After a slow battle with the internet, Google Plus passed on October 8th, 2018 at the age of 7.

Google + was born on 28th June 2011 in Mountain View, California to search engine giant, Google LLC. With the vision of a connected world neatly organized into circles of friends, Google + set out to compete against the social media network Facebook. After racking up apparently 90 million users, the “virtual ghost town” was seeing a dramatic lack of engagement and made a series of appointments to pinpoint a diagnosis. In 2015, Google Plus went through treatment to eliminate the requirement to use a plus account when signing on to other Google services such as YouTube in hopes of increasing engagement.

A close review of all Google + APIs back in March 2018 uncovered a bug in the Google Plus People APIs that potentially affected 500,000 accounts on the platform. While it has been since patched, the breach has revealed significant challenges in creating as well as maintaining a successful media platform that meets user expectations. These challenges and low usage has ultimately led to the sun setting on this branch of the Google family tree.

A 10-month wind-down has been arranged for those more active users to migrate their data and the funeral service will be held privately amongst a small circle of family and friends in California.

Do you want to make sure your business is represented with all the correct information on both Google Search and Google Maps? Then you are going to want to add or claim your company or service on Google My Business (GMB).

How to Claim or Add Your Business in Google My Business

  1. Go to Google My Business and if you are not already logged into the Google account you want to manage it with, do so by clicking on “Sign In”. If you don’t have a Google account, which is hard to imagine, you will need to create one.
  2. Select “Manage Now” in the upper right-hand corner, or there is also another manage now button lower down in the body of the page.

    GMB Manage Now to Add Your Listing

    GMB Manage Now to Add Your Listing

  3. GMB will walk you through the process of either claiming an existing business listing or adding a new one by asking you a few questions. While you are putting in your business name and address, Google will be checking against existing business listings that may match some of the info you are inputting and will pop up suggestions. If you see your business listing, you can start the process of claiming it. If not, just keep inputting the information for your listing.
  4. While filling out your listing address, you’ll see a box for “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” Only select that if you do NOT have an office or storefront where people can come to you BUT you go to your customers location to deliver your goods or services personally. If you go to them, there is a way to hide your address so it is not show in Maps or Search and you will be able to specify your delivery area.

    Find a business near me

    Do You Have a Storefront or Office Location? Or Do You Deliver your Goods & Services?

  5. Quick Marketing Tip: While adding name, address and phone number (NAP), be sure to list it exactly as it appears on your website. Have all your citation listings be consistent. If you spell out Street instead of St. on your website, be sure to do the same for all business citation listings. Take my word for it, it’s an important Local SEO ranking factor.
  6. Business Category. Try different variations of the services or products you offer. Sometimes people only find one, and sometimes several. It all depends so do a little hunting around. Use different keywords people would use to find your services. Some categories will open up or close off certain features of Google My Business. For instance, if you are a Hotel or Resort, the posts feature will be turned off, but you will be able to add all the amenities of the property (plus it opens the possibility for Hotel Ads – but that’s for another time).
  7. Input your phone number and website address (if you have one). You will then be prompted to finish.

 

Success! Your listing has been created… but wait, there is one last thing that Google My Business is going to want – Verification. Google wants to make sure your business information is accurate and that only the legitimate business owner or an authorized employee has access to it.

Ways to Verify your Google My Business Listing

Most common is by mail. A postcard is sent to the business address with a verification code you can input once you receive it, which can take up to 14 days. Select businesses will have the option of email or business phone verification.

Once you are verified, there are a lot of things you’ll want to know about how to get the most out of your local business citation listing, so be sure to check out our previous blog on “What is Google My Business” where we break down all the great features you can utilize to get the most out of your business listing on Google Maps and Local Search.

Aloha! Welcome to part 1 in a 2 part series about Google My Business (GMB) where we delve into the who, what, where and how do I of this great product put out by the search giant.

 

What is Google My Business?

This free service, which launched back in June of 2014, has changed a lot over the years from a basic business information listing to a robust interface that makes it easier for businesses and brands to be found in both Google Maps and Search. It offers a slew of tools that are great for both you and the people trying to find your products or services.

