There were several exciting announcements that came out at the Google Marketing Live 2019 event mid-May and we wanted to share some of the newest ad and platform innovations they discussed.

Gallery Ads

One of the more exciting announcements, for me, would have to be the arrival of gallery ads. Theses are large ads that will show in the top spot of Google search results for mobile and incorporate a carousel of images you can swipe through. Initially designed specifically as an automotive ad vertical, Google has been testing this new search ad format in beta since February and will be rolling it out to all advertisers sometime later this year.

“By combining search intent with a more interactive visual format, gallery ads make it easier for you to communicate what your brand has to offer…” – Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP of Google Ads & Commerce

What’s so exciting? As Facebook ads have proven in the past, images drive engagement! On average, Google found that ad groups that included a gallery ad have up to 25% more interactions (paid clicks or swipes) when their ads appear at the absolute top of the mobile Search results page.

Google Gallery Ads

Google Gallery Ads

You can be sure that Google will be experimenting with showing them on desktop and in other Google products, so perhaps we’ll see them appear elsewhere in the future.

Discovery Ads

If you’ve been using Google on your mobile phone or tablet, you’ve most likely already been enticed to use the Google feed that helps you stay up-to-date on your latest interests. From the latest news and movies to my favorite sports teams and hobbies, Discover has been known to pull me away from my original reason for heading to Google Search in the first place.

With Discovery Ads, soon advertisers will be able to serve immersive ads to people at the exact time when they’re most open to finding something new. Not only will the ads have the potential to show on Discover’s over 800 million global users, the ads will be served on YouTube’s mobile home feed and in Gmail’s social and promotional tabs.

Because Discovery ads live in feeds, and not on search, these ads are perfect for creating brand awareness. And, since you won’t be bidding on search specific keywords, your ad strategy will be similar to Display Ads with in-market, interest and custom audience targeting.

Discovery Ads

Discovery Ads

Although no specific date was given as to when this ad type will roll out to all advertisers, we’d expect this shiny new ad type to be available to all by the end of the year.

Local Campaigns

With a focus on increasing store visits and in-store purchases, Local Campaigns are a great ad feature for brick-and-mortar storefronts that just added some new and exciting features. Local ads has expanded its reach to show up on Search, Maps, the Display Network and YouTube.

Moving past keyword-based intent alone, advertisers will be able to leverage machine learning and automation. Once you’ve provided your store locations, ad copy and some eye catching images, Google Ads will optimize ad delivery across its property platforms to increase foot traffic to your stores. Not only that, these ads can now show up in unique places like map search suggestions as well as pins on the map while following directions.

Impressive data point offered by Google:

Dunkin’ increased its monthly visits from Google Ads by over 400% and is planning to run Local campaigns as an always-on strategy throughout 2019.

Local Campaigns

Local Campaigns

Google plans to expand local campaigns to drive other types of local actions like calls and directions to you business in the near future.

YouTube Bumper Ads’ New Bumper Machine

Available through Google Ads on a cost per 1000 impressions basis or CPM, YouTube Bumper Ads are a 6 second non-skipable video ad format that has been available to advertisers since April 2016 and is perfect for driving brand reach and frequency. Now they’ve made it super easy to create these ads! Google’s new bumper machine will turn any video under 90 seconds into 6-second bumper ads that can be used across the YouTube video network.

The bumper machine tool uses machine learning to identify elements within the video such as brand logo, human faces, motion or contrast to automatically produce the short ads. Although bumpers ads are super short on time, Google insists they’re long on impact. Through testing of over 300 bumper campaigns, Google found that 9 out of 10 drove a significant lift in ad recall. See bumper ad examples.

Really Shop on Google Shopping

Google unveiled a totally redesigned Google Shopping experience. Shoppers have their own personalized homepage where they can not only filter based on features and brands, but they’ll be able to make purchases directly from the shopping interface. Not only that, Google is guaranteeing that all shoppers will be offered an easy return process and top-notch customer service.

Advertising vendors will have an add to cart option that will be found right where shoppers are viewing product reviews, images, price comparisons and videos. In the coming months, Google is planning to expand their showcase shopping ads to the image search results, discover search results, and YouTube. All very exciting for vendors to get their products in front of more people!

Google Marketing Live 2019 Wrap-up

Automation and machine learning are becoming the new powerhouse go-to for Google paid ad campaigns. And those ad campaigns are more seamlessly spanning more platforms such as search, video, display, news feeds, Gmail and more. Overall, an amazing amount of news and fun new features we can’t wait to play around and experiment with!

