How to Perform Your Own Website Audit

website auditIf your website isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it may be time to do a website audit. You can pay someone a lot of money to do it for you, but, armed with the right information, you can also do it yourself. To do this, you’re essentially looking for elements that are working, elements that are not working, or elements that need to be updated.

Every few years the internet changes in a big way. How we do things today is totally different to how we did things just ten years ago. What’s in today will not necessarily be in tomorrow. Therefore, it’s important to keep your website up to date with the modern technology available to you for your industry and niche.

Questions to Ask When Performing Your Website Audit:

How’s Your Branding? – This speaks to your use of color, typography, visuals, and even favicons.  Is your “about us page” updated, and is it telling the story clearly of who you are and what you can do for them? Have you included testimonials, success stories, and more to keep your visitor interested?

How’s Your Design? – The look and feel of your website has a lot to do with the layout.  This includes whether content is organized well, the white space you have on your website, and your calls to action. Do those elements stand out enough? Do you have too much old-school design on your website? How can you modernize it?

Is Your Coding on Point? – Do you have an updated sitemap file? Are you still using frames and old-school coding that doesn’t work today? Are your URLs indicative of what’s on each page? Are you using headers and sub-headers properly?

Is It Usable? – Are you following best practices when it comes to layout? If you’re not sure, you can read Google’s advice to webmasters as well as the W3C consortium to see what they recommend. Right now the menu should go at the top, with certain things expected in the footer and sidebars.  Your website should be as modern in functionality as it is in design.

Do You Have Holes in Your Content? – If you have any old content that is not quality-focused, engaging, and relevant, you will want to work on updating it. Then focus on continuing to be consistent with adding fresh content.

Are Your Keywords Focused? – In the old days you might have put a lot of keywords on a page to attract your audience. Today, keywords are important but they need to be used in titles, headers, and sub-headers. They should only be used sparingly in the content, which should be written first for your audience. Be sure that when you do use keywords, you’re using the right ones for your audience.

What Can You Do to Improve On-Page SEO? – This is all about how your page titles are written. They should represent exactly what’s in the content that you present. Clickbait is not appreciated, even though often even mainstream press uses that trick to get you to click. Focus instead on the URLs for each page, and meta descriptions (which are still very important), as well as meta titles.

Are You Using Social Media Right? – Ensure that it’s easy for your audience to share your content socially. Connect your website to Google and YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and others, depending on what your audience likes to use. Also ensure that you’re engaging with your audience on social media, too.  Any good website audit will include an audit of social media engagement.

Is Your Site Mobile? – Today there is no excuse for not having a mobile site. Your main website should really be mobile first, and then it will also work on regular browsers. This will require you to have a clean design, which is great for everyone.

What’s Out of Date? – If there is anything on your site that is out of date or no longer necessary, get rid of it. This includes things such as keyword-stuffed articles, duplicate content, spun content, a ton of ads, paid links, and anything else that is not current.

By going through this list, you can do a website audit yourself. This will help you keep your site modern, usable and working at its best for your business.

Why is Responsive Design So Important?

responsive designThe ultimate goal of small business owners is to have a website that gets results for them, attracts prospects, brings in leads, and converts visitors. To achieve this, having a responsive design on your website is critical.  Like most things with technology, there are always changes taking place. It’s important to keep abreast of these issues, even if you’re not a web designer. Having a responsive website design is important to keep your website adaptable to these ongoing changes in technology. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when designing your website.

Tips to Implement Responsive Design for Your Website

Usability – A responsively designed website will be easier to use for the visitors than one that isn’t. A responsive design is clean, has usable menu options, and uses all the technology available for one-click calls, one-click emails, and more. A website optimized for mobile will work better than others.

Mobile Web Growth – Mobile internet has grown by over 400 percent in the last two years, and it is going to continue to grow. However, it’s not going to replace other types of devices. In fact, people are becoming multi-device users. They use their phone, their tablets, and their PC interchangeably.  Your website needs to be accessible across all devices.