The only requirement? You must have some face-to-face interaction with your customers whether it’s and office, storefront or you deliver goods and services directly to your customers in person. To be specific, you can’t operate 100% online.

Having a local GMB listing outputs what has been termed the “knowledge panel”. When someone searches for your type of business or service, a card may appear to the right of search results, in the local section in the search results (image above), or to the left on Maps; with all the pertinent details of your company or brand as seen in the image below. It helps customers discover, contact and interact with you in several different ways.

 

GMB Knowledge Panel

  GMB Knowledge Panel

Business Listing Features

  • Business Info – List out everything from category, address, business hours, phone number, website, services, and a description for your company. All which helps your customers find and connect with you… but that’s not all!
  • Posts – Posting through GMB allows you to publish products, specials, services, events and more directly to Search and Maps. The post can include text, a link and photo or video. These posts last up to a week and you can have multiple posts at a time. To the right you can see our post on “How to Design”.
  • Reviews – Clients can publicly post a review in Google about their experience with your services or products which is integrated into your listing on Search and Maps.
  • Messaging – For mobile only, this gives people another way to communicate with you through SMS text messaging.
  • Photos & Video – Show images that best represent the business. As stated by Google, businesses that have photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% more requests for driving directions in Google Maps. Give your listing some eye-candy or further entice people with a great video!
  • Google My Business Website – Don’t have the money to invest in your own website? Build a free and simple single page about your business in under 10 minutes. The basic site is auto generated with info from your GMB listing. If you need more than a single page of basic contact info, consider our Hawaii Web Design services (we do free consultations)!
  • Questions & Answers – The Q&A section of your listing is a place where people can, you got it, ask questions. Not directly found in the GMB management console, this one is a little harder to manage. Where before you had to check the section on your Knowledge Panel, more recently, we’ve been receiving an email when someone asks a question.
  • Either way, it is well worth checking on now and then. Your customers are prompted to respond to questions people ask about your business, and the prompts go to everyone (even those who didn’t have a great experience). So be sure they hear from you as well — plus it just looks more professional.
Knowledge Panel Q & A

Knowledge Panel Q & A

Once you have your Google My Business listing up and running, it will also provide you Insights which are basic statistics on how customers are interacting with your business: from how many calls were made and the number of people asking directions, to where they found you (Maps or Search) and even some of the queries they used to find your business.

Now you know why it is so important to get listing in GMB to have better visibility in Google Maps and Google local business listings for Search. Next week, we will be covering How to Add Your Business To Google Maps & Local Search where we give you step-by-step instructions on how to get your business listed so you can start taking advantage of these free features.

Shopping for a new website, some assistance in marketing your business online, or both? While there may be numerous options to choose from, there are also a number of considerations you will want to take to ensure you and your business receive the level of quality in service that you deserve. Here are a few things to consider:

Depth of Knowledge

Does your web professional know their stuff? Like really, really know their stuff? If you’re considering contracting someone to design your website, build your database, get you millions of followers on Instagram, provide customer service via Facebook, run your digital advertising initiatives, and make your brand #1 on Google, prepare for disappointment. Simply put, an effective web presence requires an effective team of experts doing what they do best to put your business in front of the eyes and ears of those who your business values the most: new, well targeted, customers. With the online landscape being an ever changing place, not only should you have a team in place to take care of your digital assets, but you want to be sure that they are qualified to do so. To assess their qualifications: ask them a few basic questions relating to web design, search engine optimization (SEO,) social media marketing, Google advertising, etc. Even better, schedule a meeting with our experts at Meyer Computer, Inc. and ask us how we can help your business grow online!

Marketing Strategy? What’s That?

Every business has a unique set of needs when it comes to marketing themselves online. While certain methods may work for some, they may completely fail when it comes to implementing them for others. When marketing your products, offerings, or services online, your chosen agency should be willing to meet with you to discuss a strategy tailored to the specific needs and goals of you and your business. If they instead attempt to offer you a “one size fits all” type of service, it’s time to move on and find an agency who will to work with you and your needs (i.e. the friendly, knowledgeable staff at Meyer Computer, Inc.!)

