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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

mobile-friendly-colesmarketingOn April 21, 2015, Google is making changes to its mobile search algorithm, giving mobile-friendly sites higher ranked search results. If you’re not sure what mobile-friendly means, think of it this way … have you ever visited a website on your mobile device and had to “pinch & zoom” to make the content larger so you could read it? Well, that’s NOT mobile-friendly.

Responsive design is very popular right now and makes updating content easier by serving one site for all devices. But your site doesn’t have to be responsive to be mobile-friendly. mobile-friendly-sourwineSome websites redirect mobile devices to a specific app-like view of their website, allowing mobile visitors to see content more suitable for their device. Take sourwine.com for example. Sourwine Real Estate Services offer desktop visitors an interactive “flash-animated” version of their website while providing mobile visitors a quick, “on-the-go” view.

Ready to see if your website passes the test? Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.

If your site fails the test, don’t fear — our Web development team is here to help!

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Unleashing Your Super Powers

dominate2015LG

It’s become almost a cliché in many business circles to write these types of articles at the end of the year, trying to predict what trend lines will hold up after January 1. But there’s a reason for that: December is the time — often the only one we get on an annual basis — when things slow down just enough for us to sit back and contemplate things a bit.

Besides, looking at trends isn’t just an exercise in total chicanery, making up stuff and flinging it against the wall to see what will stick. Basically what we’re doing is looking backward as much as forward, to see if what was predicted for the passing year has held up. If so, that likely means it will continue and expand.

So what’s on the horizon for marketing in 2015? And how can you dominate the competition?

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

 

Focused marketing

One of the biggest changes in the marketing field is the ability to tailor and target messages to specific customers based on the things they’re already interested in. It wasn’t that long ago when seeing customized advertising next to our Web searches seemed amazing (and intrusive, to some people). Now we accept it as a matter of course.

Just recently I was looking up a local electronic retailer’s offerings on my smartphone, and wasn’t surprised when I started to receive emails from them with similar product listings.

Over at the blog visual.ly, Lizetta Staplefoote says micro-targeting is the best way to get to know your customers. The first step is to find out who your audience is and dive deep into “buyer persona development.”

“Touching these customers will require data parsing to create the kind of one-to-one conversations for successful micro targeting,” she writes.

 

Mobile keeps growing

While you’re familiarizing yourself with your customers’ needs and lifestyle, understand smartphones and tablets are increasingly the way many of them engage digitally. Jayson DeMers of Forbes predicts “2015 will be the year that mobile strategies move beyond simply having a responsive site or mobile app, and focus on mobile-optimized content and social media marketing as well.”

In other words, smart businesses should be thinking about ways to optimize their audience’s mobile interactions with them. That means building a fully-responsive website — we do plenty of that here at Coles Marketing — mobile ads geared to their interests, and creating separate content specifically for mobile platform users.

 

Social media: ads & content

Recently an experience working with a client on an ambitious roll-out campaign convinced the Coles team of one thing: reject social media advertising at your own peril. We’d exceeded all expectations for earned media and eyeballs, but the social media component lagged because no advertising dollars had been allocated there.

BuzzBuilder has a Slideshare that says it best: “Paid advertising in social media is becoming a necessity, not a luxury.”

Going hand-in-in hand is the need to create content to engage audiences across a variety of platforms and channels, especially social media. Roger Katz at Clickz.com rightly notes it’s hard to produce quality content in quantity. Once you do, he advises, use it in as many different ways as you can.

“Be smart about how content can be leveraged and re-purposed,” he writes. “One expensively produced piece of content can be distributed in multiple ways to get more use.”

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New website design trends for 2015

Trend meme

The thing I’ve learned about website design is that it’s always changing — not just individual sites, but the ethos behind how they are created and interact with users.

Back in the day, people thought nothing of having a chunked-up page full of text and maybe a few tiny photos. Take a look at the Drudge Report for an example of a proudly paleolithic look of the 1990s, in case you need a reminder.

Here at Coles Marketing we work on a lot of clients’ sites — from just updating their blog to doing total top-to-bottom redesigns. In addition, I’m currently in the midst of a redesign of the movie site I founded, The Film Yap. So the look and feel of websites is very much on my mind these days.

So it’s not surprising that I ran across this article from Elegant Themes, “Web Design Trends To Look Out For In 2015.” It’s got a lot of great ideas and predictions, so make sure to read the whole thing.

Among its insights:

  • Responsive or Go Home — “Responsive design” refers to a website’s ability to resize and reformat itself for mobile devices. “Over the last few years responsive design has solidified itself as the new standard for web design in general and WordPress themes in particular. “
  • Bigger Emphasis on Typography — It’s easy to be dismissive of “font nerds,” but the type of text you use is important. “Type kits are becoming more affordable (or free in the case of Google Fonts) and that means there is more freedom for designers working with a smaller budget to bring their typography skills to the web design table.”
  • Scrolling Over Clicking — This refers to a shift away from having lots of independent subpages. Instead, of clicking to get to each new topic area, the front page has all those elements that people can simply scroll down to see. “(Scrolling) is more intuitive, easier to do, cuts down on load times and allows for more dynamic interaction to take place between the user and the website.”
  • Microinteractions — “What are microinteractions? They are contained experiences or moments within a product (or perhaps a module on a website) that revolve around a single use case. One example of this is the email signup box that pops up on this website. It sort of wiggles back and forth on the screen, giving a playful personality to an otherwise static graphic.  This microinteraction promotes an increase in user engagement.”
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