SEO – Having a responsive design for your website is one of the best things you can do for your search engine optimization. The reason is that most search engines give a higher return of responsive sites as results in searches. Plus, responsive websites are easier to use and simply work better.

Avoid Flash – It’s important to be careful about using Flash on your desktop version of your website, but you should never use it if you want your website to be responsible. When you embed videos in your website, this can be an issue. Be sure to use a plugin that enables you to deliver the video to both mobile users and desktop users.

Stop Using Pop-Ups – It’s true that they do work great to convert on your desktop. But, you need to ensure that you set them up not to try to deliver to a mobile device, because they simply don’t work on mobile devices.

Consider the Fingers – Remember that people using mobile devices are typically using their finger to click their choices. Design buttons and drop downs with that in mind, giving plenty of finger room and differentiation between choices.

Create Optimized Page Titles – Even on mobile, each page needs a good page title. You want to avoid titles that are drawn out and confusing. Use keywords in the titles, and keep them short when possible.

Optimize Meta Descriptions – Meta descriptions for mobile need to be short; in fact keep it to 120 characters or less. This will ensure that Google and other search engines are getting the most information in the best way.

If you want more visitors and repeat visitors, it’s important to keep these things on your radar. Even if you’re not a web designer, you’ll need to stay informed about the best way to make your website reach your audience. You can hire a good web designer, or simply use the right self-hosted WordPress themes, keeping in mind these responsive website design tips.

There’s an App for That! Creating Business Apps

business appCreating a mobile business app can help you increase brand awareness, help your customers solve a problem, and much more. Mobile apps can be created easily today with online software, as well as by hiring a coder from a job website. There are many reasons why creating a mobile business app is something you should do.

Why is a Business App Important?

Mobile Is Here To Stay – There is no turning back now from the fact that we are a mobile society which uses mobile technology. Your customers are viewing your website online with their mobile devices, and they are using their mobile devices every single day. By creating a mobile app you stay at top of mind with your customers.

You Can Market On the Go – Since your customers keep their mobile devices right near them, it’s a great time to use your app to reinforce your brand in the mind of your customers. If they use your app on a daily basis, all the better. For example, a calorie counting app for dieters, a daily motivational quote app for life coaches, and other ways to stay in touch daily will help them to become even more familiar with you.

It Allows On-the-Go Purchasing – If you create an app that also encourages and allows in-app purchases, you can improve your sales exponentially. Giving them the ability to buy things within the app keeps them with you even longer.

Apps Offer Better Customer Care – Having a mobile business app can give you the opportunity to provide even better customer service to your clients than before. If they can see your FAQ and see dedicated information for them within the app, they’ll be even more loyal to you.  Convenience goes a long way with customer service.

They Capture Information – With a mobile app, you’ll be able to capture more consumer information and preferences than ever before. People are more likely to provide information this way than they are in other ways. Ensure that your user can opt-in and opt-out of sharing data like that, though, because you don’t want to do anything other than improve their experience.

Apps Increase Engagement – Having access to your customers with a mobile app gives you the unprecedented ability to connect with them in a new way just when they need you. Whether they’re in their car or sitting on their couch, you have access to them and can encourage them to engage with you literally at any time, anywhere they are.

They Attract a Younger Audience – While older people use mobile devices too, younger people are using them almost exclusively over desktop technology. Therefore, if you want to keep up with this generation today and tomorrow as they age, you’ll need to stay on the cutting edge of mobile technology.

They’re Easy to Create – You can use software like AppMakr.com to build your app in minutes, relatively inexpensively, or you can hire a coder using one of the job sites like Upwork.com. There is no reason to avoid creating one, as the cost to entry is relatively low today.

Creating an iPhone or Android app can affect your business in a positive way, increase brand awareness, improve customer engagement, and bring your business into the modern age.  The sooner you do it, the sooner your business will grow.