Seeing the Results

Now that you have your new website up and online marketing strategy in place, it’s time to take a look at tracking your progress, in the form of online analytics and reports. For example, marketing clients of Meyer Computer, Inc. have numerous reports available to them, many updated in real time, including:

  • Traffic Stats/Analytics Report
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Success Report
  • Social Media Activity Reports
  • Facebook Advertising Report

Ready, Willing and Available

Not only should your marketing agency be able to answer your questions during your initial consultation, but they should be available to answer any questions that may arise during your business relationship. Additionally, you should be able to meet (preferably face to face) with your agency to discuss current and future strategies, additions or updates of new marketing products/channels, current campaign performance, etc. at regular intervals. As we like to remind our clients, regular communication is essential to maintaining top performing marketing campaigns; so be sure to hire an agency that is aware of this very important fact.

Benefits to Hiring an Outside Marketing Agency

Marketing your business online is a full time job. From optimizing content, running and managing ads, analyzing traffic, to setting up and maintaining your social channels on a regular basis; marketing online can easily take a team of full time professionals to do properly. We are often asked for our thoughts on whether a company should hire someone to be their in house online marketer, or if they should contract an agency such as Meyer Computer, Inc. to help their business meet its potential online. As such, we have compiled a few items to consider prior to making a decision:

In House

  • Will your budget allow for having full-time employees dedicated to Internet Marketing? Salary ranges from $55,000/yr. for a beginner to well over $90,000/yr. a year for a marketing veteran. Not to mention the taxes and other expenses that come along with having additional employees.
  • In addition to budgeting for each new employee, remember that you will need to have a separate budget for buying ads online through Google, Facebook, etc. as well.
  • As mentioned earlier; online marketing, done properly, requires a healthy amount of knowledge, skills, and time commitment, as well as constant learning and adaptation to new methods, trends, tools, etc. Do your new hires understand all that their job entails?

Contracting an Agency

  • Prior to hiring an online marketing agency, meet with them to discuss the needs and goals of your business. You want to paint as clear a picture as possible of how you want your brand represented online, and what kind of growth you would like to see prior to hiring an agency for your marketing needs.
  • Discuss with the agency how their team members will best address your needs, what strategies they suggest be employed, etc.
  • Consider contacting other clients of theirs whom may be willing to give you feedback on their services.

Following these tips will help you make the decision which is best for your business.

If, after reading all this, you have more questions or would like to discuss how Meyer Computer, Inc. can help your business grow online: contact us today!

For decades, Akina Aloha Tours school and tour bus service has served visitors and residents on the island of Maui through a wide variety of transportation services for groups big or small. In early 2018, Akina Aloha Tours took the bold step of re-branding itself to their new name: Akina Tours & Transportation. This rather major name change brought about a need to revamp Akina’s entire lineup of promotional services; including a rather substantial web presence. That’s where the website and marketing experts at Meyer Computer, Inc. stepped in to help!

As the premier web and marketing provider of Akina Aloha Tours for many years, Akina Tours & Transportation asked us to assist them in transitioning the entirety of their web presence to their new company name as well as help in promoting a host of new and improved group tour and transportation services here in Maui, Hawaii. In a bid to maximize promotional efforts, Meyer Computer, Inc. created an entirely new customer-centric website for Akina Tours & Transportation, which has just launched!

Upon first entering the all new AkinaTours.com, customers are treated to an expansive selection of views from the island of Maui; starting with a high resolution intro video featuring Akina Tours & Transportation’s newest luxury mini-coach set against a backdrop of the lush green West Maui Mountains, and continuing with a vibrant slide show of some of Maui’s most enjoyable beaches. Once you have been awed by the initial splendor of Maui, scroll down to quickly “Get a Quote!” for group tour and transportation services, view a quick introduction to the Akina Tours & Transportation company, use the 4-up on-page quick menu to instantly view transportation service options, and discover the newest tours and latest happenings with Akina Tours & Transportation and the Island of Maui.

