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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

With Google any change is a big change, but this is HUGE!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Google has long held the key to consumers locating information about what they are interested in. Searching through Google is simple and fast. As a business, the keywords located on the pages of your website were used to determine where Google ranked you. The better the use of keywords, the higher you would be located when someone searched for what you offer. That’s about to change!

Google recently announced that it would make a change to its search algorithms, the biggest change that they’ve made in years. This is definitely something to be taken seriously. A website’s “mobile friendliness” will now play a key role in the way it is ranked. Sites that are not set up to be optimized for mobile will appear lower in the search pages.

The term mobile friendly means that websites are designed to work fluidly when a user is on a smartphone. The plan is to scan each page on a site, checking for load times, responsive design elements and simplicity in movement from page to page. The main things to bear in mind are:

  • text sizes that are readable without zooming
  • content fits the screen so scrolling and zooming aren’t necessary
  • spacing links appropriately so tapping the correct one isn’t too difficult

Flash will be a big problem too. It is not commonly supported on mobile devices and Google will factor that into search rankings.

Why is this such a big deal? With mobile searches growing at 10 times the rate of desktop searches, businesses that don’t have mobile friendly sites stand to lose a third of their traffic. Currently, more than 66% of Fortune 100 companies do not have mobile friendly websites, so this is set to have a huge impact. While the announcement stated that tablet searches won’t be affected, that change is likely in the pipeline, so it is worth getting ahead of this change.

There is something worth noting. Google will be checking every page, however, the algorithm will be applied on a page-by-page basis, not to the whole site. This means that as different pages become mobile friendly they can start to benefit from the SEO boost offered by this update. If you are not in a position for an overhaul, your focus should be on your homepage and commonly used areas of the site.

Don’t yet see just how your business will be affected? Consider that in the year 2015, over 1.9 billion people will be using smartphones. By 2018, over one-third of consumers worldwide will use smartphones. The numbers are staggering when you think about it. Through the first quarter of 2015, 43% of mobile traffic was for searches. Put the numbers together and imagine where this is going to go.

For businesses, it’s a sobering wake-up call. Get up to speed on mobile or be left behind. If you don’t, you’re going to get lost in search results, see a huge decrease in web traffic and, naturally, a loss in revenue will follow. Currently, 89% of all smartphone users worldwide conduct searches on Google. Until the search ranking update is fully implemented, we won’t know what the effect will be on mobile and desktop search results. One thing is for sure, users can expect a mobile experience that is not only easier to view, but also easier to navigate.

This will definitely benefit businesses that have worked hard to optimize the mobile experience for consumers. They will have an SEO advantage over competitors that are lagging behind. This is a great opportunity to grow your business.

While this will have no effect on searches from desktop computers, it is to the benefit of all businesses to be quick to get up to speed with mobile and make sure your website delivers a positive consumer experience. Consumers have a propensity to abandon your brand if they are struggling to look at your products, make purchases or contact you when on your site.

This is where SSMCreative can be of great assistance to ensure you don’t lose your Google ranking and get left behind. Our priority has been to make the websites we design visually appealing as well as mobile-friendly. Let us help you stay current with technology and ahead of the businesses that won’t see the benefit this change will have. It’s worth making the changes now before your profits take a hit. Feel free to contact us at (215) 679-3380 or pat@ssmcreative.com. It’s what we are excellent at and will keep you at the top of the search page!

Mobile Website or Mobile Application?

Friday, January 30th, 2015

When making the choice to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want to create a mobile application for users to download to their phone or a mobile website, or both. While apps and websites can look very similar at first glance, determining which is best suited for your needs depends upon a number of factors including target audience, available budget, intended purpose and required features.

What is the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app?

In order to best evaluate the benefits of a mobile website vs. an app, you need to understand the key differences between the two. Both options are accessible on handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android, etc.) and tablets.

A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it contains browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the internet. What obviously distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface.

Like any website, mobile websites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile specific features such as click-to-call or location based mapping.

Apps, on the other hand, are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device specific portals like Apple’s App Store or Android Market in order to download an app for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the internet, similarly to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an internet connection.

Which is better – a mobile website or an app?

When it comes to deciding whether to build an application or a mobile website, the most appropriate choice really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game, an app is more than likely to be your best option. If your goal is to offer mobile friendly content to the widest possible audience, a mobile website is the best fit for you. In some instances, the need for both may arise.

For the majority of people, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.

