Responsive web design is extremely critical in today’s world; it is necessary for survival among the fittest. No doubt mobile browsing has blown up and continues to grow exponentially. There are times where no matter how good a company’s web site looks on the monitor, if it is not “mobile friendly” and the user gets a poor experience, well, the site might as well be deemed no good at all. On a personal level, I can relate to the importance of mobile browsing. For example, after giving someone my business card usually one of the first things they do is pull out there iPhone, and look at my portfolio. If my personal site was not built with a responsiveness to adapt to different media devices and viewports such as the iPhone; and the viewer looking at my work does not have a good experience, this could jeopardize the integrity of my work and in turn, possibly be loosing future customers and contacts. I would like to quote Andy Clarke, web designer, author and founder of Stuff and Nonesense. Andy says, “Anything that’s fixed and unresponsive isn’t web design anymore, it’s something else. if you don’t embrace the inherent fluidity of the web, you are not a web designer, you’re something else. Web design is responsive design. Responsive Web Design is web design, done right”…
For this weeks blog I decided to interview a friend of mine and professional graphic/web designer.
What do you think is one the most important thing as a web designer? Thinking past static design & layout to consider the web at all screen sizes.
What about the creative process? We use a repeatable, successful pattern. It starts with sketching, wire framing, mock ups, rapid prototyping and then development .
How important is the creative process to you? Very! Synapse didn’t have designers a few years back, it was developers doing front end. Having designers makes a huge difference in the usability of web applications. Being classically trained as a graphic designer helps me daily in web design. I use the principles of design, like color theory, rhythm, balance etc. these fundamentals are paramount!
What is your outlook on simplicity? Simplicity depends on necessity. That is one thing designers forget with the web design and graphic design in general. They feel like they need to fill all the space like it is some “hole to fill” esp. junior designers. Question the necessity of everything you include in the design and then question whether is it presented in the best way possible.
What about the the placement of things like “call to actions?” You want to make sure your main call to action is available and accessible almost anywhere. If you’re delivering information you want it at the end of that information. It should be the most prominent path for a user to take.
What do you think about traditional web placement i.e. headers etc. and switching the placement of them up, in non traditional ways? It really depends on the users of the site or app. Sites that have the same user base are better candidates than sites that have mostly unique visitors. Additionally, younger, more techie users are going to figure out the placement of things and are less likely to get frustrated. With users that struggle you probably want a more conservative layout. You have to determine purpose of the site and the target audience. A marketing site is going to be selling products/services, reference website will be delivering information etc.
Any input for junior web designer? Mobile first approach, responsive design and write clean code!
A web sites web banner is by far one of the most important area of a site. It is what people see first, this is where the viewer makes initial visual contact and gets an overall feel and vibe of the site, and ultimately decides if they want to continue on or not. I can not tell you how many web sites I have left due to the fact they had a weak header. Even though it is the content that matters in todays world people judge books by there covers, and the web banner is the cover. I like this piece of information I found online, it is from a graphic designer and multiple business owner named Dawn Papandrea-Khan. She states, “usually when we visit a website or blog, we can get a feel for what the site represents in only a few seconds. This is the reason why it is even more important to focus on making the right first impression through a custom header graphic.”
As a designer, there are a few key aspects and bits of information I think the header should contain. The company, the product etc. Which brings me to my next point I found in an online blog talking about this exact topic. This is from boostability.com the importance of a header.
1. Who are you? (You would be amazed how many websites make their visitors dig around to find out the name of the company!)
2. What do you do? (Again, the number of visitors who are forced to assume your site sells a product rather than just talks about it is ridiculous. Be clear!)
3. Why should I buy from you, not the other guy?
The web is littered with garbage, visual noise and a bunch of sites that house web banners that all look the same. It is up to me as the designer to produce clean, visually interesting web banners that represents the sites overall demeanor and entice people to stay on the site and explore further. It is also up to me to find new and exciting ways to display the content so we can separate ourselves from the crowd. Also, I feel like in design I have to take risks. I have to try new and “edgy” things and think outside the normal design box that I often get tunnel visioned in. I would also like to explore maybe trying a banner with out the traditional rectangle box, maybe another shape or placement? That is something definitely for the sketchbook and some thought.
When choosing a click-focused bid strategy, is clicking the “Enable Enhanced CPC” button always the right choice? What Enhanced CPC means is exactly how it sounds, it optimizes your cost per click if Adwords presumes it as beneficial, or not beneficial, to your campaign. This feature can increase your bids for clicks by up to 30% if deemed good for the campaign, and lower the bid by any amount if it seems that the campaign will not benefit. Seems awesome right? This may not necessarily be the case.
While Enhanced CPC can be beneficial for a campaign with a good history of conversion data, a new campaign with Enhanced CPC will most likely not perform at its best. It can drive down traffic for a new campaign and make your campaign not work as how you would’ve hoped. It’s not going to do a good job if there is no data to base its bid decisions over. What is our verdict?
Use it for a campaign with good historic conversion data. This is where the Enhanced CPC feature may perform at its best and be the most beneficial to your Adwords campaign, with potential for increased conversion rate, increase ROI, and overall lower costs. However,for a new campaign, we recommend not using it. Be smart with Enhanced CPC, make sure it’s right for you.