Are you, like many business owners, off to a busy start of 2019? The beginning of the new year brings new goals, new challenges, and, ideally, a new website for your business. With so much going on throughout the course of a year, many will think about, and maybe even start to plan on upgrading their business’ old website, only to let their plans get back burner-ed when other issues with their business pop up. If this sound like you and your business, it’s time to make a change and make 2019 the year you finally get that new website up and running! To get you moving in the right direction, here are some of the many reasons why you need to get your new website launched in 2019:

 

  • Your website is STILL not mobile ready / responsive
    This. This is one of, if not the biggest, reasons you need to update your website in 2019: If your website is still stuck in the stone age of desktop browsers, and does not automatically reconfigure it’s layout based on the device it is being viewed on, then you really need to upgrade your website NOW. According to recent studies, people visiting a website from a mobile browser now account for more than 50% of overall visits. Obviously, that equals quite a few potential customers you would be turning away if they are unable to visit your website easily because it’s still stuck in the 1990’s!

 

  • Speaking of the 1990’s . . .
    Did you hire someone to design your website so long ago that you don’t recall how long ago that may have been? That’s a sure sign that your website should be updated. Website design trends are very much like fashion; while you may not need to keep up with the latest look to hit the market, you do want to at least put your best foot forward and keep the look of your website classy and modern. This means freshening up your website with a new look, new design, and new features (see above about Responsive / mobile optimized designs) every so often.

 

  • Slow load times and missed opportunities
    Remember the days when you would have to wait, and wait, and wait, for a webpage to display in your browser, particularly if you were on a page with lots of images? Thanks to a wide proliferation of high speed internet access throughout the world, this problem has largely been eradicated for many of our daily browsing activities. However, to search engines like Google, an extra bit of loading time could be construed as “slow” to their algorithms – netting your website a penalty signal when it comes to ranking and displaying your site in their search engine. Too many “bad” signals and you could find it difficult to draw an audience to your business site. To fix this, there are a variety of speed optimizations which can be applied to a new website throughout the build process that you will want to take advantage of.

 

  • Easy to update, easy to use
    Are there times you would like to add a video, a photo, or maybe some new text for your website, but are unable to because it was built at a time when all updates had to be performed in code? That’s another sign it’s time to upgrade. For the average business, user updatable content via an easy to use Content Management System (CMS) is a standard feature among modern websites; oftentimes via the ubiquitous WordPress Content Management System. Even if your website has an old CMS of it’s own, newer advances and upgrades to the core WordPress experience (along with secure, managed WordPress hosting from Meyer Computer, Inc.) make it worth the time and minor expense to update your website.

 

  • SSL? HTTPS? What’s that?
    You may have noticed for some time now, a small lock icon at the top of your browser when you go to many websites. That’s a sign that the website you’re visiting has a valid SSL certificate which, in layman’s terms, means your session with the website in question is validated to be secure and trustworthy. This is especially important in parts of the website that need that extra layer of security (and the peace of mind it brings) where a user might submit their personal, banking, credit card, contact, etc. information through your website. An additional bonus: This need for security when browsing is yet another important signal that Google looks for when determining how and where to rank your website in their search engine. No SSL is a no go with Google.

 

  • Making it marketable
    Does your website still have old, depreciated meta tags, text content that doesn’t reflect your current business as best it could, or maybe numerous pages with small amounts of ignorable text thrown on there as an afterthought? As the saying goes, “Content is King” and a website without content simply will not measure up to the expectations of your visitors or your best friend, Google. When you’re redesigning your website, keep the importance of content in mind, and make sure to work with your webmaster on an online marketing and search engine optimization plan that will get potential customers to your site and keep them coming back for more!

 

Ready to get your new website rolling for 2019 and beyond? Contact your local web design and online marketing experts at Meyer Computer, Inc. today!

Thinking of building a new website for your business, but not quite sure which direction to pursue? Have a look at some of our new and notable designs to help give you a few ideas:

 

Client: North Fourth Publications

Industry: Entertainment / Visual Arts

Website: UnderTheCottonWoodTree.com

Notable Features:

  • Big, bold graphics coupled with video and text content rendered in a client specified font greatly enhances visual appeal and impact.
  • Parallax scrolling effect allows for background previews of graphic novel pages integrated for added visual flair.
  • Single page, “infinite scroll” type website allows for all information to be accessed easily with a few quick swipes of your finger or scroll wheel.
  • Fully responsive design is optimized for viewing on virtually any screen type.

