Responsive & Mobile-Ready
The days when yellow pages listings were the pinnacle of business discovery are long gone. Nowadays, people discover businesses via Google, Bing, and Yahoo—search engines that make it a breeze to find companies, along with information like their operational hours and prices. If your business doesn't appear in the search results, especially on the first page, it will be incredibly difficult for potential customers to find you. So, you must build an SEO-ready website if you want to be competitive—and make money.
This year most potential customers will discover your website from a mobile device. Here are six statistics you need to know:
- 90% of connected devices are now smartphones and tablets.
- 80% of consumers shop on smartphones.
- 70% of all mobile searches lead to some type of action within an hour.
- 50% of users will choose a different search result if the first one isn't mobile-friendly.
- 50% of mobile users ages 18 to 29 use their smartphones for searches every day.
- More people in the world own smartphones than toothbrushes.
(Yes, that last one is a bit startling. Nonetheless, internationally recognized author & CEO Jamie Turner researched the claim and concluded that 3.5 billion people own toothbrushes and 4 billion own smartphones. Maybe next year's smartphones will have an app for that?)
Ethan Marcotte coined the term Responsive Web Design in 2010 to describe a solution to the problem of a growing number of device screen sizes on which websites would be viewed over the coming years. The term remains confusing to many; the word adaptive might have been clearer—we need our websites to adapt to the size of the user's device screen.
Mobile-first has been a web design mantra for several years now, and most websites that aren't user-friendly across the broad spectrum of devices have already met their demise. What do you do when you pull up a website on your mobile device and much of the page's information falls outside the boundaries of your screen? If you're like most users, you move on to a mobile-friendly site.
A website is like chewing gum; if it loses its flavor too quickly, it will just as quickly be discarded. The challenge is to build a website that holds its flavor long enough to convert the visitor into a customer, fan, or follower.
Yet there remains a hefty base of desktop Mac and PC users that won't be going away anytime soon (if ever). And don't forget the hybrid user who might discover your site on mobile, then switch to desktop later to get more information and/or make a purchase. Mobile users and desktop users: if we are in business, then we ignore either of these groups at our own peril. That is why my approach at Lost Highway Media is everything-first. I plan, design, develop, and test across a variety of device screens and browsers.
But responsiveness is only the first of a three-step strategy. The second step is to enable your site to draw traffic—pretty essential, right? That's where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes in. Google's search bots look at a site's responsiveness, structure, and content. Poorly-structured, non-responsive sites will show up lower on the list of search results. The bottom line is: sites that are not at the top of Google's (and other engines') search results are dead in the water.
A website is like chewing gum; if it loses its flavor too quickly, it will just as quickly be discarded. The challenge is to build a website that holds its flavor long enough to convert the visitor into a customer, fan, or follower. The term bounce rate refers to the number of users who abandon a site a few seconds after arriving at its home page, and a high bounce rate means that a website is failing to offer elements that capture and hold visitors' attention.
So the third and most important step in our strategy is to design a great user experience; when it comes to responsiveness, the real-world response we're looking for is an emotional one. My mission at Lost Highway Media is to facilitate that response, starting with responsive web design and search engine optimization, then to build upon that with just the right combination of imagery, typography, and copywriting to help lift your brand... out of the white noise and into the vista.