Mobile Apps for Business and Your Marketing

mobile apps for businessAs technology advances, mobile apps have become a way of life. It is true that for nearly every purpose in life, there is an app. Business owners also now have more freedom than ever before. Google has announced that as of 2015, mobile traffic actually surpassed desktop traffic. With this in mind, it’s important to stay aware of what type of mobile apps for business you should focus on in the coming year. The following are some things to keep in mind as you look at all of the options available to you.

Things to Consider When Using Mobile Apps for Business

Faster Development – They say that the speed at which technology develops doubles every two to two-and-a-half years. Since that’s the case, expect very quick development for mobile apps in the future. The interconnectedness of apps will improve areas of our lives that we may not even imagine right now.

Wearable Technology – Outside of the Apple Watch and fitness bands, there will be all kinds of wearable technology in the future. You’ll be able to track your mood, other aspects of your health, the health of your pets, and much more. These wearable apps will also start interacting with each other, making them even more useful.

Mobile Banking – Now that we can use our banks online, there are more and more apps that make online banking easier to accomplish. You’ll can now watch your account, transfer money, and do a lot more than ever before with apps, so look for even more advanced options in the future in relation to your business.

Internet of Things – This refers to how physical items can connect with apps and internet-type apps. For example, you can get a special button from Amazon to reorder various items that you use a lot such as laundry detergent. Bringing apps activated by the internet to life in this manner has limitless possibilities for business use.

In-App Purchasing – This is going to become even more important as mobile devices and set communities surrounding a particular product now enable reordering or add-on ordering. This is very popular within the gaming community, but it will spread even more through other types of apps.

HTML5 – By the end of 2016 there will be over two billion mobile devices accessing the net and browsing using HTML5. It’s more important to use this technology to build websites than anything else. It works better than other methods, and it’s important that you adopt it sooner rather than later.

Google Apps – Google’s Apps for Work is getting better and more powerful. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s important that you do. There are many options for business use.

As the number of people who own mobile smartphones increases, social networking, in-app marketing, location-based services, mobile search, mobile commerce, object recognition, and mobile payments will all become the norm. In light of these advancements, it’s imperative that you check out the mobile apps for business available to you so you can stay on the cutting edge with your marketing strategies.

How to Improve Your Mobile Marketing Methods

mobile marketingMarketing on mobile today is a lucrative way to get your products and/or services in the mind of your customers, but, there are some things that you can do to ensure that mobile marketing works even better for you and your business. Here are a few of the things you should consider to enhance your mobile marketing efforts.

Improving Your Mobile Marketing

Ensure That Your Website Is Mobile Ready

Don’t just start a mobile marketing campaign without giving some serious thought to whether or not your website and purchasing procedure is ready for mobile. All your email marketing, your website, your blog pages, and shopping cart have to look just as good on a mobile device as they do on the PC. Plus, everything needs to work seamlessly, or people will not come back.

Find Out Whether or Not Your Audience Is On Mobile

While mobile technology is outselling personal computers today, there are some small niches that have an older population. This demographic is less likely to have, use, or even fully understand mobile technology. Therefore, do the research necessary to find out how much your audience is visiting your online real estate using mobile devices. You can see what browsers your audience is using by looking at your analytics.

Make Buying Simple

Fewer choices, bigger buy buttons, and easier check-out procedures that work with a finger on a small mobile screen will improve the chances that your audience members using mobile devices will complete their purchase. The easier and the cleaner the website design, the better. What’s great is this simple type of design works with larger personal computer browsers too.

Create Multi-Browser Websites

Do not bother with “mobile versions” of your website. Everything should be responsive and work well on any device regardless of device and regardless of browser. Building responsive sites is easy today if you use a good website builder like self-hosted WordPress and choose the right mobile ready themes.

Find a Reputable Advertising Service

Test out the different services to find out what will work best for your needs. There are many different services that conduct mobile advertising. You want to be sure you can track results as well as target the right demographic with your advertisements.

