5 Reasons Why Your Site Needs to Be Mobile Friendly

Earlier this year, Google began to officially roll out its mobile-first index. For businesses, this means that having a mobile responsive web site is no longer a competitive advantage – it’s become a necessity.

Just consider the fact that 60% of all searches are from a mobile device, with certain industries showing numbers as high as 72%. It’s no wonder that the king of search engines has decided to prioritize mobile-friendly website design.

With mobile changing the way users are searching and engaging online –consider that Google says 20% of mobile searches are voice initiated –not investing in the mobile experience is a sure way of lining your competitor’s pockets.

As if that wasn’t enough, here are five points that prove mobile-friendly web design is no longer an option.

The Race Between Desktop and Mobile Users

Today, 51.5% of searches worldwide are initiated from mobile devices. Fewer people are using their desktops and businesses no longer have the luxury of assuming the desktop version of their website is enough to satisfy the majority of their audience. With smartphone technology that’s more accessible and intuitive, this remains true no matter what the demographics.

Just over half. That’s the amount of traffic that might be turning away from an unoptimized website.

Your Audience Is Spending More Time on Mobile

The average person spends hours a day engaging online with their mobile device. Unlike desktops, they’re not limited to sitting in front of a monitor. This means that they’re online anytime the urge strikes them. This might be while lounging around at home, standing in line, or when they’re out and want information about a local business that they’re thinking about visiting.

Considering this, it becomes obvious that a mobile-optimized site gives a business more opportunities to engage. But, all this time that they’re spending on mobile means something else, too.

They’re increasingly impatient.

Mobile users aren’t likely to wait around more than 2-3 seconds for a site to load. Why should they when it’s super easy to back out and go to another site that’s optimized for speed on mobile?

Generational Waves Are Shifting

Businesses of all sizes, in all industries, need to be looking at the generational shifts in the consumer market. This includes businesses that currently cater to baby boomers, who are settling into becoming the upper generation of consumers age wise.

The oldest of Generation X are saying hello to their 50s, while the oldest millennials are hovering around their late 30s. These two generations alone span their early twenties to early fifties, and they make up a massive section of the consumer market. They’re also likely to be using a mobile device to connect with businesses.

It doesn’t stop there. The oldest of Generation Z is graduating from college and entering the workforce. This is a generation who has never known life without technology. To them, it’s fundamental. A mobile-friendly design is essential to stay competitive now and remain a competitor into the future.

Mobile Optimization is Key to Local Traffic

Local search is important for any business, but especially small businesses and those just starting out. Unfortunately, many small and new businesses are slow to jump on the responsive web design train.

One of the reasons that mobile optimization is so vital for local traffic is that Google has replaced the Yellow Pages of the old days. When someone is looking for a local business, they grab their smartphone. What comes up in their search has a significant effect on who they’ll consider doing business with.

Say, for example, you’re a local restaurant. A group of friends are out and want to go somewhere to eat, but they can’t decide where. They pull out their phones and do a search. You come up as one of 3 restaurants in a 1-mile radius.

Because you’re new to them, they want to check out your menu first, so they navigate to your website. But, not only is your site slow to load, your menu is next to impossible to read on smaller screen sizes. They lose interest quickly, back out and check out the other place down the road.

It’s too bad that your site wasn’t responsive because 50% of users who look up a local business from their mobile phones will visit that business the same day.

It’s a Ranking Factor for Google

Let’s get straight to the point here. What search engines, especially Google, have to say about mobile optimization matters. If you want to show up in search results, it’s crucial to pay attention to the metrics used to rank businesses in search engine result pages.

Today, Google says that responsive web design matters and they solidified the point with their mobile-first index.

It used to be that Google looked at standard, non-mobile sites first for indexing purposes. Now, with the impact that mobile responsiveness has on user experience, they’ve adapted by prioritizing mobile-optimized sites first when indexing.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t get ranked at all if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site. What it does mean is that the chances of landing on the ever-coveted page one of Google are slim to none if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices.

