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Why mobile website design is a must in 2016

 

If you aren’t already aware, the popularity of the mobile web has long since surpassed desktop browsing on all counts, this includes how most people are now browsing as well as making purchase transactions, as a result we’re seeing rapid growth and evolution when it comes to mobile website design, and by 2016, this is no longer optional.

If you haven’t already, once you finally do get round to building a mobile website it’s important to stay on top of design trends in order to ensure that your site is customer friendly. Here are some of our favourite recent trends.

Subtlety
There are a number of different ways why that a developer would recommend a more subtle approach to suit a mobile experience. For starters, less is more when it comes to speeding up your website, and with changing networks as we travel around on our mobile devices, speed becomes very important.

The colour palette now more commonly used for designing for the mobile web are more neutral and tonal, with gentle colour schemes that allow your user to focus on the text or images, as opposed to the background.
Plus, if you haven’t yet heard of ghost icons, then you should check them out. They are clickable icons that you can place onto or over any high-res imagery on your page, taking the place of big clunky static button icons.

Minimalism
Everything relating to mobile website design returns to the experience of browsing the web on a smaller, handheld device. Browsing becomes a nightmare, as I’m sure you’ll have experienced, when on a mobile device or tablet, a web page has features pop up from here and there affecting your experience. This is one of the limitations you have to work around when designing for mobile, far more so than when using a desktop computer. This partly explains why we’re seeing more stripped back, minimal designs now, some examples of the features you’re sure to see include ghost icons / buttons, that we mentioned earlier, as well as hidden menus that disappear when you’re not using them. Another recent revolution is scrolling through pages, left to right as with a book as opposed to top to bottom. Also, expect to see scrolling become a preference over clicking, where possible. All of these innovations are designed in part of the race to create a better handheld online experience but they also manage to add something to the experience of desktop browsing more generally.

Interactive Design
We can also now see web pages become more animated and interactive, producing a more entertaining and intuitive experience, but also one which captures our attention far more than plain text on a background. It won’t always be necessary, but in aspect like taking advantage of scrolling as opposed to clicking, and anything else which uses touch screen features to give an interactive experience of the website is a bonus in mobile design. Perhaps the best way to think of it is that mobile website design is in many respects moving closer to native app design.

Increasing First Page Placement Frequency

Search engines have come a very long way in recent years at indexing web pages in response to any possible search that a user enter. The web pages that a search engine, such as Google deems to be most relevant will appear on the first page of search results and the list continues like this, often in the millions, in the order that the search engine decides. As you may know from experience, few of us click past the first page often, so when your website does feature on the very first page, this is a big deal, and we call it first-page placement.

Often, small or medium-sized businesses feel as if they simply cannot compete with the global market leaders out there when it comes to vying for the top spot. While it is true that top companies hold a pretty secure top spot for their relevant keyword choices, this isn’t to say that a small business cannot compete.

There are many different ways you can push your web pages up toward the top of the search engine list, you just need to seek innovative ways of competing, so here are a few great yet simple ways to improve your chances.

Think Local
Though you might completely have ignored it, one of the quickest and proven ways to fast track your way toward the top of the search engine results page and to achieve a greater number of first page placements is by being loud and proud about your local area and the areas where your business is based. Many people will search by their area instinctually, but even those that don’t are now be guided by locality. You may not be able to compete with Wal-mart with your local foods store, but for “health food store in LA” you might well rank very well.

Find your niche
The first sure way of shortcutting your way to the first page of a search engine, even for the biggest and best companies is by making your business a specialist in its field. By targeting customers in a more particular way you’ll be sure to snap up extra visitors who are searching for your niche. You can play around and experiment with this in a variety of ways, especially if you offer a variety of different products or services. For example, if your business is a retailer of sinks then be sure to give special attention to every different type of character and era that you stock. Few will type something as vague or general as “sink” into their browser, far more likely they will enter something more specific along the lines of “classic sink” or “contemporary granite sink” so try to focus more specifically on things like that, you’ll appear more relevant to your customer as well as to the search engine.

There are innumerable ways that an expert SEO service can help to push your site higher up in the page rankings, but the most important thing is to deliver high-quality content. Regardless of how a user found their way onto your website, once they’re inside you want them to stay, and to return in the future. Oh, and, if possible, to recommend you to their friends too!

