Google is going Mobile-First

A Google search is the modern-day equivalent of the Yellow pages. Potential customers research businesses, services and products online and many regularly order products and services directly from the website without ever calling or visiting the business.

Google is the world’s largest search engine and it decides where your website will rank for any search term. When your site ranks well, then it appears on the first pages of search results for the relevant search terms in Google. To rank websites, Google uses complex algorithms to look at elements including the website content, the coding used behind the scenes in writing the website, and who links to the website. Until now, Google has ranked websites based on these factors in the desktop version of the website. This is about to change.

Statistics show that people searching on Google are using smartphones more than any other device. Smart phones and tablets now rule the roost in the online landscape. Desktop PCs which were quite common five years ago are now mainly used in office environments. Go to any electronics store and you will find few if any desktop computers on display.

Google recognised this trend with “Mobilegeddon” which occurred after their algorithm update in April 2015 where Google included mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This update to the Google algorithm meant that your website’s mobile-friendliness affected where your website ranked in search results. Some popular website found their ranking fell, and they were no longer on the first page of relevant searches.

The next revolution in Google ranking is coming in 2018 as Google has announced that there will be an update to their algorithm to make it Mobile-First. This means their search engine results will be based on the mobile version of your website, no longer on the desktop version.

Have you checked your website on iphone and Android smartphones lately? If your website is not mobile friendly then it will rank lower in search results. The exact timing of this update is not yet known but it’s almost upon us. Is your website ready for the 2018 Google Mobile-First update?

You can easily check for yourself here – http://quirktools.com/screenfly/

If you think your website isn’t up to scratch on mobile devices we can help you get ready for the Google update – give us a call.

Choosing a web design agency

You have decided that your business needs a website. It is confusing to sift through the variety of web designers to determine which one is best for you. An incorrect choice can be costly in fees and in lost business potential if it does not hit the target. Here are some areas to explore when choosing the best design company for you.

They are Receptive to Your Ideas
No one knows your business better than you do. You’re an expert in your industry and you know what you’re selling. Over the years you have developed your preferred way to present it to your potential customers. If a web design agency ignores your ideas and input, then you shouldn’t work with them. They need to be able to put your ideas into action, not create their own project.

They Have Ideas of Their Own
Just as you know your business, your web design company knows web development and should share that knowledge with you by providing suggestions and tips on how to add more value to your ideas. If a web design agency does nothing but nod their heads and create a replica of what you say, then you aren’t getting value for money. Your web design agency must be able to bring valuable ideas to the table to assist you in achieving the goals of your website.

They Have a Marketing Expertise
On your initial consultation with a web design agency, they should speak about marketing the website as much as the design itself. If they do not discuss marketing without your prompting, then you should run away and run away FAST. You want more than an attractive website. You need something that actually works. You should only consider a web agency that has designers, developers, and marketers, so you can be confident that the finished product will be more than just an expensive paperweight.

They Create Responsive Design
Responsive design means that your website displays well on all screen sizes from desktops to phone screens. This is important as most people view websites on mobile devices these days. In addition to being practical, this is vital to your search ranking as Google now lowers the ranking of websites in search results if they render poorly on mobile devices. Some agencies may suggest a separate mobile website, however most small to medium sized businesses do not require this added cost and complexity. As mobile and tablet usage continues to soar, make sure your business is optimized for every device. The right designer should automatically discuss responsive design.

Their Team Knows about Conversion
Conversion means getting the person that looks at your website to engage with you and your business eg joining an email list, making a purchase, contacting you. A good web design agency includes a team of developers who know what makes websites convert. This involves proper layout, navigation, calls to action, prompts and much more. Having an “it looks good so they’ll come” philosophy doesn’t work these days. When discussing your website a good web design agency will discuss data metrics and proven methods when creating your site.

They Keep Up with Modern Design Trends
When you launch your new website, the last thing you would want is a design that looks like it belongs back in 2004. Web design is a dynamic and changing field and you need to keep up with the latest technology and modern design. Customers are much more likely to trust a business if their website looks professional. Great design companies incorporate latest technologies in their websites. A web designer needs to be conversant with parallax scrolling, flat design, responsiveness, and numerous of other elements. Of course, that doesn’t mean they should just push the latest fads for the sake of it or bamboozle you with jargon. They should strike a balance between what’s modern and what’s proven. Good web design agencies should provide some examples of their work that you can review.

Their Quote is Not Dirt Cheap
Your website is one of the most crucial business tools for your organisation. This is an area where cutting corners can cost your business a lot of money in the end. When a web design company tells you they can build a custom website for $699 you can be sure that what they actually mean is they’ll drag and drop your logo, some pictures and text into a fifty dollar WordPress theme (or worse still Wix) theme that thousands of other websites use, then invoice you and run away. A bad website will stagnate and sit on page 8 of Google forgotten and relatively unvisited. If you want a website that’s going to be a genuine lead and sales tool for your business, you have to invest in it. A great website will yield a great return on investment.

In summary, if the web design company’s initial discussion about a website is just about the layout and design, then you will miss out on at least half of what web development is about. They should raise discussion of your goals for your website, marketing, conversion, website responsiveness, and follow up.

When you find the right web design agency, your project becomes a whole lot easier.