The effects of this can be far reaching. For example, a business that isn’t optimized for the mobile first index is likely to see a significant drop in traffic in just a few months. This can have a substantial impact on revenue, and the long-term success of your business. For small businesses that rely on local traffic, this is even truer.

Now Is the Time to Make a Difference

Even if your site isn’t mobile friendly today, it doesn’t mean that the future is out of your grasp. Now is the time to connect with a responsive web design company that can show you how simple changes in design produce major results. We have the knowledge and experience to create a mobile-friendly site that gets your business noticed by search engines and customers. Connect with us at Direction, Inc. to learn more.

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8 Must-Haves for Your New Website in 2018

So, you know you need a website. You’ve researched and found that every company claims to be the best in web design and web development.

You go with your gut feeling on which company you feel will deliver the best results.

Hopefully, you steer clear of the cheapest company. 

Your website is almost always someone’s first impression of your business. Don’t self-sabotage yourself over a few thousand dollars.

Other than checking out some of the projects your new web design company has worked on, and reading past customer reviews – ensure that you’re very clear on what you want on your new site.

Use the eight points below to relay to your new web agency precisely what you should expect to receive.

1. A Unique Design

The very first thing that attracts a person to your website is how it looks, and how it makes the user feel. Your site should be eye-catching and deliver a clear message. It should also have photos, graphics and informative content that makes a visitor want to explore more. Overall, visitors should feel welcomed and cared for when they land on any page of your website.

Also, make sure you get a custom design and not some out-of-the-box theme that 100 other people have. Check out the site below, one of my favorites.

great website design

2. Performance & Usability

Besides having an impressive look and feel, your site should also be fast and easy to use.
Always judge the website speed with Google’s Website Testing Tool and GT Metric’s tester. Let your new web company know you’ll be testing your site with these tools once you receive it also. If your website scores high in Googles test, and loads in under 2 seconds in GT Metrics’s test – congrats!

These are results of our speed optimization work on a client site of ours.

Any person who visits your website should be able to navigate around to the other pages of your site with ease. There should be precise navigation, menus, call to actions and links that guide the website visitor to take the steps you desire. Remember, the bottom line to having a website is to increase your bottom line.

3. Copywriting

Your website should pre-sell your customers instead of just selling to them. In other words, your website should provide the relevant information that teaches, educates, informs and gives people confidence in their decisions with your company.

But you don’t want paragraphs all over the place, that’s for your blog. If your new web company can’t write great sales copy for your new site – it may be time to look for one who can provide full website services.

Give your customers confidence in you and your business. Ensure you have trust icons, customer reviews, awards, and partnerships displayed on your homepage. Also, be open to conversion – request a chat feature on your site!

Your new site should romance visitors into wanting to buy from you by creating trust, authority, and respect. This way, these people will become your buyers, repeat customers, and best advertisements for your business.

Talk about great copywriting.

4. Be Useful, Produce Great Content

In line with copywriting, your website should have excellent content. All the articles on your site should be engaging, accessible to read, free from jargon (and if any, it should be explained), informative and educative. The content should describe your products or services in a way that shows the website visitor the benefits of your products or services.

It should enlighten the website visitor on why they need your products or services. Simply put, your website content is what helps your potential customers gain trust in your brand. You should also combine articles with videos, photos, and infographics.

5. Get Found: Search Engine Optimization

Your new site needs to get found. Your site needs SEO. I shouldn’t even go into this – it’s dead simple. Don’t dump money into a new website and then do absolutely nothing to get it seen.
Always work with a web company who is primarily an SEO agency.
Why? Well, not doing so is like going to an auto shop to get new tires – and they just give you the new tires and tell you they don’t actually know how to install them, you’ll have to go somewhere else for that.