 

Achievable first page placement goals

The way it seems to many, is that finding a web page from your site on the first page of Google is a little like winning the lottery, though this is far from the truth. In fact, many small websites rack up first page placements each month, whether they know it or not. It should also be said that unlike winning the lottery, achieving first-page placement takes skill, hard work, and plenty of determination. It also requires industry knowledge, and expertise.

Make your Content Superior
First of all, whatever your industry is, you need to be competitive with the very biggest and best, and, you also need to be better than they are. Recent developments in Google and other search engines mean that the way page placement is decided is fairer than ever, and even small websites play on a level playing field meaning that any business can achieve first-page placement with the right approach.

First off, you must do your research. Search around to educate yourself about what your nearest competition or the competition that you aspire to is doing. This is important both inform you of things that you are doing right, as well as things you’re missing and even perhaps ways that you have in common with your competitors that you should do away with. Once you have an idea of what’s on offer elsewhere, it’s for you to make something even better. If this still seems ambitious then consider the skyscraper theory.

The skyscraper theory says that nobody ever searches the second tallest building (or at least, far fewer do than who search for the first tallest). It is partly for this reason that you must do everything the competition does, plus a little and extra. This isn’t as challenging as it first seems since you begin by using your competition for ideas and inspiration.

Informed Keyword Research
Although it’s simple to carry out basic keyword research, you need an expert to assist you when it comes to high-level keyword research used in pay per click ads. If you tap into less widely used keywords than the bulk of your competition, and if you can differentiate your keywords with synonyms then you can pick up steam, increase your web traffic, and climb the search engine result pages to achieve more regular first-page placement.

Take advantage of local traffic
One final method that helps in the quest for first-page placement, particularly in the case of smaller businesses as a shortcut to the top of search results is by targeting your local customer case who may well be your main audience. Simply placing the name of your local town or city in your keywords you help you to guarantee that at least local searches should find your web pages at the top of the search results. When you have these pages in place, traffic will grow organically, and you will see a snowball effect take place, growing your traffic exponentially.

 

Making the most of PPC management

If you have done your research and think that pay per click advertising is something that you would like to use to give your website a boost then it can help to first learn exactly a PPC management does, and how this will help to strengthen your online SEO efforts. First of all, though, ensure that you know a few things about PPC in general so that you can understand what and how exactly your PPC manager can help.

What can your PPC manager add?
There are so many different elements that a PPC manager can work on to make your advertising campaign more effective, here are some of the main benefits, though. But first, is PPC right for you?

Is PPC right for your website?
PPC ads are an effective and unique marketing strategy to get your business out there in front of your audience, though it can be more effective for some businesses and industries than others. But what are the main criteria that should be considered? Among the many advantages of PPC advertising is the fact that it can be a very cost-effective way to advertise a website, and the budget you spend is something which you can decide with your PPC manager. You will also benefit from being verified by the search engine, Google as an example, which can’t be a bad thing in the eyes of potential customers. Finally, you should consider using PPC marketing while your website is still young to get the ball rolling and to give you a head start when acquiring your new customer base.

Other types of businesses which will particularly benefit with PPC marketing are those in saturated markets. If for example there are a dozen pizza delivery services in your area then PPC is one way of differentiating your business.

More Effective Keywords
A PPC manager has access to analytics which describes how well or poorly different keywords (those that you advertise with) perform. This helps to find those which are working well so that you can focus on them and abandon those which aren’t performing. You may also find that the keywords which cost more are not necessarily those which perform the best, allowing you to cut them to save money, and improve your overall results. By experimenting, you can also find hidden gems that your competition are yet to take advantage of, giving you a competitive edge.

Target “ready to buy” customers
An experienced PPC manager can see which types of search are close to the point of purchase; this means customers who have done their research and are now looking to buy. Focusing on this core group means that you can address the customers who are more likely to make a purchase, and this can make a huge difference to your successes online. Targeting customers close to the point of purchase isn’t easy, but over time you can build up an idea of how these people search through trial and error, the prize is certainly worth the hunt.

 

How does blog posting pull in traffic?


