Archive for March, 2014

eManagerSite’s Best Practices For Designing Mobile Websites

March 12th, 2014

For interactive designers and developers, the mobile revolution is here. Mobile browsers have been around since the ’90s, but Apple’s launch of the iPhone in 2007 enlightened us to the true potential of handheld mobile devices and became the catalyst for today’s mobile explosion. With continuous introductions of more powerful and usable touchscreen phones and tablets stimulating the rapid growth in mobile browsing, companies can no longer afford to ignore the mobile experience associated with their brand.

Inevitably, focus is shifting away from developing native apps for individual devices and platforms, to developing mobile sites and web applications that provide excellent user experiences across all devices and mobile browsers.

This shift is happening for many of the same reasons our desktop software applications are moving to the cloud. An application that works well for everyone, everywhere, and on every platform is a beautiful thing for everyone involved. When a cloud-based application is updated, the change is instantaneous for everyone that uses that application. The same applies to mobile websites. There’s no need for a lengthy app approval process, no need to prompt users to download updates and no need to develop for every device and mobile operating system.

Great mobile sites start with function over form

Mobile users tend to look for mobile sites that address a need (entertainment, productivity, and communication are the most popular). Therefore, it is imperative that design serves to facilitate the underlying functional requirements of the site. Confusing user interface or poor performance will irrevocably damage user trust, rendering even the most beautiful designs moot.

Performance is the new sexy

Mobile users have a bewildering number of choices for interactive engagement. Any new mobile site has to compete with 500,000+ iOS apps, 260,000 Android apps, and more than 4 million mobile-optimized websites. Performance is the easiest and best way to stand out. Users have no tolerance for slow performance, but a strong appreciation for mobile sites that get the job done.

Simple is as simple does

Mobile sites must be driven from a simple idea or concept and then execute flawlessly against that concept. So, pick an idea that has real value to potential users and then deliver that value in an easy to understand site. Mobile sites that quickly communicate simple and compelling value to consumers have a much higher success rate than those sites that do not.

Don’t build an app when a site will do

Mobile apps are great because they do things that mobile sites can’t do. But it doesn’t make sense to use them for what a site can do. Mobile apps lock development and design into specific ecosystems, require significant redundant development to cross platforms, add a vast amount of management complexity, and involve powerful outside actors in the process (carriers, handset manufacturers, operating system developers, store administration, and others). Mobile sites avoid all of these things and allow for a much faster path to execution. Have a clear understanding of what mobile sites can and can’t do and plan accordingly.

Engage the design team early and often

Despite the technical challenges of mobile execution, sites still begin and end with designers. Many mobile sites (and apps) clearly have an engineering first approach and they have a very high failure rate. Great technology and development are certainly the foundations of success in mobile but they are not the determinants of success. Design is. Designers should be involved with every stage of development.

Balance design elements to drive performance

While designers need to be involved early, so do developers. Mobile devices are very underpowered compared to traditional computers, so the performance impact of design elements is even more exacerbated on mobile devices. It is important to balance design directions with the realities of what can be executed well on mobile devices.

Define brands in the user interface The user interface should reflect the brand’s identity. Most mobile web traffic is destination drivenand few mobile sites are discovered through browsing. Brand awareness in the design process increases user recognition, leverages existing user loyalty, and results in enhanced user satisfaction. This would include focusing on visual language, consistent text, brand fonts, and incorporating core functions that are also as closely associated with a brand as possible.

Identify and address core users

Mobile is inherently more selective than the general public web and the mobile ecosystem is far more fractured. Further, mobile users will visit the mobile website away from their keyboards and out in the real world. Much of that interaction will be driven by the function or content of the mobile site in question. For example, a shopping tool is much more likely to be used in an actual retail environment than a wine review site would be, which is why it’s vital that mobile sites be specifically developed to address distinct user profiles and use cases.