Now you’re stranded at the “tire shop” with new tires and no way to put them on. You call around, and the other tire shops tell you that your new tires you just spent all this money on, aren’t even safe – they recommend you just get new tires completely. I’m sure you can imagine the rest so I’ll just get on to some of the basics things you should ensure of in your new sites SEO.

The website should have on-page optimization. Title tags, Meta Descriptions, Alt text, keyword density checks, content (You don’t want to get slapped by Google with a thin content penalty), and the list goes on.

Schema.org is something you should have. Scratch that, you need it. It helps search engines understand your site and what you do. This, in turn, helps organic rankings. It also allows your site to have cool features in search results.

search spike in traffic

6. More Than Just a Responsive Design

Your site should be mobile-friendly. You’re probably thinking “Duh, everyone knows that.”
An actual web design & development company will be up-to-date with the latest tools and technology.

What’s the newest mobile technology for your site? AMP. Otherwise known as AMP Project, Accelerated Mobile Pages or, according to Google, the future of the web. Pretty big statement there.

Here’s a quick rundown: About 5-6 years ago, Amazon released a study saying that a 1 second lag in load time could cost them $1.6 billion in sales.

The internet was scrambling to speed sites up. Facebook came out with Instant Articles, Google & Twitter came together and released AMP Project.

The idea is simple: create a way to deliver users what they’re looking for in the absolute shortest amount of time possible.

Get AMP pages.

7. Social Media

How does someone who’s never heard of you decide if they want to do business with you?
You guessed it: They try to find out if you’re a trustworthy company. Maybe they’ll check reviews people wrote on different sites online. Perhaps they’ll ask their friends.

One thing they will do is check your social profiles. Hopefully, you’ve been actively growing your social media or paying someone to do so.

Say a company has 21 Facebook likes, and their Facebook page has no pictures except for their logo – I don’t care what the Google or Yelp reviews say, I’m not giving that company my credit card info.

Speaking of which, let’s move onto the last topic, which happens to be a critically important topic.

8. Security

Whether or not you sell items on your website – if you take any information whatsoever, you should have SSL.

Also, make sure you’re on a dedicated server. Don’t go looking for the cheapest hosting package (usually it’s called “shared hosting.”) This is something your web company should be able to help you with.

Remember how I hit on the importance of your website speed in #2 and #6? Well, I’ll mention it again.

On dedicated hosting, there’s a 99.9% chance your website will load faster than it would on shared hosting. I use Amazon Web Servers (AWS), but there are plenty of others out there to choose from.

There are more benefits than just speed though. Shared hosting presents a plethora of other risks such as you could be on the same i.p. as porn sites or spam sites. Unfortunately, many people have experienced drops in rankings and ultimately drops in business because of this.
Just as you wouldn’t purposefully build your new business on some street corner that you’ve heard “May or may not be swarming with crime,” you shouldn’t put your website on shared hosting.

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6 Essential Qualities of Great Web Design

When putting together a website for a small business, people often difficult find it difficult to justify hiring a web designer. Since budgets for start-ups are generally on the lower end, most owners don’t want to spend the money on design.

However, that’s a huge mistake. If web design isn’t a priority, you won’t compete effectively on the grand scale. We’ve entered the digital age; it’s time to embrace it!

Unless you’re going to put in the time to learn the ins and outs of creating a beautiful interface to enhance the user experience, you’re likely to hurt your website in the long-run. If the site is confusing, buggy, and inconsistent, you’ll harm your reputation and dissuade users from making a purchase.

Direction, Inc. provides quality business web design in Fort Lauderdale and beyond! Today, we’re offering you a free guide to the essential elements of strong web design and why it matters for your company.

Here are the top 6 aspects you should look for developing powerful web design:

1 – Easy-to-Follow Navigation

One of the most important aspects of effective web design is a site that is easy and intuitive to follow. Whether or not your site is easy to navigate can make or break your design, especially with larger, more complex websites.

When a site is difficult to use, users are more likely to leave your site to go to another that is more simple and straightforward. In addition to users frustration, a poor design also makes it less likely for Google to crawl your site.