Using blog posting in your website’s own custom-made blog is one of the more advanced SEO techniques that you can work on to improve your overall relationship and performance with the search engine and your customer. Once you have addressed the most common and fundamental SEO methods from design to keyword use, we highly recommend taking things a step further by using blog posting. And since much of your competition will not have their own blog spaces, this is one of a handful of ways that you can make big gains on your competitors.

For your Customer
If you’re inexperienced with the idea of blogging, then a quick explanation can help to inform why exactly they are so useful. A blog, unlike the rest of your static website, is composed of many short and brief posts, usually on a single subject. These posts slowly shift down the list as new posts are made, and after some time, you might have dozens of pages of posts on particular niche interests and specialist articles on a range of subjects.

For the majority of your customers, these blog posts will go unseen, it’s for the minority that your blog will make a big difference for. Any customer who has a particular interest in your product or service may like to know more information to inform their choice, and while each interest might be unique, so will each post in your blog. Over time you will hopefully build up an archive of posts which address all common FAQs, making you an authority on your topic.

For your Website
Your blog posts can also play a role as an entrance to your website. If you have addressed a particular subject in one of your posts, then users searching for this subject may be directed to your site solely because of one blog post, and this can lead to a new audience finding your entire website, and this means more traffic. I always think of it as like having many different front doors, on different streets, all of which lead into the same shop (yours). Plus if a customer or visitor has found something on your site that they hadn’t found on their usual site, there is a good chance they will come to you first next time again.

For the Search Engine
For the search engine, your blog plays a somewhat different role. Each and every piece that you post to your blog is compounded with the rest of your content, allowing the search engine to better understand your website and the information inside. Each time you make a blog post the search engine sees this as website activity and this also improves how your website is ranked by the search engine, improving your overall SEO results. Everything that goes onto your website is like evidence, or clues, for the search engine which wants to gather up that information so as to direct their users as well as possible to the most relevant info, posting a blog full of relevant info helps the search engine in its acquisition to understand your website a great deal.

 

Accessible and affordable SEO practices

One of the main concerns with business owners who are inexperienced with SEO is the price, and this largely comes from an ignorance of what exactly SEO is, and therefore what the investment is for. As you might expect, large industry leading businesses to spend a great deal on SEO each year, though this is relative, and there is no reason that as a small business that you can’t make use of affordable SEO practices which mirror your larger competition.

Custom Blog Creation
A slightly less often used method of search engine optimisation which is fantastic for improving your website rank, as well as creating a cult following for your content is custom blog creation. A custom blog is simply a blog built into your website, you may have seen the tag “blog” in the menu for many websites before, even if you haven’t entered the blogs before. Plus the fact that many sites don’t use blogs mean that this is an opportunity to get one up on all those sites.

Among other things, your blog is a place for you to put all relevant content which doesn’t quite make the cut for your static pages. These static pages contain all of the most relevant and important information that every single one of your customers needs to know, your blog then is a place that you can store additional information that some of your more interested customers might want. A final perk worth mentioning on the subject of custom blogs is that they by their nature are short but regular posts, and this is great for keeping your website active in the eye of the search engine. Plus, it’s a very inexpensive method of SEO.

Experiment with Keywords
Keyword research has long been one of the most productive and favourite methods of affordable website SEO, and there are even free tools out there now to assist with the role. By experimenting with new keywords, and trying  to blend long as well as short tail keywords and phrases you may be able to innovate in ways that your have yet to consider, getting you ahead of the crowd.

When researching and implementing keywords in your web content, exercise with caution. It’s important that you place keywords according to the web etiquette set by search engines, especially Google. Once you could get away with repeating the same few popularly searched words in your content and get onto the first page of Google, now though the search algorithm is more sophisticated, and it will more likely demote your page than promote it if you overuse keywords, AKA keyword stuffing.

Backlink Partnerships
You might know that a link in your content that directs a user to a page on another website is called a backlink, though you might not know their usefulness. When you connect with content outside of your website, you are extending the scope of information that you can deliver to your visitors, this also reads well with the search engine by allowing it to see your content in a wider context.

