Gate Customer Newsletter
Issue: February 2015

Mobile Apps Win Out: Mobile-Optimizing Your Website

Although many users seem to favor mobile applications, retailers should not let their websites fall by the wayside. Especially in certain industries, many individuals still prefer to connect with brands via their web pages.

Recent research shows that while users spend more time on mobile apps, mobile websites produce more sales than their application cousins. Fifty-five percent of consumers made a purchase via a mobile website last December, according to eMarketer. This is in comparison to the 34 percent who completed a transaction on a mobile app. Moreover, 32 percent of American consumers regularly make purchases via mobile websites, according to statistics from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Apps may be where mobile users spend most of their time…but when it comes to spending money, mobile websites are where consumers funnel their funds,” eMarketer stated.

Therefore, when enhancing or building your own website for your company, it is critical to consider mobile optimization. But how can organizations go about ensuring that their website is fit for use on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device? Here are a few tips and best practices for mobile optimization:

Utilize similar brand elements, but simplify

In order to create a unified experience across your desktop website and the mobile-optimized version, designers should seek to leverage matching brand elements, suggested SocialMedia Examiner. These can include the brand’s name, logo and color pallette.

However, the mobile website shouldn’t be an exact copy of the regular site. Designers should aim to simplify elements, content and capabilities for mobile users, whose screen size is often limited.

“Given the restricted amount of screen space, it’s important to figure out what key pieces of information your visitors will probably be looking for,” SocialMedia Examiner noted. “It’s also important to keep the steps involved in going from entry point to purchase as simple as possible.”

Build a responsive mobile website

WPExplorer contributor Tom Ewer also emphasized ensuring that the mobile website is responsive so that it reacts appropriately to the size of any mobile device. For instance, a responsive site is displayed differently when viewed on a smartphone versus when accessed via a tablet or desktop computer. Components are automatically arranged according to the device’s screen size and display capabilities. This projects an impage of a modern, technologically inclined business.

“Having a responsive design to your site simply means that it will be customized automatically, no matter what source your viewer is visiting from,” Ewer wrote. “Pretty cool, right?”

Graphics and text: Choose wisely

Remember when we talked about simplifying the mobile website? The same principle should be applied not only to brand elements, but the text and graphics of the site as well. Ewer advised eliminating all but the important graphics, particularly those that are elaborate. The same goes for text content – users aren’t likely to zoom and scroll to read text, so this information should be included judiciously. While a lack of bells and whistles may seem questionable, users will likely enjoy the site more without these needless additions.

“Forget about all the ‘frills’ that many sellers try to use to garner more attention to their products,” Ewer wrote. “Give shoppers only what they need to make an informed purchase.”

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In This Issue
Mobile Apps Win Out: Mobile-Optimizing Your Website
Addressing Today’s Top Communication Pain Points
Can a YouTube Video Help Your Google Ranking?
Connect with Us on Social Media
Newsletter Broadcast
Newsletter Broadcast
Do-It-Yourself Web Presence

Feb. 10, 2015
3 Major Changes to SEO

Social Media Today
Feb. 5, 2015
7 Dos and Don'ts to Optimize Your Professional Services Firm’s Web Presence

Feb. 6, 2015
4 Small-Business Marketing Tips for Targeting Generational Gaps

Addressing Today’s Top Communication Pain Points

Communication is a cornerstone of corporate activities in any era or industry. Co-workers, partnering organizations and customers must be able to reach out and connect with one another in order to ensure smooth transactions and other business dealings. Although there is little doubting the importance of being able to communicate both internally and externally, many companies are still facing significant issues when it comes to this all-important function.

The problem’s nothing new, either: A 2012 Forrester study underlined the obstacles that many firms deal with when it comes to communication, particularly with integrating and using new platforms to connect with stakeholders and consumers. In fact, Forrester found that, at the time, many organizations still used legacy communication technology for their main purposes.

"[A]ll are worried about smart devices, pervasive video and social media that give new power to customers — allowing them to interact easily with customer service agents, pass information electronically and complete business transactions on the run," Forrester stated. "[T]here is a disturbing communications gap that is getting worse by the day…[L]egacy systems that still dominate communications as a significant barrier to support modern communications."