Optimize design for perceived performance

The sad truth is that no matter how well a site is implemented, the mobile ecosystem remains unreliable. Carriers, locations, and devices can all have a pronounced effect on mobile web performance. Therefore, it is critical to identify those areas of potential performance degradation (such as data fetching and calculations) and then develop design strategies to minimize the user performance impact of a slowdown. For example, operations that require outside data retrieval, like populating a location specific form, can be broken into step-by-step mini flows as opposed to single step execution. That way each flow is easy to accomplish and the interactions provide time for the website to perform its performance task without appearing to slow down. Load screens are another example. By providing load imagery, such as progress bars and the like, the user is given the impression of performance or progress that can operate independently of the actual performance of the site.

Balance design priorities with performance requirements

Mobile sites have to perform well, look great, and deliver significant user value on underpowered computers that use tiny screens with limited bandwidth (you know, smartphones). Pulling this off isn’t easy and it requires that design and development both inform and guide each other. Design that is unappealing will turn off the most technically efficient site, while great design is largely irrelevant when implemented on a rickety development foundation. The success or failure of mobile websites is most often attributed to how well these two disciplines are balanced.

Want to maximize your website with Mobile Readiness?

Contact us today at
TCC Web Interactive

A Division of the
Computer Company, Inc

(860) 635-0500

(800) 418 2358

Is Your Website Mobile Ready?

March 6th, 2014

Mobile Commerce and Engagement Stats

  • 56% of American adults are now smartphone owners.
  • 75 percent of Americans bring their phones to the bathroom.
  • Mobile now accounts for 12 percent of Americans’ media consumption time, triple its share in 2009.
  • 27% of companies worldwide planned to implement location-based marketing in 2013.
  • Of the 70 percent of shoppers who used a mobile phone while in a retail store during the holidays, 62 percent accessed that store’s site or app and only 37 percent of respondents accessed a competitor’s site or app..
  • Retailers’ apps with store mode gather five times more engagement.
  • Last year,only 12% of consumers bought anything through social media.
  • By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people.
  • The number of US mobile coupon users will rise from 12.3 million in 2010 to 53.2 million in 2014, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones.
  • International media and marketing executives see mobile as the most disruptive force in their industry. 65% of U.S. shoppers research products and services on a PC and make a purchase in-store.
  • 48% use or would like to use a smartphone to shop while in-store or on the go.
  • 80% of smartphone owners want more mobile-optimized product information while they’re shopping in stores.
  • Nearly 50% of shoppers believe they are better informed than store associates.
  • iN five years, half of today’s smartphone users will be using mobile wallets as their preferred payments method.
  • Time spent with mobile apps starting to challenge television: consumers are spending 127 minutes per day in mobile apps–up 35 percent from 94 minutes a day in the same time last year–and spend 168 minutes watching television per day.
  • 24% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site over Thanksgiving & Black Friday up from 14.3% in 2011. 
  • Mobile Searches related to restaurants have a conversion rate of 90% with 64% converting within the hour. By 2013,
  • three-quarters of Americans age 43 and under now use a smartphone
  • The smartphone market is now larger than the PC market. Smartphones outsold PCs in Q4 of 2013 101 million to 92 million

Web Interactive addresses a full range of marketing needs, including mobile ready apps, email,  content and social media marketing—creating a winning synergy that delivers  quantifiable results. Want a free no  obligation consultation with our experts

Contact us today at TCC Web Interactive

A Division of the Computer Company, Inc

(860) 635-0500

(800) 418 2358

Web Interactive’s SEO Predictions For 2014

March 5th, 2014

Google certainly kept SEO experts at Web Interactive and our marketers on their toes throughout all of 2013. Think 2014 will bring more of the same? An educated guess would answer yes and no. Algorithms are always being tweaked and refined, so in that sense, you bet there will be new hoops to jump through. But high-quality, fresh content has never gone out of style. In that sense, 2014 will be more of the same.

For those aspects that are not as consistent as fabulous content, it takes a detailed watch of past trends and current search nuances to   see where things might be headed in 2014. Let’s take a gander at predicting what marketers will need to pay attention to this year in the world of SEO.

