Tag Archives: responsive design

Great Design & SEO Are Nothing Without Return On Investment

After working with a different array of clients over the years, and especially after fielding inquiries from business owners and company managers who are shopping web marketing/web development services, I have come to one important conclusion: not everyone who claims to offer web development or web marketing services has the customer’s best interest in mind. I mean, in the world of “website creating and promoting,” I’m not sure if very many companies are speaking the same language at all. And the result of this discombobulation has created confusion among businesses who truly need the services we provide.

So, let’s clear the air and set a path for those who are looking for answers to how they should use the web to promote their business – just some basics to get you on solid footing…

My Website Sucks
OK – you’ve established that your site is not working for your business. It’s old. It’s not catering to the growing web audience who are looking for goods and services on their mobile phones. What should you do? First off, you need a website that will work very well no matter what device accesses it, be it a phone, a tablet, a desktop or laptop. You need what’s known as “responsive design.” A site built with the ability to become 3 websites in one, essentially, will put your company on the path to be able to reach all potential customers with a website that functions well. You get what you pay for, and the best websites cater to visitors with optimum user experience. If you are shopping website quotes by sending out a development RFP, and if it is not including responsive design, your new website will be outdated before it ever goes live.

But, that’s not all – there’s more…

Internet Marketing
Just because you spent some hard-earned cash to create an awesome, well-designed website does not mean customers are going to flock to it or that your company is going to do more business online. You need web marketing expertise. Listen to me – you need to hear this. There are many web marketers out there who offer flim-flam pricing, but their methods, I am finding, do not work. There’s no plan. They typically seem to offer a “one shoe fits all” approach. Ugh.

What to look for? You’ll want a web marketing company that will listen to your company’s goals, first; then, establish a strategy to grow your business. Some things you should think about when considering web marketing agencies are questions like what I have noted, below. If a list like this is foreign to them – run. Do not look back.

  • Who is my potential customer and how can I reach them?
  • Are my potential customers local or national?
  • What is the primary (and maybe the secondary) demographic of my potential customers (e.g. male, female, age, etc.)?
  • Who do I want to sell my products are services to?
  • What is most important to my company?
  • Are my potential customers using social media?
  • Are my potential customers using print or e-mail?
  • What percentage of my potential customers are using smartphones?
  • What are my potential customers actually searching for when they access the web?
  • How do I convert potential customers to leads, sales, once they come to my website?

ROISEO: The Dirty Buzz Word
The acronym SEO (search engine optimization) has become filthy in its use. Yes, SEO is important (and something we do well), but it has come to mean so many different things due to the false promises and claims heralded from fly-by-night companies who do not know true web marketing. Many have spent quick money on SEO for results that never came in. SEO should be but a part of an ongoing, much broader web marketing strategy. It is a component of several approaches – never an end all.

And last, but not least – this is very important:

Website ROI
Our philosophy is that we live and die by ROI at The Karcher Group. We believe we cannot be successful unless we grow our clients’ businesses – we are committed to accomplishing this and will do whatever is industry best practice, honest and necessary to ensure success. So, to us, ROI and relationship is everything.

When shopping for marketing services, you should consider if the web company candidates are going to provide provable results, a measuring stick to ensure your company is getting ROI (return on investment). If there is not a plan in place for your web marketer to provide regular reporting to your company on the progress and growth that has been made through their efforts, then your business is most likely not going to benefit. If they are the real deal, they should be able to provide you with case studies and testimonies from clients whom they have helped.

May web marketing strategy and ROI be your guide – your company’s keys to online success.

How TKG Integrates Responsive Design

The web is changing – faster than ever.

With the emergence of the smartphone and its meteoric rise in use, more and more people are accessing the information they desire from the computer found inside their pockets. According to Adobe Digital: globally, more people are now visiting websites through use of mobile devices, specifically, tablets and smartphones, than with desktop or laptop computers.

Looking at mobile devices, that traffic gets split up differently, dependent upon the type of website your company may have. For example, e-commerce, travel, hospitality, auto, and content-rich magazine sites are preferably viewed on tablets. In contrast, the smartphone is the preferred computer for accessing media, entertainment, and telecom sites. And if your website has videos, you should know that mobile playback of videos has been tripling year over year.