 

Proven website SEO techniques

Website SEO has changed and evolved a great deal over the last decade or so, however, many of the central tenets have remained similar if not the same, and it’s good to keep track of developments to ensure that your site is optimised as well as it can be. For this reason we wanted to go over some of the most important and proven SEO techniques to serve as a checklist for you and your website. If you’re not doing anything on the list already, then we recommend you focus on it right away.

Blog Posting
One great way of improving your search engine ranking is by adding a blog to your site. Your blog is the perfect place to add additional info, to address your niche readership, and to increase the activity of your website as far as the search engine is concerned.

Simple Design
Gone are the days where a website was novel. Today the internet is a necessity, and billions of us all around the globe are connected to the internet from the start of each morning to the end of each night. As such, what was exciting and groundbreaking in the late nineties is probably old and tired by now, and this includes designing overly flashy website pages.

Think of your website design as the decorum of your business. Too much colour and particularly bright colours can look tacky, and they can also detract from your actual content. The best approach we can advise when it comes to website design is to keep things clean, simple, and subtle. No website, whatever the subject, is going to look bad using a black and white colour format, and if you do want to make use of colours, try soft, calming, tonal colour palettes. This keeps your site looking classy and classic, and it also helps to focus the viewer’s eye on what’s most important, your content.  

Responsive Design
Responsive website design, as opposed to “m.sites” or mobile sub-domains, have become the clear go-to method of designing for mobile devices. What makes responsive design so superior to the alternatives is that it keeps all of your content together in one place, and allows that one website to respond to serve any device, be it your home PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile seamlessly and without delay. Further, all of the limitations found with the other options are irrelevant making responsive design the all round clear choice.

Keeping Keyword Research Subtle
Keyword research has been one of the leading methods of search engine optimisation since the dawn of the internet, and in many respects this remains unchanged. What has changed though is the search engine’s ability to find inauthentic keyword use. Once upon a time, a website could amass views by simply cramming popular keywords into a given piece of text, and this practice has become known as keyword stuffing. Today the search engine uses far more complex algorithms to assess content, and will punish the overuse of keywords, so keep things subtle and relevant.

 

What on page website SEO means for your audience

The criteria for good website SEO is in many ways the same for improving how both the search engine and how your audience register your website. What this amounts to in the end is that proper SEO investment should effectively kill the two birds with one stone, providing a better user experience for your customer on one hand, and having a site which ranks well with search engines like Google on the other. This isn’t a coincidence, though, the search engine is programmed to seek out what the user is seeking, and they’re getting increasingly good at it.

So what is the criteria you ask? Well, here a some of the most important places to start.

Website performance

Website performance encompasses a few key factors, the most important perhaps is how fast your website runs. Speed is important in the digital age, and if a client gets impatient trying to load your webpage then the chances are that they’ve already opened a new tab and searched elsewhere.

In relation to the search engine, you can be quantitatively tested and if your site is slow and bugs often then your page rank will suffer. There are a number of ways to speed up your site, this includes proper site construction and keeping images and videos to a minimal (particularly relevant for mobile users).

You should also consider how any media loads, and ensure that you don’t have any dead pages or links which do not correspond to any pages.

Content
Your content is essentially the entire purpose of the website itself. When it comes to pleasing your customer you should consider how well your content reads, the keywords you use, and, critically, how your content compares with your competition.

When it comes to pleasing the search engine, on the other hand, you can make big gains by making a few simple changes. Ask yourself of each page of your site, what is the topic, theme, or subject of this page.

Does the content address the subject directly? Are the keywords as relevant as possible? How well does the page URL reflect the topic and content? Finally, have you written relevant and clear meta descriptions and page titles for the search engine? These are very simple actions which can each have a profound effect on your website’s performance. Although they might also assist or reassure your visitors, these things are more for helping the search engine understand your website, and the better it does, the more likely it will rank you more highly.

Navigation
How easy is it to go from page to page of your website? Ideally, your site will be structured into sections, subsections, categories, and subcategories. Also, does your structure follow a logical plan? This is essential for creating a pleasant browsing experience for your user, and Google bots and crawlers will pick up on them too. Make sure that your site has as few dead ends as possible, and use icons that can return the user to the previous page and homepage wherever possible.