Create a Mobile App

Mobile apps are great ways to keep your audience interested. You can run “in app” ads too with a free mobile app. You can offer two versions, paid and free with ads. A lot of people will use the free one, and you can market to them (with permission) your own products and services when they are using the app.

Track Everything

Most mobile marketing applications and programs will offer you the ability to track a lot of things. Be sure that it has the ability to track the items that you want to be able to track. You should know what you want to track based on the goals of your mobile marketing. For example, if you want to track downloads of your free report, it should be able to do that.

Test, Revise, and Repeat

Like most marketing efforts, it’s imperative that you are willing to test, revise on the fly, and repeat as necessary until you get the results that you expect. You also need to be willing to throw out anything that you’re doing that simply is not working and head back to the drawing board.

Marketing to mobile devices is a skill that everyone who wants to have a business needs to learn. Mobile is becoming more popular by the day. The time is now and if you don’t catch up right now, you’re going to leave a lot of money on the table.

Best Fixes for the Google Mobile Friendly Changes

mobile friendlyGoogle makes changes and adjustments to their algorithm that ranks websites all the time. Many website owners grumble that the changes are designed to either make money for the designers or to drive the owners insane, while both may feel true, Google makes the changes to create the best experience for the users. The goal for Google is to provide the most relevant search results that provide the best quality content for the one doing the searching and in this case to provide more mobile friendly sites.

The newest changes, that began launching on April 21st, are the attempt of Google to provide the same quality results but specific for mobile device users. Mobile devices became the leading way that people search the internet at the beginning of 2014 (a full two years before most experts predicted that shift would occur). The numbers are sure to continue to rise as mobile devices get smaller, more powerful, and easier to use.

Google sent out mass scale notifications to alert webmasters if a site was not considered mobile friendly. You can also use the Google mobile friendly test from the tools to see if your site makes the cut. If it fails, then you have several things that you can do to fix your site and bring it up to the Google mobile friendly standards.

Top Fixes to be Google Mobile Friendly

Upgrade your theme. The skin of your website (the theme) dictates a great deal of what goes on within your website. This includes the mobile friendly quality of your website. Check to see that your theme is the current release. A simple update of your theme could correct any mobile friendly issues.

Change your theme. Some themes will never make the cut. The designers have stopped upgrading and moved on to other projects or created a similar theme that will meet more up and coming needs of the changing internet world (including the Google mobile friendly tests). Be certain that your current website is backed up before you begin making any changes to your theme. Also remember that a name of a theme does not mean it is mobile friendly according to Google standards. You should review the theme before making the move and you still need to run the new website through the Google mobile friendly test.

Add a plugin. You may not be in a financial position to make a big change. You may not want to go through the hassle of a big change at the moment. No matter what your reason, there are plugins and software specifically designed to fix the mobile friendly issues of a website. Again, be sure you back up your website before installing new plug-ins or other software that can affect the function of your website.

Google makes changes to make things better, even if it may not feel like it at the time. These recent adjustments to make websites more mobile friendly have come in the wake of a shift to more mobile device usage. Making the changes necessary to pass the Google mobile friendly test will be good for your website and your visitors in the end. If you need help getting your site mobile friendly contact us and we can help you make your mobile visitor experience one that will make them want to come back.

10 Essential Mobile Website Tips

With the announcement that on April 21, Google’s algorithm will focus more on mobile friendly websites for mobile search, we thought it would be good to take a look at some great tips to make sure your mobile website gets the biggest bang for its buck.

If you don’t have a mobile website then your website will be penalized in mobile search results – which could be a game changer for some businesses. Here are a few choices for creating a mobile website – 2015 Mobile Website Review. We are a huge fan of Duda Mobile, but if yo have a WordPress website, you may only have to make a few tweaks and you will have an awesome, smart-phone-friendly website. Contact us and we can help you with building your mobile website.

Once you have your website built, here are 10 great tips to optimize it.

Mobile Website Tips