 

Client: Sakamoto Properties

Industry: Real Estate

Website: 4584MakenaRoad.com

Notable Features:

  • Single property website perfect for marketing upscale real estate listings.
  • Designed to integrate with the client’s overall brand identity and brokerage website, SakamotoProperties.com.
  • Single page, “infinite scroll” type website allows for quick and easy access to essential property information.
  • Optimized to be easily accessible on virtually any device.

 

Client: Karen L. Browne

Industry: Real Estate

WebsiteMauiWiseProperties.com

Notable Features:

  • Advanced IDX Maui home search integration.
  • Maui Information and Condo Information databases allow for access to a wealth of information on the island of Maui as well as expanded condominium information.
  • Modern, easy to browse design aesthetic.

 

Client: Elizabeth Keller

Industry: Visual Arts

Website: ElizabethKellerArt.com

Notable Features:

  • Uncluttered design for local artist Elizabeth Keller.
  • Multi-format, easy to browse, image gallery showcasing artists’ latest and greatest works.
  • Responsive web design optimized for mobile consumption.

 

Client: Dr. Virginia Cantorna

Industry: Medical

Website: DrCantorna.com

Notable Features:

  • Accessible web design with important patient focused information directly on the front page; laid out in an easy to read manner for prospective patients.
  • Easy to update resources and FAQ pages to help inform prospective clients of the types of services Dr. Cantorna offers and assist in managing their expectations.
  • Quick access to office address, a dynamic Google map/directions, and office contact information on every page.
  • Fully responsive web design optimized for desktop and mobile.

 

Now that you have some ideas (and questions?) for your new website, schedule a free consultation with us today and let Meyer Computer, Inc. help you take your business online! Mahalo!

Many long time readers will no doubt recall MauiRealEstateDirectory.com as a premier source of information for those looking to buy, sell, and/or invest in the exciting real estate market on Maui. Over the years, the Maui Real Estate Directory mission has been to provide valuable information and insight on all aspects of the real estate market on the island of Maui in a consumer friendly, easily accessible format. For 2018 the Directory has received a number of upgrades in an effort to provide this information to a wider audience. Here is a look at some of the new and improved features of this valuable Hawaii real estate resource:

  • Mobile Friendly / Optimized Design
    The new MauiRealEstateDirectory.com has been re-built from the ground up with a modern user interface optimized for viewing on virtually any device. Try it on your phone, tablet, computer, or other device to see the difference at MauiRealEstateDirectory.com
  • Secure Connection (SSL/HTTPS)
    To help keep their users safe while complying with Google’s latest best practices, the Maui Real Estate Directory website is fully secure, as evidenced by the ever more common “Connection is Secure” icon in the address bar.
  • Enhanced Featured Maui Real Estate Agents and Maui Real Estate Brokers Pages
    Looking for a first home, second condo, or investment property on Maui but don’t know where to start? Visit the Featured Maui Real Estate Agents and Featured Maui Real Estate Brokers pages to discover the best real estate agents and agencies on the island. Compare information, visit their website(s), or contact them to discuss all your Maui real estate needs.
  • Maui Real Estate Resources
    Want a top architectural firm to design your new home? A construction firm to build it? Or maybe you want to finance a new home, or have one of your current properties appraised prior to putting it on the market? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you should visit the Maui Real Estate Directory Resources section for an always expanding list of top firms and specialists on the island, ready to help you achieve your Maui real estate goals.
  • Market Trends
    One of the most popular sections on MauiRealEstateDirectory.com, Market Trends gives you the latest information on the state of real estate on Maui in a colorful, easy to read format. Published monthly by the Realtors Association of Maui, these real estate market reports are a great resource for consumers as well as for those in the industry.
  • Spotlight Blogs
    Saving the best for last: If you want up to the minute information on Maui’s real estate market and more, then take a long look at the Spotlight Blogs section. Featuring blogs from top Maui Realtors and brokerages, you will find a wealth of information ranging from current featured listings to upcoming events and items of interest in these articles. Come back to this section often as new blogs are added on a regular basis.

Want to find out more? Pop on over to MauiRealEstateDirectory.com and enjoy!

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.

We’ve done a couple of blogs on revamping your website and bringing it up-to-date. If you’ve followed along then you’ve rebuilt your website using a responsive, mobile first methodology. You’ve installed an SSL certificate and made sure the site loads securely and is only served up via https. And now you’re ready to unveil your new site! Wait… what do you mean we have time to go get a cup of coffee while it loads?

What do you mean we have time to get a cup of coffee while your website loads?