Delve deeper into the new AkinaTours.com and you will find everything you need to learn more about Akina Tours & Transportations tour and service offerings, reserve your group transportation, and much more! Some highlights:

  • High resolution photos detailing the many transportation options available.
  • 360 degree virtual tours of select passenger coaches.
  • Quick access to learn about and book transportation services for groups, weddings, corporate get together, and more.
  • Introduction to the new range of specialized tours being offered by Akina Tours & Transportation.
  • High definition tour video integration.
  • Custom “Build Your Own” tour informational page with quick “Get a Quote” booking prompts.
  • Integrated online direct booking of specialized tour options.
  • Easy access to custom quote and information forms throughout.
  • Convenient Search option at the top of every page.
  • Fully responsive/mobile optimized design.

As a premiere client, Akina Tours & Transportation also benefits from a wide gamut of internet marketing and optimization services offered by Meyer Computer, Inc. to increase client acquisition, direct bookings, top ranking in Google and other notable search engines, brand loyalty and recognition, community growth, current and prospective client engagement, and many other notable web metrics.

At Meyer Computer, Inc. we are proud to provide the knowledgeable owners and staff at Akina Tours & Transportation with web services that enhance their client relationships while helping to take their business to new heights (or, in Akina’s case, roads!) Mahalo!

So your sleek new Hawaii business website is complete and you’re ready to grow your organic, social media, online advertising and/or local search engine presence… finding the perfect Marketing and SEO company can be tough to find. You need to find a reputable company that is easy to work with, tailors their marketing campaign to your needs and that understands your business growth goals. That can be a tall order, but far from unattainable!

So should your Hawaii business go for that big mainland company or choose local? Consider some of the following benefits of island businesses using a local Hawaii SEO and Internet marketing company (like us!).

Who Knows You Better?

Whether you are on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, The Big Island, Lanai or Molokai — Our Hawaii Internet marketing company has done a great deal of research on where to get your business found in our local target market. Are most of your customers on the mainland? No problem! From directories, local blogs, citation listings, social media and paid advertising, our company knows the ins-and-outs of getting your Hawaii website the exposure it needs.

Understanding of Hawaii

If you choose a mainland company, how are they going to give any of your content copy, ads, profile write-ups, social media posts, etc. that aloha feel? When creating content for your business, choosing another Hawaii company has its advantages. Being local means we understand the subtle nuances and specific things unique to our region.

Dealing with island SEO references to local areas and all the Hawaiian words is another reason it’s best to stick with a Hawaii company. We know how to spell the words and we know when and when not to use things like the ‘okina or kahakō. What would a mainland company do with that?

Our Hawaii SEO marketing services can help you include important regional references in your marketing strategy, giving you a local edge.

Personalized Experience

Once we’ve done the initial meeting to lay out goals and expectations, it’s easy to build a good relationship of clear communication with our Hawaii web design and marketing company. You always know who you are going to talk to. That ability to call with any concerns you have makes you less stressed and feeling free to ask even the smallest of questions. Whether by phone, email or setting up a meeting that fits your schedule, we are here for you. You can even stop by our Maui office just to say aloha!

Working with larger mainland companies, they tend to have high turnover and you can be passed around. It can be more difficult to communicate overall with the time-zone issue, which makes asking those “quick” questions harder, and you’ve lost that personal touch.

Buy Local – Buy Hawaii

Not only does working with a local company benefit you, but it also benefits the local economy. As a locally owned business, we see that first-hand. Whenever we can, we make sure our money goes right back into purchasing local products and services which continues to strengthen our community. We are invested in Hawaii’s future and are honored to give back to our community.

Reputation

Working with other Hawaii businesses to build their online presence, our marketing company here on Maui takes our reputation very seriously. We know how coconut wireless works… Meyer Computer, Inc. has been going strong for over 20 years now. Over that time we have built up some wonderful island relationships and look forward to building many more.

