I read a good tweet today by a respected industry source regarding the changing landscape of optimization, relaying the sentiment that optimization involves search, share, and user experience. I agree; “optimization” is a dynamic process these days, causing a brand to attend to many online aspects. Brands, hoping to make the most of Web opportunities, arrange Web sites, social accounts, and other brand-related platforms to facilitate the intrigue of target markets. With the insurgence and popularity of smart phones, mobile phone optimization is just another piece of the whole, optimization pie.
Yesterday, I read an article related to mobile phone commerce. Most of us have heard of the phenomenon of “drunk dialing” but “drunk browsing” may be a neologistic term for some. This gives “impulse buying” a whole new meaning. Have you ever been in line, waiting to pay for items, looking around attempting to maintain patience, when suddenly something catches your eye? You grab it, using the idle time to impulsively convince yourself you need the item… Marketers and respective brand owners bank on such impulsive actions.
What if you were waiting for a friend to meet you at the bar, and you started surfing the Web to pass time? In my previous example, vendors were limited to in-store space and time, but in today’s world of mobile-phone shopping, vendors can tempt you with a World Wide Web of tantalizers. Seemingly, some inebriated consumers, just can’t say, “No!”
The ingredients of alcohol and shopping have produced tasty results in the past for vendors who hope serving libations will inspire consumers to let their hair down and open their wallets. As the New York Times article references, high-end, specialty retailers have paired wine-and-cheese parties with gallery-shopping excursions for years. Now, the pairing of alcohol and shopping can take effect anywhere, even in a consumer’s own home. One professional made a confession, finding a night turned to early morning mobile shopping excursion bought him a $10,000 motorcycle tour of New Zealand!
I’m not advising your brand to offer a free bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label to all customers or condone the act of “drunk browsing,” however, I’m reminding business owners that consumers, in all states of mind, are leveraging smart phones to find products they want (or think they want at the time).
Does your brand have a mobile version of its Web site? I hope so. Additionally, is your Web designer making implementations, facilitating optimization? Remember, as referenced in the intro, “user experience” is also a portion of optimization, meaning it’s likely you’ll have to design the mobile site differently, ensuring users can easily access and browse.
Expect a mobile site article produced by the WebiMax brand soon, either from our main SEO blog or from one of our search engine optimization blog posts from external, industry sources. For now, consider some mobile-site, Web design tips:
- Make links bigger on your site. It’s hard to leverage finger tips and mobile-phone scrolling arrows. Any mobile user, who has gotten frustrated by erroneously clicking unintended links, would celebrate the decision.
- Make the mobile site minimalistic. What pages of your Web site are absolutely essential? Just give mobile browsers the facts, providing information on goods and services. Ancillary pages, such as an extensive “about us” or “in the press” sections are better left for your main Web site.
- Try to limit the need for scrolling. For instance, it’s cumbersome to scroll down and then to the right to read text. Consider a one-way, scrolling design.
- Make sure you’re making it easy for users to “share” your mobile info! Insert “tweet,” “like,” and other social sharing buttons. Many consumers also use mobile phones for social site usage!
Target, Inc. (the retailer recognized as Wal-Mart’s biggest competition) missed a huge opportunity this past Tuesday when their website crashed due to significant demand and traffic. Italian designers Margherita Missoni and Angela Missoni designed an affordable line of clothing that was to be sold exclusively at Target and available online for purchase. This brought outrageous website traffic to Target.com, causing the site to crash from early in the morning until 11:00pm Tuesday evening. Poor website structure and the inability to handle large amount of traffic is the culprit.
“The excitement for this limited-time designer collection is unprecedented”, stated Morgan O’Murray of Target. This “unprecedented” website traffic brought the whole house down and for those 12+ hours as purchasing thru their ecommerce operations stopped. The missed opportunities within those 12 hours, no one will really know, but it doesn’t bode well for their reputation. Not having a well-designed website that can handle high traffic is a classic example of poor web design.
WebiMax CEO Ken Wisnefski, who leads the company as the #1 rated Web Design firm in the U.S. states “this example shows us how vital it is to have a well-designed and structured website, especially for those that experience high traffic daily”. Wisnefski also states that “improper site infrastructure can caused these sorts of crashes on a regular basis”.
High quality web design SEO companies, like WebiMax, assist clients in building a strong and optimized website. Strong optimization built within the beginning framework of the website holds tremendous value and helps our clients surpass their online goals.
We understand the challenges and know the proper way to efficiently develop the necessary framework that will build upon itself, and result in a highly ranked and highly visible website. Furthermore, we understand that having a website means that your business is open 24/7/365. With your organizations appearance at stake, we aim to only deliver the highest quality of all design firms globally.
There are thousands of Web Design firms out there, and there are thousands of SEO firms. There are not many SEO firms that also perform Website development. WebiMax is one of those few companies. Versus spending costly amounts of money and resources on 2 different firms, the most value is to contract with a Web Design SEO Company. Not only is it cheaper, (economies of scale), the work quality perfectly integrates into one successfully operating, highly valued website.
The WebiMax Difference
There are tremendous benefits to contracting with a Web Design SEO company, including better search engine rankings, enhanced visibility, and a fully integrated SEO framework built into the initial design of the webpage.
