According to Google, searches from mobile devices have surpassed those from desktops and laptops for the first time in their history. I have been talking about mobile for a little while nowwhile. Haven’t talked about it much here lately, but I was wandering the internet, taking a look at all the different geek blogs out there, and there’s thing called Mobilegeddon that really really has been dominating the airwaves.
Mobilegeddon is the term that folks came up with to describe the fact that Google says that they are now going to start using mobile friendliness as a search ranking factor. Okay. Well, when Google changes their algorithm, fortunes are won and lost.
Whenever they give you some warning, needless to say, people have plenty of time to agonize over it, even though they have no idea what the outcome will be. Well, that time has come and passed.
The results are kind of mixed bag, going back and forth. We will just have to keep our ear onto the ground and just kind of pay attention to see what’s coming out there, see what kind of results are there. If something does come out that’s worth noting, of course I will bring it to you, but as of right now, not so much. However, something that’s a little bit more important to pay attention to, other than the fact that Google has said they are going to change their search ranking factors, is the fact that Google is changing their search ranking factors and taking mobile into account.
Not so much the upshot of that, but the fact that Google, the 800-pound gorilla is adjusting it’s game plan because the herd has moved. More people are consuming the internet using their smart phones, using tablets, using whatever mobile device that they have. Well, that means that if Google thinks it’s important enough to change what it’s doing, what’s the odds that you or me might want to change what we are doing as well? Quite frankly, what that basically means is, instead of thinking about what your website looks like in terms of the desktop first, and then maybe thinking about what it looks like on a smart phone, you might want to give that smart phone and that tablet first billing. You might want to put an eyeball on that first. If you build your own website, make sure, make sure, and I know it’s very easy to ignore, that you take a look at what it looks like first before you close up shop and say “I’m good to go.”
If someone is building a website for you or has built a website for you, take a look at it on a smart phone. Make sure that it’s doing for you what it needs to do for you. Now, this is probably a good idea, a good place for me to remind you that your website has a job to do, and whether it be on a smart phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, or whatever, it still has to do that same job. It’s got to be rendered in such a way so that it doesn’t cause problems. Let me give you an example. Say you got a page and halfway down the page there’s two columns. In the left column, you have got your call to action to sign up for your newsletter. In the right column, you have the signup form, name, email address, for the newsletter. Okay, pretty straightforward. Kind of standard.
Well, what happens if when you … when someone comes to your website using a smart phone and the responsive design, and if you are not sure what responsive design is, it basically means the software rearranges elements on the page to make it look suitable on smaller screens. What happens when in the process of rearranging things, it takes the sign-up form and puts it above the call to action? That would be somewhat confusing. You need to have the call to action the first thing they come to, not the sign-up form itself. People who are on the internet have short attention spans. People who are smart phones have even shorter attention spans, so you can’t really afford to waste a visit to your website because your website’s confusing. That’s something that you need to pay attention to. If you have the ability to adjust it, cool, it’s no problem, but if you don’t, you rely on someone else, well, that is a problem.
I don’t know if you can hear that. I live in Las Vegas, and I haven’t had to complain about the Thunderbirds for awhile, but they are really annoying when I’m trying to record. Air Force! The big takeaway as far as mobile is concerned, is I really want you to start paying attention to your website in a mobile-first kind of way. That’s not to say mobile-first the way designers think mobile-first. That’s some deepest, darkest geekdom right there. I’m not going to get into it, other than to say in the old days, people built for the desktop and took things off the site so that it worked on a smart phone. Now, there’s some people or a certain school of thought that starts off by building a website for a smart phone and then adds to it as the form factor gets bigger.
Six in one hand, half dozen in the other, as far as I’m concerned, but what’s really important is that you look at your site and make sure it works no matter what. OK? Now, as far as a solution, as far as a solution, you have three different ways you can go. First off, there’s the responsive theme itself. If you have that, you are probably 99% there, for most people’s applications. You just have to realize that you may have some things that don’t work on a smart phone. Too much information. People who come on a smart phone aren’t looking to do homework. They also aren’t looking to do the same kind of research. A lot of times all you need to do, all you need to give them, is where are you? Are you open? What products do you use? What services do you have? Then maybe some background if they really want to go into it, that’s hidden behind like a navigation menu, but on that first page, everything that they need, right then and there, don’t make them hunt for it.
If you can’t do that, chances are, you are going to lose out to somebody else who has a better website that’s easily consumed on a smart phone. The key pieces of information, the one things that you want to make sure that you give to them. Oh, by the way, what is the biggest key piece of information? I will give you a little hint. It’s what you got your website up for in the first place. The call to action. The thing that you want them to do. They are nice enough to come to your website. Make sure you don’t confuse them as to what you want them to do. All those things need to be there. They need to be easy to consume.
Your choices on how you get that done, well there’s about three different versions, like we said. We talked about the responsive theme, to pick that. That’s like the first one. Almost all sites today that were made like in the last year and a half, two, pretty much use a responsive theme. Chances are, you may not have to do a thing. Then you can get a plugin. I personally like WP-Touch. It’s not the only one out there, but I have been using it forever. They were around long before the phrase mobile-friendly happened. This is back in the day. The reason I like it, is back even though I am a fan of responsive design, I’m not a fan of what it looks like when it gets to the smallest form factors.