How a Website Should Account for All Types of Users
In late Spring or early Summer of 2013, the Google Developers website posted a recommendation that will quickly change how websites will be built in order to account for all types of mobile traffic. Having a separate mobile website is no longer the preferred solution by Google who controls a major chunk of traffic on the web. Google wants to see websites developed with what is called “responsive design,” and their search engine’s algorithm will eventually be rewarding responsive websites with better placement in search results over time.

The change in behavior and Google’s recommendation is demanding that company websites not only cater to the waning desktop user, but, more importantly, to the smartphone and tablet users. Web developers accomplish this through responsive design.

Earlier this year, Josh wrote an introduction to responsive design that provides a quick overview of how this technology allows businesses to provide a great user experience to their audience no matter how the site is accessed. In short, a responsive-designed website is “a one shoe, fits all” approach. It is smart. It is well thought out.

How TKG Integrates Responsive Design

Our own website, TKG.com, was built by our team to re-size, giving visitors a different experience dependent upon how you access it. Here is what a desktop user will see when visiting our website:

Full Desktop View: Responsive Design

If you saw the desktop view of TKG.com on your smartphone, you might have a bit of trouble finding the information you were looking for – so, that we chose to have our website re-size and change appearance when you look at it on a smartphone browser.

TKG.com was designed to have a custom experience for one sole purpose: to allow visitors to view what they want to view and make contact with us.

The following screenshot is what a smartphone user sees when they visit TKG.com:

Responsive Design: Smartphone View

Need I say more? If you want all website visitors to be able to make contact with your business or buy your products, then you need to rethink your game plan by catering to everyone on the web.

Through responsive design, you’ll not only meet Google’s recommendations and be rewarded by better search results placement, your website will be better thought out to account for different types of users, providing them exactly what they want to see.

Fun Tip
Want to test it out? Open up TKG.com on your desktop browser and drag the browser down to a smaller size. You’ll see it change right before your eyes!

An Introduction to Responsive Design

In my opinion, the number of tablets, smart phones, laptops, etc that enter the market each week is a bit excessive. Don’t get my wrong, I love all the devices that I use in my daily life, but as a web developer, the more devices available, the more complex my job gets… but I’m up to the challenge!

The Challenge: Ensuring that client website content is easily viewable no matter what device it’s viewed on, while at the same time providing a great user-experience.

Responsive DesignResponsive Design

Back in the early years, this issue was solved by creating a desktop version and a mobile only version of website content. This solution worked for a few years because mobile devices, like the desktops in the early 2000’s, only had a couple of resolution types. Now, with more mobile devices being launched with larger resolution types being required, we needed a better answer.

The Solution: Responsive Web Design (RWD)
Defined as a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.

“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms,
and browsers that need to work with your site grows.
Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift
in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.” – Jeffrey Veen

Responsive design allows web developers to create a great user experience for all users, no matter what device they’re accessing a website from. The idea behind responsive design is to display/hide different elements on the site depending on the visual space allotted. This means a user could view the site on three different devices and have a different, yet great experience on all three.

Unfortunately, some web developers have yet to implement this crucial technology, which results in people becoming frustrated with websites they’re trying to view on a mobile device or tablet.

Another Solution!
Responsive design isn’t the only answer. In addition to having a website built with mobile in mind, applications are another way to ensure your content is properly represented in mobile environments. Earlier this year we explored mobile applications and although expensive, could be an option for your business to explore.

Has your business already implemented responsive design or launched a mobile app? Share with me in the comments your experience…

Photo credit: http://blogs.forrester.com

Mobile Traffic Growing

catEarlier this month the Local Search Association released a report prepared by ComScore, Inc. indicating that traffic to online directories and other local resources via non-PC devices (i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc.) has quadrupled in 2012, reaching 26% of total web traffic in December 2012, up from 6% share in December 2011.

In late April, the Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study revealed that 46% of survey respondents relied exclusively on their smartphones or tablets to conduct online research across a range of purchase categories, including banking and finance, gas and convenience, insurance and retail.