An organic SEO checklist for small businesses

It’s often taken for granted that while the internet is a forum for businesses that cross all industries, as well as charities, news stations, and other sites which simply offer information on their given subject, not many of these will have much, if any, previous knowledge of what organic SEO is, and certainly not how to implement it. For all of you out there who this might apply to, it can be really very helpful to begin by making a checklist that you work your way through. There are a number of benefits to this, but mainly i think by keeping each element separate, it’s easier to keep track of progress, and in time to have a better understanding of how they interact.

Design
The design of your website is the first impression any of your customers will make of your business, and if it isn’t right, it may be their last. Fear not, though, an SEO expert is well versed in putting together simple yet attractive design.

Responsive Design
This relates to mobile website design. Responsive effectively means that your website design will be able to respond to different device types to format your content in the most eye pleasing way possible. By now, with over half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, this isn’t something you want to miss out on.

Keyword Research
A keyword is a term used to describe certain keywords or phrases that you use in the content on your website to direct your content to the search engine, and your customer base. By ensuring that you’re using best terminology you can pick up more traffic, and feature higher on the search engine. By experimenting with new and different synonyms of keywords you might be able to make your content more competitive, and stay a step ahead of your competition.

Building Backlinks
When you have a link in your content which directs a user to another website, this is a backlink. Building backlinks is a key and fundamental method of SEO that has been in use since the beginning of SEO and the internet. There are two main reasons that backlinks are useful, firstly they connect your site to a wider web of context, making it easier for a search engine to understand what your site or page is about. Secondly, by building backlink partnerships over time, you should begin to see sites linking back to your content from theirs.

Blog Posting
The final thing worth mentioning in this post as a way to grow your organic SEO is to post in a blog on your website. There are plenty of purposes that you could put a blog to use for, ideally, you’ll use it to post things which aren’t quite necessary to the majority of your audience, but which will no less be appreciated by at least some or many of them. One advantage of using a blog is that customers of your competition who are not offered the niche advice or information will eventually go looking for someone who does offer it, and this may well introduce them to your business.

Developing a successful organic SEO approach

As a business operating online, it’s critical to have at least a basic understanding of how success online relies on a steady organic SEO approach. Once your basic website design and content is in place it’s time to get to work on your search engine optimisation efforts.

 

It’s completely understandable that not everyone operating online will have knowledge of what SEO is, and how it works in advance, however taking one step at a time and growing your SEO techniques slowly is completely manageable for any business. So, what should you start with?

 

Content production and keyword implementation

It’s easy to lose track when focusing on SEO that the reason a website has a purpose in the first place is for the content it contains. As a business in any industry, you are an authority, and the info that you want to convey to your audience should always remain your top priority.

This might mean spending more time assessing the competition and improving your web content, or, if writing isn’t exactly your speciality then an SEO can provide content writing services to assist you.

Another core component worth mentioning here is keyword research and implementation. Finding the right keywords means utilising specialist software which analyses the most popular search terms for any given topic, and then to implement these key terms you must find natural ways to fit them into your content.

Design and responsive design
Regardless of the content of your website, the design remains important, particularly when it comes to users finding your site for the first time. This does not mean that your site needs to be overly flashy, however. The best-designed sites utilise simplicity to maintain focus on what’s important, the content.

Responsive design is all about building a website which can cater to different device types, offering access to a website via either a desktop computer or otherwise a tablet or mobile device. As you may or may not know, mobile browsing now makes up a majority of all web traffic and it simply isn’t optional today if you’re looking to be competitive online.

Site architecture
Another key area to focus on with your SEO approach is one which largely exists behind the scenes and which relates to your website’s inner architecture. This is all about how your pages and menus link together to form the overall structure of the site. By having a simple, clear, logical, and easily navigated infrastructure both your client as well as bots from the search engine will find it less complicated to browse your site.

Custom Blog Posting
Once you have the basics all in place, it’s worth considering having a custom blog built as an additional way to organically grow your SEO efforts further. Having a custom blog space built for your website means you have an extra “wing” to your website, separate from the rest, in which you can store any additional content you like. This can just be a place that you give news about the business, staff, and so on, like a bio, or it can be taken advantage of for additional content.