ctrl+Shift+M (for Windows) to resize their web display. Chrome extensions can do a similar thing.

google failedIf your site isn’t mobile-friendly then Google provides specific advice on how to improve your mobile-friendliness. For me a give-away of a problem is a site that simply shrinks to fit a mobile phone. Users are then forced to zoom in to read your site. Very badfrown.

So you need a plan to improve your mobile-friendliness for your readers sake and for your own. Alex

 

 

 

Useful reference:

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/

 

Google to reward mobile-friendly sites

Google to reward mobile-friendly sites

web searchIt’s official from Google(posted February 26, 2015). Websites that are easy to read and browse from mobile phones and tablets as well as desktops will have a priority in Google searches. So the responsive sites, like this one, will receive more favourable treatment in search results than sites that simply shrink to fit. How to test your site? Here’s Google mobile test site. If your site doesn’t fair so well, we provide fully-responsive sites for small and medium size businesses. See our details here.

Here are other articles on the same topic for different perspectives:

http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/google-start-penalizing-non-mobile-sites-01175992

http://www.sitepronews.com/2015/03/09/mobile-friendliness-now-google-ranking-signal/

 http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_to_businesses_you_have_until_april_21st_to_get_mobile_friendly

Here’s the quote from Google:

More mobile-friendly websites in search results

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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

  • If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

 

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you responsive?

Are you responsive?

quick checks for any website

Today most people access the web via mobile phones. An early response by companies was to have separate mobile site with a link to the main site. The newer approach is have one site flexible enough to deal with all devices. Enter the responsive website. A responsive website provides easy reading and browsing on all devices - smart phones, tablets, and desktops and does this by treating pages, as consisting of movable and resizable blocks of texts and images. These are then moved according to screen space available. Traditional websites, on the other hand, reduce in size to become unreadable or spill over to the right of the display, forcing you to scroll sideways to see the rest of the web page.

Here are some easy ways to check any site. In Firefox users simple press Ctrl+Shift+M (for Windows users). This is my favourite Firefox feature! The top left shows a drop-down of screen resolutions. So choose another one or drag the right or bottom of the display. Just watch the web-page, and a responsive site will automatically rearrange menus and displays to suit. You can check this site as an example.

For Chrome users it’s slightly more complicated. I installed an extension, Responsive Web Design Tester, that displays a small desktop & phone in the toolbar. The extension allows you to choose a device like iPad and then displays your current webpage within those dimensions.

Note that these tricks do not truly simulate a mobile display. They simply show whether or not a site is responsive and will reshape menus and rearrange text and images. Any zooming in and out by a phone to display a site will not be shown.

 

Written by: Alex McCullie
Image courtesy of 2nix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Website Design – Stay on Message

Website Design – Stay on Message

Beach conservation or hair styling?

The take-away message is make your services & products very clear on the opening page. Your potential consumer should have no doubts about you and your organisation.

So what are you offering? And just as importantly what is your unique selling proposition or offering?

Unless your are Google or Microsoft or Apple you need to be very clear about your products and services. So, if your potential consumers have any doubts, then your message is too obscure.

So how is your opening page? Have you made products & services very clear? Is there a single attractive statement with your unique offering?

For the record you can find head hunter hair styling here.

 

 

Make Your Website A Social Marketing Hub

Make Your Website A Social Marketing Hub

Actively engaging with customers

 

Use your website to feed the social media sites with latest company and industry news to attract new customers.

Too many businesses rely on static websites for their Internet presence with little or no social marketing engagement. Often only their staff members have profiles in Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Despite time, effort, and financial resources used to build company website some time back, times have moved on. More people access the Internet via iPhone, Samsungs, and other smart phone than desktop computers. And often that site doesn’t cut it in the new world of the smartphone. The fonts are unusably small, and you may even need to scroll around to see the full page.

Worst still, nothing changes. The same list of services (although they have changed), same faces, same company policies, and same contact information.

It’s time for a rethink of the website marketing strategy. Your site can be dynamic with news items for company personnel. You can then automatically feed your website company and industry news on all your social media outlets. Become a trusted community member and, thereby, attract new customers. We assist clients to turn their website from necessary evil to an invaluable marketing tool. You can do it too. Alex

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Be Inspired – Pascal Campion

Be Inspired – Pascal Campion

Interview with inspiring artist and illustrator, Pascal Campion

Practice your craft, find a vision, and show your work are some take-aways for me from this Vimeo video.

Website – Keep Secure

Website – Keep Secure

Secure Your WebSite

Site Lockout Notification

Occasionally I’m emailed by my website security about an IP address being locked out. The automatic email states due to too many attempts to access a file that does not exist. The most recent IP address was 212.79.104.62, and see image for the IP location. My recent posting shoes how.

 

Now this may not be a hacking attempt but any good website security should check for these types of access attempts and, typically, email the administrator. One possibility is a legitimate search engine re-scanning for a now-deleted file. Still, better to be conservative, lock-out, and secure your website assets.

 

So it’s essential you have strong security package protecting your website and regularly completing scans for malware. Also don’t forget automatic off-site physical backups, in case the worst happens. Alex

 

Website design – keep it simple

Website design – keep it simple

Use simplicity to deliver powerful messages

Simplicity produces powerful designs, and powerful designs then deliver your messages clearly and succinctly. Why not just use one font with restricted sizes and styles and limit your colour use. Repeat same styles for similar sections or headings. And then liberally use blank spaces to reinforce your messages.

Let’s consider Riverside Arts Centre website.  Riverside’s website unfortunately appears

riverside loading screen

Riverside loading screen

as a cluttered, mishmash of images, colours, and type fonts and sizes that loses any power in delivering their messages. To make matters worse you have to scroll sideways on virtually all screen resolutions to see the full site. And, as you can imagine, their website does not adapt to different devices like iPhones and Samsungs. The sidebar menu just gets smaller and smaller.

A small tip: have your organisation name or site name in the title, so that it appears in the browser tab. Riverside just uses ‘Home’.

More about simplicity

To understand the power of simplicity start with Giles Colborne’s Slideshare presentation Secrets of Simplicity and a related blog discussion here So, to achieve simplicity consider (1) remove features; (2)  hide features; (3)  group features; and (4)  displace features.

How good is your website?

Finally consider our featured article How good is your website? I suggested some basic website design rules to check the quality of your site - timely & relevant content, easy accessibility, adaptability to mobile phones & tablets, fast-loading times, physical security, and linking to social media sites. And that’s for starters. Alex

 

Where did that IP address come from?

Where did that IP address come from?

Sample Map of Google’s IP & Location

Attacks on a website are a fact of life. So every website should have security systems in place to offer some protection (and off-line backups are crucial as well). I just received an automatic email on IP lockout with the offending IP address. In those situations you must be curious as to location of the IP address.

There are many IP locators on the Internet, so here’s one: http://www.ip-adress.com/ip_tracer/.

Please note that the attached image is NOT that of the attacker but Google’s IP address and location as purely an example.