Is Mobile The Future?

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http://messapps.com/Is your website ready for mobile users? Does your business have an app? Do you even know? If the answer to these questions is either a ‘no’ or a ‘don’t know’ then you are undoubtedly losing business. You may ask how we know this, or already have preconceived ideas as to the (un)importance of a mobile ready website or mobile app. However we have some shocking stats for the business owner who hasn’t caught onto the mobile trend and here we explain why mobile apps and websites, and importantly mobile marketing, aren’t just the future, but the essential here and now that must be capitalised upon.

The Nonstop Shift Towards Mobile 

Google has recently reported that 67% of users are more likely to purchase from a website if it’s optimised for mobiles. What’s more 50% of people said that even if they knew and liked the business, that they’d be less likely to purchase from them if the website wasn’t designed for mobile browsing (Google 2012).

What This Means For Business Owners

If you think that these figures may not apply to you as a small to medium, locally based company then consider this: 50% of local searches are undertaken on mobiles (Microsoft, 2011) and by 2016 it is thought that mobile searches will surpass PC searches for such searches (Reach Local).

4 Tips To Make The Most Of The Mobile Opportunity

1. Ensure that your website is responsive

The number one point that you must follow is ensuring that your website is completely adaptive to mobile screens. This means that images and text will adapt to fit the screen (rather than appearing too small to view or read) and elements such as your phone number will be callable directly from the user’s phone. A professional web design agency can help assess where your website is at right now and advise you on the costs involved in a redesign.

2. Make sure your SEO is capitalising on spoken searches

With more and more people moving to local searches through their mobile, Google has made some pretty important changes in relation to a website’s ‘worthiness’. This means that, as well as understanding ‘traditional’ SEO, the content on your website must be optimised for users who are using the Google ‘Voice Search’, which consequentially means that you can capitalise on the differences between such searches and the traditional forms of searching.

For example, whilst PC users may type: “Local Plumber”

Mobile users may search Google by saying: “Find me a Local Plumber”

3. Factor mobile users into your PPC campaign

If you use Pay per Click advertising then don’t forget about mobile users in your strategy. This can see you driving mobile users directly to certain pages and don’t forget that you can modify your adverts to factor in device, time, and even geography.

4. Promote your mobile ready website through QR codes

Once you have a shiny new website that looks great on mobile devices it’s now time to market it. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is to feature a QR code (a Smartphone scannable bar code that leads directly to your website) on all of your marketing materials.

Most industry experts agree that mobile represents a huge opportunity, and not just for big businesses. So make sure you’re looking to the future and see how mobile can help you stay ahead of the competition.

More Than Just Mobile Friendly

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more-than-mobile-freindlyIt seems every discussion about changes to the internet at the moment contains the phrase mobile-friendly, particularly with the upcoming change to how Google rates sites when searched on a smartphone. But one company that specialises in SEO services for London companies thinks that concentrating on just making a website mobile friendly may mean missing out on the other potential opportunities that come from mobile optimisation, and shares some of the info they’ve been posting on their Google+ page over the last few weeks.

Rankings & Ratings

Before this new update starts, when someone searches for something on a mobile phone, they receive pretty much the same results as they would when they searched from a laptop or a PC based on ratings from the search engine’s algorithms – so you could achieve good search engine rankings across all devices.

But when the changes come in play, websites will be rated as being mobile friendly or not and those that are will be above those that aren’t in those results. This means that you can have the perfect website but if Google don’t tick the box saying mobile friendly, you will be below others who are.

Optimisation

Mobile optimisation is a step further – rather than simply ensuring that a website looks as good on a smartphone as a PC, mobile optimisation is about making the smartphone experience special. Website designers focus on elements such as the structure of the site as well as its design, ensuring that page speeds as suitable for smartphone viewing as well as reducing redirects that may not work so well on the little screen.

Other focuses include things that don’t work on mobiles, for example the Flash plug-in. This doesn’t work on all phones so designers are switching to use HTML5 instead. Pop-ups don’t gel well with smartphones and often end up frustrating users so that they leave the site, so getting rid of them is another important element.

The subtle stuff is also an important element of optimisation. Because the screen is smaller on a smartphone, the content that the user sees has to be the best, most important content but also needs to be concise. This means that areas such as meta descriptions, URLs and titles all need careful consideration from the mobile viewpoint.

The Local Factor

As well as the being mobile friendly and optimised for the smartphone users, websites need to be keyed into Local SEO. This is aimed at businesses that have physical premises somewhere and want to be put in touch with customers in their local region. For example, if you live in Bradford and search your mobile for a computer repair shop, you don’t want the top ten results to all be in London or Birmingham. Adding a map pack to a website is an important element of this as long as your website’s city and state tags are accurate. Adding this information to meta titles, URL or content can all help with those local rankings when smartphone users search and embedding Google Maps is a great way to show where you are in a single glance.

Conclusion

All of this may seem a little overwhelming if you aren’t a web designer and sometimes, getting a professional to apply their talents to the design of your business website can be the best bet. But ignoring these aspects will have a negative impact on your site traffic in the coming year as users accessing the internet via smartphone is set to overtake those using a PC or laptop.

