19 November 2010

Is your website ready for mobile devices?

Is your website content ready for mobile devices?

By the year 2013, forecasts predict that there will be 1.7 billion mobile internet users.
And it’s a pretty safe bet that at least a few of them are visiting your site, and seeing it on a screen that takes up just a few inches.

So what happens when readers feel cramped or have to work hard to navigate your site or read your content?
They leave.

Connection speed can also frustrate readers. A lot of the time, people are trying to access your site on slow cellular data connections. And despite the attempts by providers to increase capacity, it still feels “slow,” since the more they add, the more we consume.
You want both regular and new readers to have a great experience with your site, whether it’s at home on a nice large screen or while they are mobile and seeing it on a tiny device.

Many folks spend a lot of time working on the design of their site for modern browsers, but fail to realize the ever-increasing percentage of site visitors that come by way of mobile devices.

Not only is having a great site design important, you also need to prioritize usability and a quality user experience.
So how can you make sure your site is up to par for all those mobile readers out there?
Well, as luck would have it, there are some fairly easy things you can do to assure a more mobile-friendly site.
Here are some quick improvements you can make, starting today.

Create smart navigation

How’s your site navigation? Creating smart, thorough navigation for your website is a key aspect to making your site mobile friendly.
Make sure you offer readers clear and distinct ways to get to your most important content.
For example, do you see the red tabs along the top of this site? Those are examples of links to cornerstone content. Not only are they great ways to attract traffic, but they are perfect examples of clear navigation.

Write clear content

Now more than ever, you need to grab reader attention instantly.
When your site is being viewed on a much smaller screen, make sure you have compelling headlines that let the reader know she’s going to have a great experience reading this content.
Clear content that gets right to the point also assures readers can digest your material on their mobile devices, even while they’re distracted and busy.

Don’t use too many images

I’ve been guilty of this one. And I’ve also noticed in my analytics that when I include a lot of images in a particular article, I get less traffic reading it on mobile devices.
Lately, I have been limiting my use of images to one or two, and now my articles are getting read more by those with mobile devices.
Images are a great way to get a point across or break up text, but just try to imagine someone reading your content on a really slow connection with a tiny little screen. It might mean you don’t need that 20th image after all.

Don’t rely on Flash or Javascript

All arguments aside about the relevance of Flash, it is generally a safe bet that not all mobile devices will be able serve up either of these technologies.
Even if they do, it tends to be an extra step or two to actually view the content. The best practice is to stick with plain (X)HTML/CSS standards.

Practice good design

In the non-mobile web version of your site, it might be easier to get away with a few design problems that are far more visible and obvious in the mobile version.
Keep in mind the whitespace around paragraphs and words. If your content is so cramped that it makes readers physically uncomfortable, they might not hang out for very long.
Making your content scannable and breaking up long blocks of text is great for all readers, but even more so for mobile readers.
And cluttered, visually busy sites are hard enough to read on a large screen. Don’t ask mobile readers to go there!
So there are several ways you can begin making your website content more mobile friendly. Get started on a few of these and you will be way ahead of the competition.

11 November 2010

Search Engine Optimisation Trends

"What's the hottest trend in search-engine optimization that you've never heard of (yet)?"
It's LDA -  Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA)—a context-based algorithm for determining search relevance. According to SEO research, on-page content may play more of a role in your rankings than previously thought.
That's because the LDA algorithm (which Google will be using ) "looks at the total picture of the content and its context,". A Web page about World of Warcraft, for example, needs to mention "paladins, death knights and fish feasts" to rank well with LDA.
So, how do you act on this knowledge? Here are three ways to optimize on-page content for LDA's critical gaze:
Use the rel=canonical tag on all your original content. As contextual content becomes more important to search engines, the temptation to use someone else's content,  will be much greater. To assign some level of ownership to your content, we advise applying the rel=canonical tag to your site pages.
Stay on topic. Your website content "needs to have lots of original, high-quality, on-topic content using semantically related words … that correlate to the search terms you're going after". You must "do the hard work of creating good stuff in order to leverage this algorithm effectively,"
Stop giving away so much. Don't give away the keys to the kingdom—your fab content—to social-media sites. Though it's fine to share excerpts, draw the line at giving away large chunks of context-rich copy to sites you don't control.
The Point: Time will tell whether LDA is an SEO game-changer. In the meantime, you'll never go wrong creating lots of original, standout content on your site—and protecting it.

05 November 2010

Time to Look at your B2B Sales Procedure

"The Web makes it too easy for your competitor to lure away interested buyers before your people have had a chance to contact them," warns Steven Woods in a post at the Harvard Business Review blog. And that reality, he argues, demands some fundamental changes in the B2B sales process. To support his case, he cites results from a study his firm recently conducted—but first, he asks readers to take a quick quiz:
  1. Which is the better prospect: (a) a potentially ideal customer who's mildly interested in your offerings, or (b) a less-than-perfect fit who expresses a lot of interest?
  2. After a prospect registers on your website for the first time, is it better to (a) spend two weeks crafting a highly customized email to the target, or (b) send a less-customized message within 24 hours?
"Salespeople would typically pick 'a' for both," he states. "They assume that as long as the target is a good fit, a talented and diligent sales team can make the sale." They also "obsess" over the quality of their messages, he adds.
But the study finds that approach to be misplaced:
  • Companies that showed some initial eagerness, even if they didn't appear to be typical buyers, were more likely to buy than "ideal" customers who had expressed mild interest.
  • A highly customized email sent two weeks after a prospect registered online got much less response than a "semi-standardized outreach" sent within a day.
"Both factors mattered, but interest trumped fit in actual sales,"
The bottom line? It's time to free up your sales team to make contact with more of the people the Web sends your way.
The Point: Strike while the interest is hot! "Whatever the disadvantages of a poor fit, they're outweighed by the advantages of buyer receptiveness,"

Scream Media has over 7 years experience marketing on the internet, contact us today on 021 559 0800 for a free analysis of your online marketing needs.