Content Marketing Continues to Dominate

The heart of your successful 2014 SEO campaigns should most definitely contain extensive content marketing. This trend saw a huge surge in 2013, and the momentum is expected to continue tenfold. Content marketing and SEO are best friends because great content does indeed equal great SEO. Content has a myriad of functions in addition to providing search engines quality results, but for the sake of SEO, nothing could be more critical to your efforts than comprehensive and consistent content marketing campaigns.

It’s All About Semantics

Semantic and entity search are two aspects that Google’s Hummingbird update has highlighted, so it’s reasonable to expect these tactics will be even more important in the coming year.

Semantic search highlights more responsive and in-depth search results. Google is always looking to improve how it responds to user search terms, aiming to better answer the searcher’s quest with every update. When we speak of entity search, we simply mean we are supporting Google’s efforts in creating more accurate results when a user triggers a search query. Entity and semantics search efforts therefore go hand in hand.

How can you partner with Google and ensure your site is semantics compatible? Because semantic search techniques use HTML to emphasize the focus, meaning, and overall content of site pages, you’ll need to review your keyword and meta data strategies to ensure you’re compliant. Most sites originally drafted this content as a means to define the overall theme and structure of the site – this represents a subtle but critical shift, so reviewing your SEO language is integral to continued success.

Long Tail Gains Momentum

Another trend from 2013 that’s likely to see an uptick in popularity is Long Tail Keywords. Long tail keywords are more lengthy 3-5 word phrases that target specific, relevant search phrases used to access targeted content on your site.

Long tails are likely to increase their SEO power for a multitude of reasons. For starters, searches are becoming more and more targeted. People are less likely to search for “shoes” these days, and more likely to get far more specific – such as “red high heel stilettos.” It’s also much easier to rank higher for long tail keywords, as they are far less competitive.

Most notably, however, is the shift towards a focus in entity search. Because entity search is a more exact way for search engines to  discover the actual intent of the searcher, long tail searches will naturally become more relevant. Google and company are attempting to narrow down search results in a far more efficient and detailed manner. They can’t do this with generic keywords. The more specific and focused you become in your SEO efforts, the more likely you are to see stellar results.

Mobile Relevancy Will Continue to Skyrocket

Google’s Hummingbird update back in September of 2013 contained another essential ingredient; mobile content requirements. These days, if your site or content isn’t accessible on a mobile device, the search engines may deem it non-existent. All content you produce this year needs to be cross-device compatible. 33 percent of paid search clicks came from mobile devices in 2013 – this trend is only expected to increase, so your focus on mobile-friendly content should definitely follow suit.

Get Social, and Get on Google+

If you’re publishing content but not linking to it from your Google+ account, you’re missing out on some critical SEO benefits. With the new emphasis on author rank, Google is by-proxy encouraging marketers to get more active on their Google+ profiles and connect their content. If blogs and articles link to the author’s Google+ account, but a link doesn’t appear on their profile page, the author rank is not triggered. Author rank is another excellent element to good SEO, and can help significantly increase your reputation and credibility.

Social signals overall are bound to be even more important to SEO in 2014; as search engines are able to crawl more of these actual social sends, you can bet the algorithms will adjust accordingly. It’s also obvious that Google is not giving up on social network dominance, and they’ll continue to do all they can to make Google+ a relevant and popular social destination. Ignore these efforts and your SEO results may not improve.

Don’t Forget about Links

Many search experts have been sounding the alarm in 2013, announcing that link building for SEO is dead. Don’t believe the hype – Google continues to say differently. Why is link building still an important SEO focus? Because search engines still need context about the content you’re publishing, and its related utilities.

Link building is not just a mundane task of adding links to content, and courting the return. This also involves press releases, or advanced techniques like finding broken links on popular, high-ranking websites and filling the void with relevant content (called “broken link building”). All signs show that this un-sexy but highly necessary process still matters in a big way

Web Interactive addresses a full range of marketing needs, including email,  content and social media marketing—creating a winning synergy that delivers  quantifiable results. Want a free no obligation consultation with our experts

Contact us today at TCC Web Interactive

A Division of the Computer Company, Inc

(860) 635-0500

(800) 418 2358








Article by Tina Courtney-Brown