Are Online Website Builders Good For Business?

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web-builderAs a business owner considering their options for a website it can seem that the choice is nothing short of startling, not to mention sometimes bewildering.

From freelancers to large web design agencies and from self-created websites to those created through one of the many website builders.

Because of this choice we know that it can be all too easy to become overwhelmed, so we thought we’d spell out the pros and cons between using a web design agency and using one of the many website builder platforms.

So, what’s out there?

It seems that the selection of website builders continues to grow, but the question is whether they’re any good. Some of the main ones include Wix, Weebly and Squarespace and by looking at these generally we can get a glimpse into some of their strengths, as well as their limitations.

How cheap?!

Let’s start with the number one reason why website builders most certainly do have a place in the market: and that is budget. Website builders can cost nothing at all, with Wix even providing a free domain name for an entire year, and of course as you’re designing it yourself you aren’t paying for professional design services. That said the world of web design is most certainly a misleadingly complex one and guiding your user through your website and over to making a purchase or contacting you is far from easy. It takes years to finely hone user journey skills

Timing is everything

Even the most simplistic looking of websites can still take a considerable time to create and you really need to consider this when weighing up the cost of a ‘free’ website.

Little quirks

Just as with any technology, each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses and because of this each of the website builder platform may come with a few quirks that you may otherwise be unaware of. Take Wix, for example, this platform seems to be far more precise than Weebly and you are more likely to move an element on your website page or rearrange it entirely if you don’t pay attention to every little move and click that you make. Squarespace on the other hand tends to be more robust than both Weebly and Wix and can handle even the most novice of users (the quirk is then that the design possibilities are relatively restrictive).

In short there is no substitute for bespoke web design services; one to one professional help will inevitable create a better quality and a more immersive user experience. That said, the collection of website builder programmes do have a place in the market (as is clear from the many millions of websites that they produce). Most certainly then these can serve the smaller of businesses well with websites that act as basic, but shiny, looking online brochures.

Going past this however, the input of a professional who can truly lead your visitor from first click to contact form or product purchase and as such their skills should be thought of as invaluable.

How IT Can Double Your Business Performance

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New advances in information technology in the areas of cloud computing, mobility, facility management software and unified communications are giving big businesses a competitive advantage.. These advantages can be used even by small businesses.

If you’re a business owner looking to make your enterprise operate more efficiently, this video helps as a primer on how you can use the latest information technology.

Did you find this post interesting? Do you have questions? Contact us.

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Your Next Tablet?

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There are those that love the iPad, and then those that have been waiting for one of the other manufacturers to come up with a decent alternative. The Nexus and Samsung tablets are pretty decent, but with the new Xperia Z2 it looks like Sony is really getting its act together.

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Are We Over-Reliant On Technology?

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too-much-technologyIn both our work and private lives over the last ten years, technology has come to the forefront. Whether it is checking in with family around the world on social media, developing new international clients or finding new business solutions through websites, the Internet and the associated hardware is at the forefront of most everything we do.

But does this mean we have become over-reliant on technology?

Without the Internet

So imagine life without the Internet. You start work at the beginning of the day and need to communicate with twenty-five customers. So out comes the writing pad and you write the same letter 25 times. It then goes in the post and is received by your customer three days later, at which point they write back and the whole process takes a week. As opposed to email which takes seconds to send and the same to reply to, as well as sending to all of those customers at the same time.

But that’s just a simple example. Many companies simply wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have the technology now available. Big names like Amazon and eBay only exist because of the internet and make our lives easier – no more walking around the shops searching in vain for that CD you want, you just search the website and order it.

In fact, 29% of people say that their mobile phone is the first thing they look at in the morning and over three quarters say that the newest mobile tech is the most helpful thing in their lives. Over half of those with kids even think the prevalence of technology has helped make them better parents.

Business Life

For businesses, the impact is even bigger. With the Internet comes instant access to so many tools such as the IT support London firms need when technology malfunctions, provided by companies like Foration, Northern Star & SysFix, as well as access to new customer markets through online marketing and the chance to liaise with other businesses. So while technology has become essential in our daily lives, this doesn’t necessarily mean we are over reliant.

The main pitfall businesses can fall into is not preparing for changes in technology. Looking back over those ten years, the computer has changed rapidly, the mobile device has come to the fore and the tablet has been created. High-speed Internet has come along with a greater coverage than ever. So having access to the right kind of support if technology does fail is crucial, as well as having disaster recovery plans.

Coping with Disaster

Having a plan in place to cope with a disaster may sound dramatic but for more businesses, this can be anything from a physical threat such as a fire or flood in the building to a software threat such as viruses or hackers. The disaster recovery plan is there to have business continuity and to help save lost revenue – downtime is lost money, after all. Because technology is such an intrinsical part of what we do, then having a plan to deal with its failure is crucial. After all, the worst-case scenario might never happen but if it does, having a plan in place to deal with it will be a huge relief.