Advantages of a Mobile Website

  • Instant Availability Through the use of a browser, a mobile website is instantly accessible, whereas with an application the user must download and install the app from the app marketplace before having the opportunity to view or use the content.
  • Compatibility A mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices. Native apps require separate versions to be developed for each type of device.
  • Upgradability In terms of pure flexibility, a mobile website is much more dynamic than an app when it comes to content updating. If you need to change the design or content of a mobile website, you simply publish the edit once and the changes are immediately visible. Updating an app requires updates to be pushed to users, which then must be downloaded in order to update the app on each type of device.
  • Findability Mobile websites are much easier to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and live in industry-specific directories. Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site when they are on a handheld device. Apps, on the other hand, are basically restricted to manufacturer app stores.
  • Shareability The URLs of mobile websites are easily shared between users via a simple link, such as within an email or text, Facebook or Twitter post. An app simply cannot be shared in this fashion.
  • Dual Functionality Mobile websites can also be an app. They can be developed as database-driven web applications that act very much like native apps. A mobile web app can be a practical alternative to native app development.
  • Time and Cost Last but definitely not least, mobile website development is considerably more time and cost effective than the development of a native app, especially if you require a presence on different platforms.

When does it make sense to develop an app?

  • Interactivity/Gaming For interactive games, an app is almost always going to be your best choice.
  • Regular Usage/Personalization If your target users are going to be using your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis, then an app provides the best way to do that.
  • Complex Calculations or Reporting If you need to take data and manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports, an app will be a very effective tool to use.
  • No Connection Required If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection, then an app makes sense.

When developing an app, you want to ensure that you are getting an optimal return on your investment. What you definitely want to avoid at all costs is the needless and expensive exercise of building an app to do something basic that can be achieved with a mobile website.

Summary
Considering that smart phones and mobile platforms are a relatively new and ever-evolving frontier, the ‘app vs. web’ question will remain a very real question for organizers seeking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing driven or your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found on search engines, then a mobile website is the logical choice. However, if your goal is interactive engagement with users or to provide an application that works more like a computer program than a website, the use of a mobile app would best fit your needs.

At SSMCreative, we are tasked with helping clients figure out the best way to reach customers and drive consumers to their businesses in the most effective way. We have had a great deal of success developing interactive websites that function seamlessly on mobile devices.

Catching Up On The Craziness

Monday, December 9th, 2013

There’s never a dull moment here at SSMCreative and it’s nice when the craziness results in satisfied clients.

childrens-allianceWe’ve been working with the Children’s Care Alliance since April to create their online presence. Located in the Lehigh Valley, CCA is a collaboration of local hospitals, school districts and care providers. With the support of the Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Health Care, the CCA is committed to improving the quality of health care for children of the Lehigh Valley. The CCA has developed a health information exchange, the Virtual Health Village, which allows for participating children’s health information to be shared electronically among health care providers in order to greatly improve the continuity of care received by those children.

The site, childrenscarealliance.org, is an educational tool that provides important information for parents and health care providers. The site also allows parents to complete and submit consent forms for their children to participate in the Virtual Health Village.

The site was launched on Monday, November 25th.

open-linkOn Wednesday, November 27th, we launched theopenlink.org. The Open Link is a newly formed organization that joined 2 previously separate organizations in the Upper Perkiomen Valley – The Open Line and the Upper Perkiomen Senior Center. The Open Link provides community services, food and nutrition services and adult education services to qualified individuals in the Upper Perkiomen Valley.

The site, theopenlink.org, is an informational tool that provides important information about the array of services offered by The Open Link to individuals and families in the Upper Perkiomen Valley.

Both designs were implemented as responsive so site visitors can easily access each site from any device.

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Sites

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Apps are the buzz and have been for the last couple of years. Everyone is saying, “I want a mobile app!” There’s a big problem with that though and it’s the same issue that people had when the web started to really become ubiquitous. Everyone said, “I need a website” which at the time just really wasn’t true (and at times still isn’t). What you need to do is define is what your goals are. Clearly defined goals will help you decide what will help you reach those goals. If your goal is to sell tickets to your next event, how’s a mobile app going to do that and could it be done faster and more cost effectively with a mobile web solution? If your app is only going to be informational then the answer is simply that you should let a website provide that information for you. There’s no point in getting someone to download an application that’s just going to provide them with the same information that they can get on a website through their mobile browser. (more…)