At TKG, we monitor our clients’ mobile traffic, too. And while the results are not as dramatic as the surveys above, we’re noting that a significant portions of our clients’ traffic is also coming from mobile devices. In some cases, as much as 20% of visitors are on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.

What This Surge in Mobile Traffic Means

Have you looked at your website lately on your mobile device? Go ahead. Take a peak. I’ll wait. :)

If your business has invested in a mobile site or a responsive design, you probably liked what you saw. Even on a smaller screen, the most important information is readily available to your visitors. For a local business that probably means phone numbers, an address, maps and driving directions are right there, waiting to be accessed. For an ecommerce site, your products were easy to navigate to, and interact with, and most importantly readable, regardless of the size of device. If you tried to make a purchase, you could also check out without having to re-direct to a non-mobile version. Even purely lead gen sites can benefit from a mobile version that is easy to navigate from small screens, and makes converting super simple.

If instead you just saw a teeny-tiny and hard to read – or navigate – version of your otherwise beautiful site, then perhaps the stats from above will give you pause for thought. As the mobile device market grows, and as more and more visitors across all industries and markets are turning to their phones and tablets instead of their PCs, the need to provide an excellent experience regardless of screen size becomes more and more important. And, as the variety of devices that people have access to grow, the need for a responsive design becomes more and more important, also. After all, can you afford to give a bad experience to even 20% of your visitors? Probably not!

Have questions about how you can use a mobile site to grow your business? Leave them in the comments! Curious to see what a responsive design is? Check out tkg.com on your smartphone, tablet and desktop… and watch as the experience changes based on your device.

The Mobile Web – Are You On Board?

There is a big metaphorical ship ready to take businesses to the next level of marketing utilizing mobile phones. As of right now, when someone wants to know what a company is all about, they Google the company and take a peek at their website. Which is great if all of those searches were coming from desktops. A large percentage, though, is coming from mobile devices, mainly smart phones.

Most people know what it is like to roll up a sleeping bag after a weekend of camping in the outdoors. You really have to squeeze and stuff the sleeping bag into its bag in order to get it all to fit. Websites work the same way. Looking at websites on a desktop allows at least 4 times the amount of viewing space when compared to mobile browsers. So when a user tries to view your website on a smaller device, all of that information gets crammed on to a small screen forcing the user to zoom and slide all around your web page in order to get a little bit of information. Sounds frustrating doesn’t it?

It is true that the website is still functional even though it is crammed onto a small screen, but is it really usable? What I mean by that is will people want to use it? Very rarely will someone be sitting at a computer and chose to use their mobile browser to search for something over using their computer, so it is when people are not at a computer that matters.

Just as an example, lets say that company A, which sells furniture, has a fully functional desktop site, but no mobile site to back it up. George is at company B, which also sells furniture, and wants to try and do a quick price comparison on the kitchen table he is looking at. The first result on his Google search was company A. Three minutes later the web page finally loads and now in order to find the product George is forced to zoom and slide around the page to find the appropriate links, some of which are too small for his finger to touch accurately. George gets bored and frustrated and even though it turns out that company A sold the same table for 100$ less, he gave up looking and purchased theWalsh-Desktoptable from company B.

So that functional website, is it really functional? The website is about 4 times larger, therefore it will take longer for it to show up on mobile devices. In order to fit the website on the screen the device zooms out so everything is really small. Even if the user knows exactly where to go, they will still need to zoom in and slide around to make sure they hit the links they need to hit to get there.

Want another example? Take a look at the two images on the right. The one on top is an image of a Walsh-Mobilenon-mobile optimized web-page on a mobile device. It’s not very easy to see what is going on or where to go without zooming and sliding. Now look at the image below it. It is very clean and simple, easy to navigate eliminating all confusion.

That all being said, what are the advantages of having a mobile Smaller file-size means faster page loading which means everyone is happy.optimized website?look at the two images on the right. The one on top is a screen shot from a non-mobile-optimized web page on an iPhone 4S. Without zooming and scrolling its not exactly easy to see what is going on or where to go to find the information you are looking for right? Now look at the image right below it.

  • Takes up less screen space: No more zooming and horizontal scrolling.
  • Have your phone number on the site? The call is just one touch away.
  • Content is to-the-point: Goodbye confusion, hello information users need.
  • Shopping on the go? I think so.

