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Why the Responsive Design Trend Is Becoming the New Industry Standard
According to SearchEngineWatch.com, mobile Internet usage increased by over 73% in the year 2014 and now exceeds PC Internet usage for the first time in history. This means that businesses should consider responsive web design as a solution to ensuring their website is compatible across any and all devices.
Responsive Web Design is often misunderstood as a term to describe any website that appears “mobile-friendly”, but there are many differences to an actual responsive site and a site that merely appears mobile-friendly. Responsive websites use one single HTML code that fluidly changes the size of the site using CSS as the size of the user’s device changes. The key difference is in the amount of HTML codebases: a responsive site will always have only one, while a dynamically-served site will have multiple codebases that a server will choose from depending on the size of the device detected.
With so many mobile users in the world, it is critical to have a website that responds to the variable screen size rather than scaling down to a lower resolution. A website must appear beautiful on all kinds of devices - from a 50” television to a tablet, a laptop and every phone in between. There are many strategies for developing a mobile-friendly website, but choosing a responsive web design offers additional benefits that increase user-experience and aid in business:
- Flexible web page rendering: the user will always experience a 100% width website that is adapted to their particular screen size. There will never be a need to zoom on a responsive website because the site has already adapted to the user.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Google, the largest search engine to date, dictates what search engine optimization practices websites need to adhere to in order to be found. Google has clearly indicated that it prefers responsive web designs to mobile templates because there is a single website URL to crawl and index the website. Likewise, there is a greater reduction in search engine optimization errors because all occur only once rather than for desktop and for mobile.
- Easy long-term maintenance: using one HTML file structure for the entire site means less development on the backend. Less development means time efficiency and a lower cost when making changes and maintaining the site.
- Bounce rate reduction: User experience strongly dictates your business’s bounce rate. If there is a consistent user experience among devices as well as an ease of navigation, the website is considered more trustworthy to the user. The easier to navigate, the longer a user is likely to stay on your site.
- Easy sharing: Instead of detecting multiple URL’s (such as m.title.com and www.title.com), responsive web design only uses one URL that allows for consistent and easy sharing among all users, devices, social marketing platforms, and experiences.
As technology evolves, websites- how they are designed and how they are built, will adapt further, (perhaps even into 3D?). 5.1 billion people in the world of the 6.8 billion-world population are now smartphone users. While responsive design may not be feasible for every business, it is a great option to consider when considering your customer base.
What Does This Mean for Your Social Marketing Strategy?
In November 2014, Facebook announced that beginning in January 2015 they would be killing the organic reach for business page posts in user’s newsfeeds, meaning businesses cannot offer promotional deals via a post for their business such as:
“Huge sale on Mother’s Day bouquets! Use the code FacebookMOM for an additional 15% off.”
Posts like this will no longer show up on an individual’s newsfeed. Instead, the business will have to pay to advertise on the site to show up as promotional. While this is good for the every day user who was tired of ads, what does this mean for your small business and your social marketing strategy?
Facebook is unclear about what their algorithm will consider “overly promotional”, so a few months of data will be necessary to completely determine the impact of this change; however, businesses are already reporting a significant decline in their organic reach, some up to as much as 75-90%.
A few ideas to consider to adding to your social marketing strategy in light of this Facebook change:
- Add social relationships and interactions to your own website. Write blogs that your users are interested and want to share. Encourage a direct relationship with your customer because their organic reach can be far more powerful than businesses ever could.
- Don’t make Facebook the center of your businesses marketing strategy and interaction with your customers. Encourage them to sign up for newsletters to stay in contact with your business. Newsletters delivered by email are served 90% of the time while Facebook posts are served 2% of the time. Fostering a relationship via newsletter is going to be much more effective in the long run than relying on social marketing.
Facebook killing organic reach is going to be unfortunate and costly for businesses, so reconsider your 2015-2016 social marketing strategy in order to maximize the effectiveness of both your website and your social media for your customers.