As you may have guessed, the answer is a resounding YES!

Social media is continually on the rise and when you look at web stats, it has been taking from the search engine traffic percentage. Clearly it has become impossible to ignore the effect of social networking as part of a successful marketing campaign. It also stands to reason why even Google itself has tried to get into the social game with Google+ (albeit didn’t catch on as they had probably hoped).

Social Media Inspires Search
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. allow people to write reviews and post comments that leads to exposure and potentially more business. Consumers are using social media networks at an increasing rate to find answers, products, and services. People are using them to research companies before doing business with them and they’re influencing the entire buying process. Wouldn’t you trust information provided by another consumer (possibly even an acquaintance) over that of a traditional advertisement?

Facebook, the Social Juggernaut
Facebook is by far the largest social network in the world, with more than 2.07 billion active users around the world, and roughly 214 million users in the United States as of January 2018. More than a portal, its value lies in its dynamic network of social connections and the massive amount of information shared by its users. Besides advertising, some companies use Facebook to offer customer support, conduct polls and launch contests. It’s a great way to engage with customers on a very personal basis!

Side note: If you are running a Facebook business page, it is vital to keep it up-to-date and stay active.

Expose Your Business
In order to get more traffic from search engines it is essential to build an active, engaged presence on social networking sites. It is also important to pay attention to overall trends and platforms in order to reach your target audience. Time is precious, use it wisely by going where your customer base is.

Be sure to use the brand name of your company in your social media postings because it makes it easier for potential clients to find you. And, don’t forget to link to your personal social media presence on your site so people can join you there!

Likes, Follows, and +1’s, Oh My!
Getting “Likes, Follows, +1’s, etc.” is important in social media. It requires some creative social media marketing tactics that engage potential customers, such as providing helpful tips, interesting information or even something that makes them smile. The more likes, shares, comments  and follows your posts have can also have an effect on search engine rankings. It’s a goal for search engines and search advertisers to make their results more useful and relevant to searchers. Think of any engagement as an endorsement or vote of confidence.

Social media offers relationship-building opportunities that are virtually limitless and, for the most part, they’re free. You just need the time, a clear direction and know-how!

Don’t have time to build exposure for your business in all the social networks? Talk to our Hawaii social media marketing specialists about our services, including setup and maintenance for Facebook, Twitter and more. Be sure to ask about our featured Share Bar! If you need help jumping in to the social media scene don’t hesitate to contact Meyer Computer, Inc. today.

AND… last but not least, you can connect with us socially by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or adding us on Google+.

Have you ever wondered why a certain search term doesn’t list your website in Google, Bing or some other search results? Assuming your website is mobile-friendly, has been thoroughly optimized and indexed by the search engines… Not seeing it in the search results is disappointing, to say the least. Let’s run through a few things that you need to consider and some tips you can implement for future growth and marketing of your website.

Search Results Vary From Person to Person

Did you know that your search results, especially in Google can vary drastically from person to person or by device? What you are seeing, is not what someone else may be seeing. Search engines like Google are always looking for ways to provide quality search results the individual searcher would find most helpful. Happy searchers mean they keep coming back.

Factors that can affect search engine results:

  • Your geographic location
  • By device type (i.e. desktop, laptop, phone, tablet)
  • Web history & previously clicked links on said device
  • The browser you are using
  • Whether you are logged in to a Google Account
  • What type of search you are doing

Instead of obsessing about any one particular keyword phrase, a better way to think about the marketing of your website would be to focus on the overall quality and the building of its presence.

Keyword Research

First, I would highly recommend that you research keywords for your website and make sure that they are real-world actual searched for phrases. What you think, and what is actually searched for can be very different. Ongoing keyword optimization is also highly recommended to uncover any new upcoming opportunities where your website could shine. Especially in this time of voice search, there are a lot of long strings of words being put together to find what people are looking for.

Second, I would advise that you not pin all your hopes and dreams on just a few keyword phrases alone. You should easily be able to come up with a very sizable list of keywords that have a good monthly search volume associated with them. Start creating new content that includes them and cover all the many ways people may search to find your website.