When we are called here for PPC consultation or to take over someone’s campaign, we often find that a decent campaign is created, however it is left stagnant and on “autopilot”. The thing with PPC is that is cannot be left to run on its own! Things change in Adwords (Bing too!) in minutes, even seconds at a time, leaving your well performing keyword potentially in the dust in no time. We have developed some “best practices” at Web-Op to optimize our marketing campaigns. These have to monitored daily, and even hourly in some instances. So how should you keep a close eye on your Adwords/Bing campaign? Follow some of these tips from the experts here at Web-Op.
- Identify the poor performers: These are the “low hanging fruit”. Poor performers can include ads/keywords with low CTR, low clicks, or low conversions, depending on the age of the campaign. We also leverage data from Google Analytics which can tell us things like bounce rate and average visit duration. Poor performers are a gigantic waste of money. Without keeping a close eye on these, you are just throwing money away for nothing.
- Negative keywords: Let’s say you are advertising keywords like “computer repair services”. You may not want your ads to come up in search terms like “do it yourself computer repair”. Constant addition of negative keywords to your campaign can be very beneficial, and can keep your overall performance metrics toward the high-side.
- Average position: Keywords are given position, and this is something very important to watch for. Usually the top 3 positions have the best performance. We have found that position 2 (out of the 3) has the worst performance. We like to aim for position 1 to 3. Every keyword bid is different, so getting the optimal position can be quite tricky.
- Fix match types: Depending on the client, campaign, and budget, we will choose to mix keyword match types. With broad match terms, we have found that is it important to scale these back and use these as a good way to find what the best search terms are. Through scaling back broad match and adding search terms as a phrase match, we have seen the following statistics after just a week of managing PPC for a health supplement:
- Spend reduced 11.5%
- Conversions Increased 7%
- Cost Per Conversion Decreased 14.5%
- Conversion Rate increased 19%
- ROI increased 160%
- Budgets: In the end, you are spending the client’s money when managing their PPC campaign. Be wary of their daily budgets and if anything is getting maxed out, you can scale back on the poor performers or lower the position. More clicks for less money? Yup, it’s worth it.
PPC can be quite tricky, and it is for good reason. It takes a well optimized campaign, as well as the proper capital, to really get some good, solid, consistent performance. Don’t turn on autopilot, keep a close eye on your campaigns. You will be happy you did.
Every few months, Google gets a bee in its bonnet about a specific type of site, and usually rolls out a series of updates intended to clean up the results pages. We’ve seen it for directories and “content farms”, and untold man-hours have been devoted to keeping “payday loans” clean and safe.
With the recent “Panda 4.0″ update, a few sites have began publishing lists of “Winners and Losers”. The more interesting aspect is what happens when we look at similar lists over time. a clear trend appears.
Again and again, you see rank drops for the “sites that list every major domain” — this typically falls into one of three categories:
Google reported earnings that beat the street yesterday, yet some are are pointing to lower CPC’s with a cautionary tone. As it turns out CPC’s are down about 8% year over year. I expect that to fall further – yet im still bullish on Google and so is everyone else apparently:
So Why Are CPC’s Down?
- Mobile web traffic is up considerably at the expense of desktop traffic. Some research shows a combined 20% market share for mobile/desktop in Q3 of 2013. Web-Op manages several sites where 30% or more of organic traffic is coming from mobile devices and tablets. Most small web marketers (adwords‘ bread and butter) still haven’t adapted to this shift. Its not just small advertisers either.
- Two thirds of Fortune 100 websites don’t serve mobile friendly versions
As Google applies more and more pressure (in the form of threatened penalties) on companies to produce mobile friendly formats – mobile traffic should perform better and better.
As important as all part of a website are, link can be one of the major players in determining your website rank. After all, you’ll never rank without links. Google was originally built on an algorithm that weighted the amount of anchor text links in a site to determine its relevance in search results. Essentially, Google treats these links as votes, where more votes means higher rank. However, you can’t just spam your website with a variety of links which lead your visitors to something unrelated. Google has installed many mechanisms to ensure the quality of these links. These make sure that the links are relevant, segmented correctly, and from different IP addresses. Link building is important, and it’s just another piece of the puzzle in effective SEO.
Whenever you do a specific search for a product or service in a location on Google, you will notice a list of local businesses in that area next to a map. Ever wonder that is, and how to get your business on that list? That is Google Places, the next best thing to help your business succeed.
Google Places pretty much acts as an online yellow pages account for your business, combined with a personalized web page. Customers can visit this page to find out all kinds of information about your business, from basic contact information, to YouTube videos, reviews, photos, and more. This little known area of Google is essential for local businesses looking to create that extra edge.
Let’s say you are looking for something specific, say “pizza in Chicago”, or “Chicago pizza”. The first page you see an alphabetized list of local restaurants in Chicago offering pizza on their menus. These businesses have Google Places accounts, allowing them to easily make first page search engine results on Google. See the potential in this? Web-Op specializes in managing your Google Places account for your business, allowing your customers to keep up to date on your information and allowing for no missed opportunities in rankings to go unnoticed.
To learn more about Google Places and Web-Op services in this area, please refer to http://web-op.com/google-places.php.