Websites that are not designed properly can be very confusing for customers and sends a poor image on behalf of your company. After all, with your website acting as a storefront that is always open, it is vital to maintaining the best, professional image of your company at all times. Also, if not designed properly in the beginning, the redesign cost can usually be far greater, since most of the work involves figuring out where the site went wrong and how to fix it.
WebiMax’s team of highly qualified designers and developers help our clients create an appealing and welcoming online website. Our team includes website design / re-design, landing page design, content management system (CMS) website design e-commerce, website design, custom blog skin design, website usability assessments, and much more.
In Web design, we often use metaphors from the construction industry to describe the process of developing a website. This is no surprise as the keys to success are very similar whether building a physical storefront (brick & mortar), or an online storefront (click & mortar).
We’ve even adopted some of the same titles and roles. So while it is definitely beneficial to hire highly skilled designers, developers, architects, engineers, and project managers to oversee your construction project, the same adage holds true in both the physical and virtual realms…
“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail! “
Planning is an absolutely critical component to launching a successful web presence. In the words of the world famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright,
“You can use an eraser on the drafting table
or a sledge hammer on the construction site.”
This couldn’t be truer in the web design field. Building a website without planning makes about as much sense as building a house without a door. You’re going to need to redesign it if you want people to visit.
So before you put on your website-building hard hats and break digital ground put down the blueprint and website design checklist for a moment and consider these questions…
Findability: Can users find it?
Just like your invited house guests, you want your online visitors to be able to easily find your “home on the web”. As I’ve posted previously… “Hard to find = Does not exist”. Focus ruthlessly on Search Engine Optimization!
Usability: Does my site provide users what they want? Does it create any obstacles?
Usability is important both on the web and in everyday life as well. In “The Design of Everyday Things“, user experience guru Donald Norman lists several usability problems caused by lack of planning and bad design. Some of his examples are:
- Doors that open the wrong way
- Faucets that turn the wrong way
- Washing machines with spaceship control panels
My personal pet peeve is the doors, hands down. Have you seen this before? The door handle “design” gives the clue that the door is supposed to be pulled open. However, this convention is not always followed, resulting in people thinking they can’t figure out how to open a door.
In this picture, someone has even placed NEON stickers to show that the action that opens the door is opposite of what the door handle suggests. So, next time you face plant on some random glass door take comfort in the fact that 1) you’re not alone, and 2) it’s not your fault, it’s just bad usability.
So, if we’ve learned anything from this example, other than to proceed with caution, it is to follow standard conventions. Make it very obvious what is clickable on your site. If your users can’t find what they are looking for, they will quickly bounce off your site… even faster than the time it takes your face to turn red after running into a door.
We’ve all heard that content is the most important part of a website. It has even been crowned “King”. We also know that if a website is difficult to find, it basically does not exist.
Hard To Find = Does Not Exist.
This is why Search Engine Optimization is so critical to your online marketing.
While Humans ultimately buy the products and services offered on the web, those products and services would rarely be found or purchased if the robots didn’t find and index them first. So, do we design websites for the humans or the robots?
Option 1 – Design for Humans:
It’s been proven through various forms of web usability testing and research that web users generally don’t read our pages… they scan them. In “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability”, author Steve Krug sums it up nicely:
When we’re creating sites, we act as though people are going to pore over each page, reading our finely crafted text, figuring out how we’ve organized things, and weighing their options before deciding which links to click.
What they actually do most of the time (if we’re lucky) is glance at each page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. There are usually large parts of the page that they don’t even look at.
We’re thinking “great literature” (or at least “product brochure”), while the user’s reality is much closer to “billboard going by at 60 miles an hour.”
There are a number of proven methods to entice humans to engage with our message. The three main guidelines for writing for the web include the following:
- Be Succinct. Write no more than 50% of the amount of text used in print publications.
- Write for Scannability. Don’t require users to read through dense copy, which on the web sounds like Charlie Brown’s school teacher… “Whah, whah, whah, whah, whah, whah”. Instead, write short paragraphs, subheadings, and bulleted lists.
- Hire Professionals! Good content requires a dedicated staff that knows how to write for the web and how to massage your content into your website design layout for optimal read… I mean… scannability.
Option 2 – Design for Robots:
In order to successfully get content in front of card-carrying humans (a.k.a. potential customers), websites need to be structured so they are easily indexed by search engine robots (a.k.a. crawlers, spiders). Search Engine Optimization depends largely on keywords and key phrases, so writing keyword-rich copy is absolutely critical to increasing search engine rankings.
There are a number of proven methods to optimize web content for search engines. The three main guidelines include the following:
- Generate Keyword-Rich Copy. Content needs to works well at delivering your message to your Human visitors, while making your targeted keywords and key phrases easily indexed by Robots. Use your keyword phrases in headlines, title tags, in the first paragraph, the top of the HTML document, and in alternative text on images. But be careful not to overdo it – as you don’t want to appear to be keyword stuffing.
- Develop Accessible Markup. Accessibility is not just for the visually impaired. The more accessible your HTML pages are, the easier it is for search engines to read and rank them.
- Create a Detailed Site Map. Submitting a Sitemap XML file to the search engines helps them understand how to crawl and index all of the pages, including the frequency that the content changes.
While writing for robots is essential to SEO, don’t stress mechanical search engine optimization so much that user’s needs are forgotten. We must provide content on our websites in a format that supports the way both Humans & Robots use the web. We must write for human visitors first, and then optimize our code and content to help search engine robots find and index our pages.