Third, the more competitive a keyword phrase is, the tougher it will to get high rankings. Even with focused phrases like “Hawaii vacation rentals”, the competition is high with big companies like HomeAway, FlipKey, VRBO, TripAdvisor and Airbnb taking up top positions in the search results. That’s where finding those long-tail keywords through research will help in bringing a good amount of traffic to your website.

Okay, so you did the research and know of a particular search phrase that you would like to focus on to get your website showing in search results and get great qualified traffic. What now?

Website Content

If the search term isn’t part of the actual content of your website, there is no way it would even be considered relevant to the search engines for the keyword you are hoping to appear for. Even after you have sprinkled your target keywords through the website, doesn’t necessarily mean your website is going to be on the first page of the search results. The more competitive the keyword phrase, the more solid quality content on the subject you need.

Look to answer questions your customers or clients are asking about the topic and start writing up blogs. Not only is this filling out more relevant marketing content for your sought-after keywords, but even more so, this is very helpful to your customers and shows them how knowledgeable you are in your area of expertise.

Internal & External Linking

Links also play a factor in building trust that your website has quality content that searchers are looking for. People are engaging and sharing your content. They trust it, so the search engines feel they can trust the content as well. The more quality links pointing to it, the more trustworthy.

You should have internal links with the keyword text linking to relevant content on your website. You should have links coming from other websites using the keywords in the linking text pointing to relevant content on your website.

The aforementioned helpful blog posts could come in very handy here. Perhaps, think about doing a guest blog on a related and relevant website that complements yours somehow.

Competition

Check out the competition for the keyword phrase you are thinking about. Why are they showing for that search phrase? Where are their links coming in from other websites? Perhaps you can get a link too…

Still Not In The Search Results? Is All Lost?

No Way! You can keep fighting for the keyword phrases you believe in. The tips above are a few strategies that will help you build your position over time. Just keep plugging away and check your traffic stats to watch for growth.

Interesting Read: What does Google have to say about it? Google Help – Site Doesn’t Appear for a Specific Keyword

Need help building your websites Internet presence? Our Hawaii web design team & Internet marketing specialists are ready to help you from website design and optimization to online advertising and social media management. We offer free consultations!

Long, long ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and our phones were not quite so smart, there was no mobile web. Our phones were large, clunky, and steam powered. (Okay, not steam powered. But that would be so cool!) Websites had evolved from text only pages with a few links to visually appealing sites laid out using tables. But they were designed to be viewed on large screens, and were rigged and static. For the most part, designers simply took ideas that would look good on the printed page and coded them to look that way on a computer screen.

Then in the early 2000’s a few flip phones started coming out with internet access. The first websites created to be viewed on these phones harken back to the first websites designed in the early 1990’s; text only with a few low-resolution images. There were special mobile browsers and the website needed to be written in a language those browsers could understand.

Mobile Friendly Web DesignThen, in 2007 Apple came out with the first iPhone. An important feature of this first phone was that it came with a mobile version of Apple’s Safari web browser. Now there was a phone with a browser that could read HTML and CSS like a desktop browser. You no longer needed a version of your website written using a special mobile language. But that wasn’t quite enough. The screen was still really small, and the connection really slow. (We’ll talk a bit more about website speed in another blog.) And there were still quite a few features that didn’t translate well from desktop to phone. For example many sites were starting to use drop down menu systems that “dropped down” when you hovered the mouse over the menu item. There is no “hover” on a touch device. (I know because I tried. I held my finger over a menu on my phone and waited for it to drop down. After a couple of hours I gave up.)

Wait. I need to have two version of my website?

So, web designers started creating a second version of websites that was meant to work better on smaller, slower devices. When you visited one of these websites it would detect you were on a mobile device and re-direct you from the main desktop site to the mobile design version. Instead of example.com you might end up at m.example.com. This was not a great solution. Not for the web developer having to create two sites, for the owner having to pay the developer to create two sites, and not for the end user who may get a site that did not have as much content as the full desktop version. And then tablets started becoming more popular, and larger phone screens, and smaller tablet screens, and internet connected game consoles… Now there were many different screen sizes. So when someone visits your site, should you deliver the mobile version or the desktop version? Or just forget all this internet nonsense and get a nice chalkboard. Ugg. But a better solution was just around the corner.