In response to search queries, Google recommends websites that are fast and easy to use. You need quality content, but if no one can find it, it’s useless. Thus, Google penalizes web pages with poor navigation practices are pushes them lower in results. Thus, having a website with poor hierarchy will likely result in fewer visitors to your site.

So, what does good navigation look like for you? It may depend on the purpose and scope of your company website, but you should include a consistent and logical header menu on all pages. This menu should provide the key structure for your whole site. For example, you might have standard menu categories like:

  • Home
  • Services
  • Locations
  • About
  • Employment
  • Blog

You can include subcategories that break these down or a specific sidebar navigation menu for specific types of pages. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s consistent and points visitors directly to relevant pages. Make the menu visible and inviting!

2 – Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is super important. If you want to become a brand that everyone recognizes, you have to be consistent with your design across your entire web presence.

If you have a certain color scheme or logo across your social media profiles, that design has to transfer over to your website to keep people familiar with your brand. When companies don’t have a unified branding presence, it confuses customers and turns them off of the brand.

All your web pages should also have a consistent voice and style of copy. If you change your official slogan or contact information, make sure to go back and update all previous pages you’ve created.

3 – Content Readability

Have you ever been on a website or blog that is hard to read? The issue likely goes much deeper than just having poor content.

Although having good content is the most important step, a sound designer also knows what fonts viewers will easy read on most devices, how much space should be in between words and sentences, and where to place and format pictures. The overall text, color, and animation patterns should flow together to create a pleasant user experience.

Valuable information should be readable, but good design and a simple layout also help with the site’s SEO.

4 – Professionalism

Building trust with your readers and customers is one of the most important things that you can from the onset of your web presence. You must present yourself professionally as the authority in your niche. Having a quality design shows your website as a legitimate representation of your physical company.

Think about the last time you landed on a website that looked like the company hadn’t updated in the past 10 years.

Did you buy anything from them or return to the site?

The likely answer is that no, you didn’t purchase anything or return. It’s difficult to trust a company that hasn’t updated their design or put much effort into the appearance of their site. You probably wouldn’t enter a rundown office with sloppily dressed employees. This communicates that they either don’t care enough about their business to remodel it or aren’t qualified for their jobs. You shouldn’t expect anything less from a website!

Professionalism means you act like a professional in every respect! Thus, treat your business website as your virtual office space. Keep content clean and appealing in the same way you would your physical company!

5 – Responsive Design / Mobile Compatibility

For good reason, quality web designers understand the importance of a responsive web layout.

Think about how much time you spend surfing the internet, either on your cell phone or a tablet. If you’re like most people in the United States, you’re constantly surfing the web for work, listening to music, reading the news, or gaming.

Thus, it’s more important than ever to ensure website are functional for mobile devices! We are a society that demands on-the-go information through smartphones and tablets. If you don’t develop a design with content compatible with these devices, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

In addition to the design and usability aspects, having poor mobile design is also harms for your search engine ranking. The search engines want websites that have been optimized for mobile so that they can recommend sites to all different types of users, not just desktop users.

6 – Page Load Time

There’s nothing more frustrating on the internet than a page that loads slow. When a page loads slow, most people click off of the page immediately.

Obviously, that’s bad for business.

A talented web designer understands the importance of page speed and knows how to optimize the speed in setting up pages.

Whether it’s compressing images, avoiding clunky JavaScript, or knowing the correct plugins to use, an experienced designer knows how to ensure that your page speed doesn’t turn away visitors.

Direction INC: The Custom Web Designers for You

Although many people might learn enough to get started, they just don’t have the time to continuously learn the intricacies of web design to help their site grow long-term. That’s where we come in to help!

We know the ins and outs of the trade to skyrocket your company’s web presence to absolutely dominate the competition! With years of experience and an in-house team of professionals, we work hard to give you the leading edge in your field.

Call us today for a free quote!

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