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What’s Your Response to Responsive Web Design?

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With many more Internet users shifting to their handheld devices for content consumption, it seems obvious that your website must provide information the way your viewers like it: fresh, piping hot and bite-sized, with a full-course meal available upon request.

 

Alan Schoff

Alan Schoff

Responsive Web design (RWD in tech letters) is a popular solution to delivering that promise across the wide variety of digital media devices — desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets and smart phones.

 

RWD is even the recommended path for website updates by business magazine Forbes and digital media news aggregator Mashable. And this makes sense for these media companies. It may also make pure business sense, seeing as how mobile devices will surpass personal computer sales this year and beyond.

 

RWD is a wonderful way to present your website with fluid, proportion-based grids and flexible images that adjust to fit the device using them. It can be a one-size-fits-all design solution that is cost effective because it only requires one site design to be built and managed. And it offers the search-savvy benefit of multi-device optimization from a single URL.

 

But there are a few reasons why a separate mobile website may complement your responsive site.

 

One reason is that RWD sites are mobile-adapted, not mobile-optimized. You might consider whether a RWD is a good solution with this architecture flowchart.

 

Another reason to build a separate mobile website is if your website is heavy with information, video and graphics. Those elements affect load times, which can have a negative impact on both user experience and SEO.

 

So when and how do you make a choice of having separate mobile and RDW websites? Here are a few good thoughts from a Search Engine Land blog post by Bryson Meunier, abbreviated here for easy consumption, with my own peanut gallery comments.

 

  1. When desktop website does not contain categories mobile searchers are looking for. Is this the most obvious reason? If I want to deposit a check into my bank account, my bank’s website will not be useful. Only my bank’s mobile site will do this.
  2. When desktop website does not contain keywords mobile searchers are using. I only want quick access to my airline’s flight information once I’m at the airport. The website has way too many options to navigate to get to the information. The mobile site has it right up front.
  3. When responsive layout increases load time significantly. Responsive Web design is about the mobile device, really. I don’t want to download a ton of data from photos and graphics and videos just to get to the phone number. Please!
  4. When the target audience primarily uses feature phones. If your market or audience is south of the U.S. border, east of Germany or most anywhere in Africa, RWD is irrelevant until the mobile networks and their customers advance from feature phones to smart phones. Someday, maybe, but not today.
  5. When it prevents innovation that improves user experience. Oh, that’s right. It’s about the people who use the devices, not the developers who create the sites. Your customers may just have different needs when they are on mobile devices than when on desktop computers.

 

While it may be time to redesign your website with the latest responsive Web design practices, be sure to approach it from your users’ perspective. Coles Marketing is here to help make your website feature the best practice of all — being responsive to your customers.

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Categories: 2013 August Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Media Leads the Chatter

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When the first social media platforms started to get traction around a decade ago, they were dismissed as places for people to catch up on family news, gossip or troll for a date. Over time the mainstream media began to take them more seriously — but mainly as a new way to reach audiences, or as an echo chamber for what they had already reported through broadcasting or ink.

 

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

But it’s becoming more and more clear that digital platforms are no longer the background to the way we communicate, but are actually driving our attention.

 

For instance, millions of people have been transfixed as NPR broadcaster Scott Simon tweeted out a long string of personal messages about the slow descent and death of his mother. He stayed by her bed for days and weeks, relating details about her medical challenges and commemorating her life and wit. It was a rare opportunity for a “straight newsman” to step into the foreground of his own family’s story.

 

Arguably, more people were paying attention to Simon during his leave of absence than they would have if he were back at his desk reading the day’s news.

 

If Simon had tried this in the nascent days of Twitter, his actions likely would’ve been dismissed as maudlin or unserious. Instead, he’s being celebrated for turning his journalistic skills on his personal life. (Not to mention, he’s seen his Twitter following swell to 1.25 million.)

 

On the flip side we have former Congressman-turned-New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, whose social media interactions have been diametrically opposed to Simon’s. The unfortunately-named Weiner has become more famous for sending pictures of his anatomy than anything he ever did in the political arena.

 

And in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the sometimes unsavory contents of Trayvon Martin’s social media interactions became fodder for the public debate over the controversial court case.

 

Bill and Hillary Clinton — U.S. presidents past and future? — caused huge splashes when the political pair both debuted on Twitter in recent months. Neither had been seen as particularly social media savvy, but their high profiles led them to quickly snap up a huge number of followers — currently about 939,000 for him to 656,000 for her — while generating tens of thousands of posts across social media.

 

The power outage during the last Super Bowl caused a lot of hand-wringing for fans but also opportunities for smart advertisers. Sales Force Marketing Cloud has a rundown of which brands scored best — including Oreo, which advised its followers that they can still “Dunk in the dark.” Jason Boies has this advice for companies on how to succeed on social media:

 

  1. Be funny – Audiences relate to brands that display quirkiness and personality.
  2. Be ready to pounce – Major events, whether planned or spontaneous, are prime opportunities to draw eyeballs.
  3. Get the Bigwigs involved – Celebrities generate excitement, but just having your CEO on social media platforms gives people a go-to place for information.

 

Need help with your social media strategy? The team here at Coles Marketing Communications has the expertise to help drive attention to your brand!

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Categories: 2013 August Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Time to Blog Already!

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Excuses, excuses. “I don’t have any good ideas.” “It takes up too much time.” “It serves no purpose.” These are all possible excuses why your organization hasn’t started writing a blog.

 

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

But I certainly was not surprised to read this article by Alex Taub about the number one reason why people don’t blog: they are afraid their writing isn’t any good. Taub says people are worried others will be critical of their writing.

 

In his article, Derek Halpern says that according to one source, there are more than 164 million blogs, and the majority of those blogs are, for lack of a better word, failures. Often, they fail because people start their blog with good intentions but end up wasting their time, doing the wrong things and quitting.

 

Some blogging time wasters include:

  • Creating too much content
  • Promoting content the wrong way
  • Creating a “me too” blog

 

So, if you’re not confident in your writing skills, and you don’t want to waste your time, what can you do to create a great blog? Good writing does matter, as Mark Schaefer says in his article. But he also has some tips on how anyone can start to create quality content for their organization.

 

  1. Read it out loud. Literally read your blog posts aloud before publishing. Make sure everything rolls off the tongue in a natural and conversational way.
  2. Cut, cut, cut. Many posts are far too wordy. Eliminate every word and sentence that does not move the story along. If your post is more than 1,000 words … danger ahead!
  3. Write upside down. Start with the conclusion, and then explain it. Too many posts do not get to the guts of the issue until you are one-third down the page.
  4. The beginning matters. Spend time creating an accurate, interesting headline. Also, create an opening sentence that grabs people and makes them want to read what you have to say.
  5. Get another view. Do you have a colleague who can write? Why not run posts by them to help you improve?
  6. Don’t just write; rewrite. Let your blog post sit a few days. But you can’t let it sit there until it is ‘perfect’ because that will never happen. The most important trait of a successful blogger is having the courage to push the publish button.
  7. Get help. If you don’t enjoy writing, you probably won’t enjoy blogging. But there may certainly still be a desire and a legitimate business reason to blog. So, help a colleague help you. Provide a purpose statement for a blog post and some major bullet points, and ask a writing-friendly colleague to work his or her magic.
  8. Start. Starting is the hard part, but to become a competent blogger, there is no choice. Almost anyone can be a successful blogger with the right framework, dedication and attitude.

 

Start a blog for your company today! And if you’re looking for a wordsmith or two to help along the way, the Coles team would love to be your go-to content connoisseurs. Just let us know!

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