What if you could create one website that would change to fit the device it was on? It could “respond” to the width of the screen and adjust itself to best use that space. In late 2008/early 2009 Ethan Marcotte coined the term “responsive web design.” Websites were now being created that respond not to the device they were on, but to the width of the screen they were being viewed in. Web design had advanced beyond the days of simply turning the printed page into a digital version, to its own system of displaying information that took advantage of the medium.
Today you would have a hard time even finding a web developer who was not creating responsive websites. You don’t really need to think about this. That’s just the way it’s done now. But what if you have an older website. Do you really need to create a whole new one? Isn’t the one you have “good enough”?

Mobile vs Desktop Website Traffic 2018

Stats courtesy of statcounter.com

Today more users are browsing the web on mobile devices than desktops. Many users may never even see the desktop version of your website. It’s been trending in this direction for a long time, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. And yet, many website owners have still not updated their website to work well on mobile.

“I can see my website just fine on my phone… now pass me that magnifying glass so I can proofread my blog.”

How does your phone know to load your website so that it “responds” to the screen size, or just squeeze it into the space? Mobile websites use a special tag in the code that tells the browser how to set the viewport. If it’s there, and set correctly, and your website was built using responsive design principles, then your phone will load your site and it will respond to the screen size and all is well. If it’s not there, then most mobile browsers will simple squeeze your site onto the screen. You will see a miniature version of your webpage. Cute, but not easy to read or easy to navigate. Your users could zoom in, and scroll the screen left to right to read it, but it’s probably easier for them to just go to a different website.

“Honey? Does this website make my fingers look fat?”

Speaking of navigation… after looking at your old site on your phone, and deciding it looks really cute all small like that, and you didn’t need to change anything, did you try and navigate around? Is there information that only shows when you “mouse over” an item, so mobile users can never see it? Can you tap a menu item without tapping three others at the same time? If you use a lot of text links do they bunch up together so it’s almost impossible to click the one you want? In addition to being responsive, a mobile friendly website should be easy to use and navigate. Buttons, links, and menu items should be easy to tap on, even for those with, um, more “Rubenesque” fingers.

“Yes I have a website. But I don’t want anyone to actually visit it, or use it, or get any business from it. Oh, and I like wasting money.”

Most website owners have a website for a reason, and want to get more visitors and more traffic to their site. This means doing well in the search engines. There are many factors that influence how well you do in the search engines: SEO, content, in-bound links, the motions of the planets — and, more and more, if your site is mobile friendly. Since more people are using mobile today the search engines want to give them results they can use. Therefore they are more likely to show mobile friendly sites to users searching on a mobile device. If you’re spending time and money to increase your website traffic, and especially if you are paying for ads like Google Adwords, why send them to a site most of them can’t use? If a percentage of your users leave because your site is not mobile friendly, then that’s the percentage of your money that’s wasted on your on-line marketing. You may have already wasted more than it would have cost to create a new site.

Any website you have created today will be built using mobile friendly responsive design. But if you have a website that has been around for a while, and it was not built using modern responsive design principles, then it is definitely time for a re-design. The advantages of getting a new site are overwhelming. And if you are using your site for business, then you will actually save money by upgrading. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? No problem. Just learn HTML and CSS, then view the raw source of you site and look for… Oh, never mind all that. You can go to this mobile-friendly test webpage and put in your website and Google will let you know if you need a mobile makeover.

If you have a responsive, mobile friendly website, then you’re done. You’re all set. You can go take a nap. Oh, wait… Your site also loads really fast, right? And only uses a secure SSL connection, right? Okay, I guess there’s more we need to talk about, but later. I need to go figure out how to make a tiny steam engine and fit it into my iPhone.