I don’t like the way responsive design works when it gets to a smart phone. I prefer to basically just create a whole another megillah for the smart phone. That is something you can do with WP-Touch. It’s kind of cool because like I said, you don’t want to confuse people when they get down there. You know how when you look at a phone, you can look at it in portrait and landscape mode, yeah. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. WP-Touch clears all that up. Now, is the only one out there? Nope, it’s not the only one out there. The only thing I will tell you, no matter what which plugin you use, should you decide to go that route, and should you have your geek decide to go that route, just make sure that it’s well-supported.
The reason I say that is because as I was preparing for this presentation, this little conversation I was going to have with you, I went looking around in a place called Code Canyon. It’s running in Envato marketplace, the same place where ThemeForest was where I loved to get themes from, where they are at. I was looking at plugins that were out there, and there was this one that is proving my point about individual developers. Gorgeous website, it was a theme, but it was a nice little website, and at the bottom of the website it had a demo site.
Three different depictions of a smart phone with a QR code underneath each one. What you are supposed to do is scan the QR code, and that would give you the ability to look at the website on your phone. Well, I did. I did it three times. It didn’t render correctly three times. Chances are there was something that was easily fixed by that particular geek, but it didn’t work for me, so I’m like no. I don’t want to have to worry about it, especially since I know there is something else out there.
Whichever solution, whichever WordPress plugin you use as a solution, just make sure that it’s well-supported and that it works. Make sure you check out the demo site and make sure it looks good on your phone. When I say “your phone,” hopefully you got an Apple iPhone, and I’m sure you all don’t. Even if you don’t, and you got one of those Android phones that I love to make fun of, make sure you look at it on the devices because there are so many different devices out there, you want to make sure at least on those two platforms that your website looks good, as in delivers all the information you need to have delivered and is not distracting. OK?
You have got the responsive design as a choice. You pick a theme that has a responsive design. You have a plugin like WP-Touch as a choice. Then last but not least you have a service like Duda-Mobile. Duda-Mobile is a service where if you simply go to their website, plug in your domain name, they will create a mobile version of your website and kind of shoot it back to you. They will host it on their servers and all that other good stuff, and you pay them a certain amount per month. You can actually do it without paying them a certain amount per month, but you get this really goofy looking domain name that is not a domain name that you really want, so there’s a little down-side there. If you don’t have a geek, and you don’t want to call me, well, that might be the solution for you.
The bottom line is, you have got to check to see whether or not your site is mobile-friendly. The easiest way to do that is going to Google’s test site. I have forgotten what it is, but that’s okay. Just go to Ihelpsalons.com/mobiletest no spaces, no dashes, or nothing like that. Ihelpsalons.com/mobiletest and that link will shoot you over to Google’s page. You can punch your domain name in, and see whether or not Google thinks your site is mobile-friendly. If it is, easy peasy. We are good. If it’s not, they will tell you what needs to be fixed. If it’s something that you can do yourself, cool. If you are not nice like that, then you got geek issues. You know the deal.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter the fact that the world is moving toward mobile. It’s just a thing. It’s just the latest thing. There’s going to be another thing down the road. All this is is a case of you continuing to run the correct race, making sure that you are just in the mix. It’s a dog … I have forgotten what the exact … It’s not exactly a cliché, it’s one of those things … We say, half the battle is showing up. 80% of the battle is just showing. Well, this is just showing up. This is just making sure that you are in the race people are easily distracted, but since we already know how they are easily distracted, just make sure that’s not your issue. How hard could that be?
I really want you to make sure that you are … that this is not something that you trip up on because this thing that I have got called Auto-Pilot Clients, really is dependent on when people come to your website, however you get them to your website, that they perform a certain way. If your website is not set up correctly to service these folks however they get to your website, you are going to missing out on a lot of opportunity. The thing is, if you are kind of a small player in the game, you might be a big fish in your pond, but chances are, it’s not that hard to suddenly be irrelevant. Make sure that however people get to your website, whatever device they are on, you still get the desired effect when they get there, which means that you need to make sure your mobile game is tight. Okay?
All right, if you have got any questions about this thing called mobile, if you are not quite sure … this is actually something … Don’t shoot me a text message, because this is a longer conversation. This is an email thing. Sherpa@ihelpsalons.com. Shoot me your domain name. Shoot me your question. If it’s something as simple as how do I X, just shoot it to me, and I will get you there. If you got something really quick, like you don’t know exactly how to get something done and it’s not that hard, I can take care of that for you. It’s not that hard. We’re not talking about long-term relationship. Long-term relationships, you got to pay me for. Quick hits, you don’t, because we are nice like that.
Before I bounce out of here, I want to remind you, I need you go over to Ihelpsalons.com. If you haven’t been there lately, I need you to click the link and get over there and take a look at Auto-Pilot Clients. The reason I want you to do that, is so that you can see the entire plethora of what you need to understand to really have the internet working for you so that you can build that clientele. There’s a bunch of different ways of getting from point A to point B, but usually you have to fight and pay someone deep dollars for them to explain it to you. I’m doing it for you for free, so just ease on over there and take a look. All right? Cool.
All right, this is going to be about it, so let me give you that spiel so I can get out of here.
This has been another episode of the I Help Salons podcast, brought to you by me, your friendly neighborhood Internet Sherpa, and all the cool things that I do at emarcobranding.com. In the words of the immortal the chief rocker Frankie Crocker, “May you live as long as you want, never want as long as you live. May you live to be 100 and me 100 minus a day so I will never know that nice people like you have passed away.” Go forth and do great things, people. I’ll see you right back here next week, same bat times, same bat channel. I wonder if you are old enough to know where that comes from. Bye!