It’s no secret that today most visitors to your website are viewing it on a phone. That’s why you’re going to all this trouble re-building your website in the first place. This means when you build your new site you need to take many things into consideration. Not just how your site looks and responds on a mobile device, but also how quickly your site loads. Users on phones are not always sitting in a home or office with wifi. They could be browsing your site while riding to work, waiting in line at Starbucks for their grande frappa dappa whatchamacallit, or while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office because of that nasty rash, wishing they’d just listened to their mother and not… never mind. But one thing is certain, wherever they are using their phone, they are probably in a hurry.

According to madeupstatistics.com when mobile users try and access a website that loads too slowly 47% have yelled profanities at their phone, 32% have thrown their phone against a wall and caused an average of $300 worth of drywall damage, 22% have created a public scene scaring small children and animals, 13% have put their phone into a blender and made iPhone puree, and 7% have destroyed their phone, given away all their belongings, and moved to a small South American country to sell beads.

Okay, so I may have made all that up. But the frustration is real. Here are some real numbers: In 2017 Google found that 53% of mobile site visits have a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And conversion rates are lower for mobile visitors than desktop visitors. The time it takes for your page to load is directly related to how many people stay and use it, so is directly related to revenue. If more visitors are using their phones, and phone visitors are more likely to bounce on a slow website and not convert, then the revenue from your website could be trending in the wrong direction.

Is my website too slow?

When we start to feel we’ve gotten a bit too sedentary, maybe put on a few pounds, the first step we take is to go to our doctor and get a physical — maybe run some tests and see where we’re at and what we need to do. (I know, most of us don’t check with our doctor first. We just buy a gym membership and then forget to go). The same is true for your website. You need to find out if it’s slow, and how it compares to the competition. You need to run some tests. Fortunately, this is easier to do on your website than it is on yourself. There are several website speed test tools that will check your site out and tell you how it stacks up. First, see what Google thinks of your page speed. This is a tough test based on a 3G phone connection. Another Google test is PageSpeed Insights. You can also check at Pingdom.com and GTmetrix.com. If you’re ready for a comprehensive analysis of your entire website, including site speed, we can help. We’ll also give you some tips and ideas on things you can do to speed up your site.

How do I speed up my website?

You can break your website down into four main file types: HTML, which is the content on your site; JavaScript, which is the functionality of your site; style sheet files, used to control the look of your site; and image files, which are, well… images.

Slim down your image files

The most common issue slowing down websites are un-optimized images. If you’re adding images to your site and not taking the time to optimize them first, then your site is almost certainly slower than it should be. And even if you are optimizing your images, they could probably be optimized more. If you’re using Wordpess there are plugins that can help with image load speeds: Smush and Shortpixel for example.

Website speed loss converts directly to revenue loss.

Speaking of plugins, it can be tempting to load your site up with all the latest and greatest. But there is a cost to this, often in website speed. And if your site is for your business then that speed loss converts directly to revenue loss. Take an inventory of what plugins your site is running and see if any are slowing your site down, and if there are any you can live without.

Squish those JavaScript and Style Sheet Files

One of the reasons plugins can slow your site down is because each one probably needs to load its own JavaScript and style sheet files. Both the number of files loaded, and their size, contribute to your sites overall load time. If you’ve already stripped away any files you don’t need, then you can speed things up further by optimizing the remaining files and by combining them together so fewer requests need to be made when your page loads.

Don’t make your visitors browser work too hard to get your files – Caching and CDN

When your browser loads a website, many of the files are cached within the browser so that it will not need to call that file again if it’s used on a different page. You can also do caching at your website host, and this can help speed up your sites load time. WordPress, for example, stores it’s content in a database. Pulling that content out of the database and creating a webpage from it takes time. If that page can then be cached on the server then the next time it’s called that database query time and page compile time can be saved.

To take the caching concept even further, if your web pages are cached on multiple servers spread around the world, then when a user visits your website those pages could be pulled from the server closest to them. This is what a CDN, or Content Delivery Network, does. It will cache files used in your website on multiple servers so they can be pulled from the one closest to the visitor.

These are just some of the steps you can take to get your site to load faster. And remember, every second shaved off your sites load time translates to more money in your pocket. Making sure your website is responsive and mobile friendly, that it uses a SSL certificate and only loads via https, and is optimized for speed are all important investments into your business. And if you need help turning your website into a lean, mean, marketing machine we’re here to help.

Once you’re done revamping your website you can finally take a break; get some rest, binge watch Breaking Bad again. Or maybe not. If you’ve done all this, and are marketing your website, you’re probably too busy with all those new clients.

 

 

 

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.