While aging technology platforms are a serious hindrance, they aren’t the only communication problem companies deal with.

Study shows common business communication pain points

According to Entrepreneur, there are several pain points that the majority of companies — from large enterprises to small- and mid-size organizations — face when it comes to their communications:

  1. Waiting for the proper information to be communicated
  2. Dealing with unwanted communications
  3. Dealing with inefficient communications
  4. Addressing barriers that hamper communications
  5. Dealing with customer complaints

This study also found that the 70 percent of SMBs that experience these issues also see 17.5 hours of unproductive work time during the average week, translating to an approximate total loss of $26,041 each year. This time comes in direct connection with these pain points, illustrating the damaging effect insufficient communications have on a typical organization.

"SMBs need to enlist the most efficient and value-added technologies to enhance their business," noted a technology report from TDS. "Just because a communications system isn't 'broken' doesn't mean that it is working. Now is the time to look into leveraging resources with business communications technologies to gain increased productivity and create an integrated system for communication with employees, vendors, prospects and clients."

Addressing pain points through new technologies

As noted previously, many companies’ communications are held back by legacy technology. Upgrading such solutions can be a crucial investment, but communication technologies rapidly shift, making it difficult to determine what your company might need. According to VMblog contributor Curtis Peterson, 2015 will bring a number of communication changes that businesses must be ready for, including:

  • Reduced use of desktop and laptop computers
  • Increased utilization of cloud-based applications
  • Increased use of virtual meetings
  • Company-provided mobile devices for employees
  • Strengthened security for BYOD
  • Reduced utilization of on-premise technologies

In this way, many corporate communications needs will revolve around ensuring staff mobility through hand-held devices and cloud applications.

"The cloud has more than changed business in 2015, it's completely restructured the way we work, access information and perform business tasks on a daily basis," Peterson wrote. "The growth of the Internet of Things and the rise of the mobile workforce will only continue to spur this rapid change."

In order to deal with these changes, companies should leverage the services of an industry-leading cloud and communications provider like today.

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Can a YouTube Video Help Your Google Ranking?

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube provide inexpensive, effective marketing for products and services. One of the primary reasons businesses market through these channels is to gain higher page rankings for their websites. A higher ranking means the business site will appear higher in search engine results — increasing awareness of their products and services.

Are Google and YouTube Related?

Yes, indeed. Google owns YouTube, so YouTube videos rank highly in Google search results. Google’s secret algorithm to determine the ranking of YouTube videos is similar to that used for webpage rankings – based on determining the authority of a video channel or webpage. The higher your YouTube video is ranked, the higher its authority, and the higher it will appear in a keyword search.

Will My Popular Video Help My Website Rankings?

Only indirectly. Outgoing backlinks on YouTube contain “nofollow” code, so YouTube channels are useless for building backlinks that directly affect external page rankings. A popular video channel on YouTube may not directly affect your website rankings, but there will be an increase in traffic to your site.

This may result in more clicks, link-backs, and comments, which can then increase the ranking of the site in keyword searches. Because of this increased traffic, your popular YouTube video can indirectly have a very positive effect on your website rankings.

How Do I Increase My Video’s Popularity?

No matter how much you promote your video, viewers must find value and meaning in its content, or it won’t be popular enough to make a difference.

  • The first step is to perform some keyword research to determine how people search for the content in your video.
  • Then, search on YouTube using these keywords.
  • Look at the highest ranking videos that come up and note the keywords used and other content on their channel page.
  • Leave meaningful comments on these channels. This will create YouTube backlinks to your YouTube video channel, thus increasing your video’s exposure and popularity.
  • YouTube searchers are usually brand agnostic. They are content searchers so make your video content something that can live off your website and still be applicable. If it’s good content, then the brand recognition will come.
  • YouTube, in the last year, has become even more favored when it comes to showing up in organic searches.

Using social networking platforms effectively to promote your business requires constant updating and promotional activities. It can create many hours of work outside of core business operations, but when done properly, the value added in the form of brand awareness and authority is worth the effort.

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