People, for the most part, including myself, have become very impatient and spoiled when it comes to technology. If it’s not fast and it is not easy to use, they want nothing to do with it. Is it worth not having a mobile-optimized website if that means potentially losing business from smart phone users? The answer should be no. Mobile websites are much smaller and relatively inexpensive, and will only help bring the company more business.

So what are you waiting for? That metaphorical ship is leaving and quickly speeding up. Are you on board? Or are you being left behind?

5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs Responsive Design

responsive design mobile devices mobile browserWe live in a world where mobile devices are usually within arms reach.

From smart phones to tablets, we’ve become accustom to accessing the Internet o visit sites, search for information and even interact with our friends, family and brands on social media sites.

By the end of this year, Gartner reports that at least 57% of the U.S. population will have a smart phone in their pocket.

Google has announced that this Fall, over 30% of web searches would be done by mobile device!

At TKG, we’ve been seeing mobile visits to our clients’ websites grow upwards of 150% or more over this past year. That means if you are a business and you do not have a mobile website that is using responsive design, you’ll need to get in the game quickly. If you wait, you may risk loosing visitor traffic to your competitors who have already invested in using responsive design to make their websites friendly to mobile devices.

5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design

  1. Responsive design improve user experience. It’s much easier to read a mobile website page that quickly displays the most important information relevant to your business. (Ever try to read a full website on a tiny cell phone’s mobile browser?)
  2. Even your grandma may be using a mobile browser. Even older generations of consumers are moving to adopt smart phones. Do you want your grandma to be able to find your website in her mobile browser.
  3. Mobile websites let your customers find when it’s convenient. People search for information as they need it; and that means your business needs to take advantage of every opportunity to get in front of customers. Most people do not wait until they get behind a desktop or laptop computer to search for things they want now; they search using mobile devices that are convenient.
  4. Mobile devices let customers contact you on the spot. If your business has a brick and mortar location, the smart phone can be prompted by the mobile-friendly page to have customers call, e-mail or find your business location on a map. This is an incredible tool and a primary reason why many business owners/managers quickly opt to use responsive web design.
  5. Responsive web design can help you stay ahead of competitors. Your competition is already working on making their website display better on mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads, notebooks and tablets. They may be using one of several different methods responsive web design and gaining an edge over competitors.
You have a few options to consider when you are making the move to opening up your website to consumers using a mobile browser.

1.  Responsive Design Websites

First, if you do not have a responsive website, it’s time to get that old site upgraded with new code. You’ll at least want your full website displaying nicely in all types of mobile browser options. And, if you are planning to have your website redeveloped anyway, why not explore responsive design?

A website that incorporates responsive web design will allow it to adjust automatically to any screen size. This means that the site can be made to display the most relevant information visitors are looking for, no matter what the size of display screen.

The full website is pre-planned and designed to scale down to every size browser, removing unimportant elements as it is viewed in smaller screens. Responsive web design does cost more, but in the long run, it will adapt and look great in the ever-changing host of browser sizes.

2.  Mobile-Only Websites

So, you don’t want to shell out the cash to redesign your website, but you would like to have a second site designed specifically for mobile devices. One option is to build a mobile website that is designed to display in a mobile browser in lieu of your full website when it detects that a mobile browser is being used by the visitor.

Like responsive website design, a mobile website can be a great option because mobile sites are designed for smaller screens. You can keep it simple by offering customers just a few pages of information, or elect to create a version for mobile commerce.

3.  Mobile Splash Pages

Another option that is least expensive is to offer a mobile splash page. One way to have a mobile website is by offering one page that auto-displays when a mobile user visits your company’s website.

You keep it simple by offering a description of your business with phone, address and e-mail. If they touch the phone number, the smart phone prompts them to call; if they touch the address, a map pops-up showing your business’ location; and if they touch e-mail, the customer can quickly send a message to your company right from their phone! If more information is needed, the visitor can always select “View Full Website.”

What Will You Choose?

The statistics show that mobile devices have become a mainstream part of our culture in the U.S. and around the world.

The only choice you MUST not make is to ignore this trend.

From the three options I mentioned above, what sticks out to you as the best choice?