Top 10 Reasons Your Website Should Go Mobile

March 9th, 2011

Dec 29, 2009 at 5:32pm ET by Joshua Odmark
Article Source

The mobile web is a fascinating space that is still in its infancy. If the current capabilities of mobile devices are a sign of things to come, I can only imagine what will be possible five years from now.

Here are 10 reasons I think that anyone with an online presence should establish a mobile presence separate from your website:

1. Google has a separate index for mobile content.

Not only do they have a separate index for mobile content, but also it is fairly empty. The other day I performed a search for an Imax theater in Santa Barbara, and it told me that the best option was a theater in San Diego. Really? I jumped on Imax.com and found a theater located just 19 miles away.

I never thought I would miss directory style websites, but in this particular example, a mobile directory for all theaters in the US would have been able to give Google Mobile the correct solution to serve up.

2. Your regular website is not going to cut it.

There is a fundamental design difference between a regular website and a mobile website.

On a mobile phone, there is a very limited amount of screen space. If you have ever had to side scroll to view something on a website, you realize how much of an inconvenience it is. This is magnified on a mobile device. Even with the ability to turn the device lengthwise, the resolution is still extremely small.

There are numerous mobile phone emulators that can show you what your website will look like on a mobile device, and I can guarantee it is probably a terrible experience for a mobile device user.

3. 1/5 of Americans access the mobile web each day.

This percentage is increasing every year. If you’re not representing yourself on the mobile web, your competition surely will take up the opportunity.

4. Mobile web will overtake the desktop within 5 years.

Not only will the mobile web inevitably overtake the desktop, but also usage and adoption is growing at a much faster rate than the desktop did.

In the future, the vast majority of visitors to your website will be on a mobile device.

5. $1.6 billion purchased from mobile devices in 2009.

This is likely the most exciting and sought after information about the mobile web. If millions of people are using the mobile web, but they are not buying anything, most commercial websites would not bother establishing a mobile presence.

As you can see, purchasing from mobile devices is already in the billions.

Studies show that buyers do not have as much confidence in purchasing from a mobile device as they do from their PCs, but both comfort levels and the amount being spent is increasing.

Users went through the same hesitation when the Internet was just becoming popular, and now most people do not hesitate when buying something online from their PC.

You can rest assure that the same thing will happen with the mobile web.

6. 93% of U.S. adults own a cell phone.

Not all cell phones have Internet access capabilities, but that is currently the trend. Smart phones are not the only ones with access to the web. Standard phones are coming out with Qwerty keywords and website browsers seemingly every single month.

It is safe to say that in the near future, all phones will have some form of online access, whether it is being used or not.

7. 5% of the top 500 online retailers have a mobile website/iPhone app.

I was rather surprised by how low this number is. But then again, this means great things for the rest of us who are not in the top 500 online retailers.

I am willing to bet that one of the biggest reasons that you’re not ranking as high as you would like is because your competitors are doing a better job than you are in some shape or form.

Which means that if you’re reading this, chances are fairly high that you are already a step ahead of your competition.

8. Mobile advertising spending will surpass $6.5 billion in 2012.

Ad spend is a great indicator for the current status of an industry. If someone is willing to spend their hard earned money putting their products in front of users on the mobile web, you can assume there is a pretty good reason for it.

Furthermore, if they continue to spend more year after year, that indicates that the previous years investment paid off. And that is exactly how mobile advertising is trending across the board.

9. Users average 13 hours online per week, up from 7 in 2002.

As online usage increases regardless of the device used, accessibility is going to be the next lever to increase online usage.

A desktop or laptop used to be the only way to access the Internet, but now with Internet enabled mobile phones the Internet has truly become mobile. It is now simply a matter of service availability from your mobile phone network provider such as AT&T and Verizon.

10. There are an estimated 2 billion cell phones worldwide.

Not only are there a lot of cell phones worldwide, but they seem to outlast their owners and are passed down to another owner. There are great recycling and refurbishing programs that use old cell phones as emergency dialers or resell them at discounted rates.

As you can see, the mobile web is clearly trending up and has a lot of room to grow. If the mobile web were a stock, now would be the time to buy. It is the closest thing to a sure bet as you can get.

3 Studies Show Facebook’s Marketing Potential

February 2nd, 2011

You may have noticed most websites now have a link to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or Youtube. Social media can help you reach out to your audience on a platform that they are comfortable with and use often. Webaloo now has the ability to create social media pages for your business/organization as well as seamlessly integrate them into your website.

Check out the Article below from Social Media Examiner to gain a better understanding of how people use facebook, and why its so critical for you to be using it as well.

3 Studies Show Facebook’s Marketing Potential

By Amy Porterfield
Published September 7, 2010
Published September 7, 2010
Article source: Social Media Examiner

Facebook is hot.  There’s no question that Facbeook has a large audience.  But what does this mean for marketers and business owners?

Here are three recent Facebook-related studies that answer these very questions by examining how much time Facebook users invest in the platform, if Facebook ads are effective and other Facebook trends among online merchants.

#1: One-Third of Online Time Spent on Facebook Among U.S. Users

According to recent findings by market researcher Morpace, U.S. Facebook users are on the site for 1 of every 3 minutes of time spent online.  Users 18 to 34 years old spend the most time on the site per week (8.5 hours out of 22.4 spent online). Users 55 and older spend an average of 4.6 hours per week on Facebook.

The study also explored Facebook activity by ethnicity.  According to the results, Asians were the heaviest users of Facebook.  As a group, they devoted the most of their Internet time per week to Facebook (39.6%).  African Americans were the second heaviest users at 35.1%.  Hispanics spent the least amount of time on Facebook (31.7%).
ap0810-1-time-spent-ethnicity
One of the most interesting stats from this study showed that Facebook users making at least $100,000 annually spent the most time on Facebook and on the web as a whole. This is valuable information for companies selling products and services online.

#2: Facebook Ads Most Effective On User Profile Pages

Facebook users spend more time looking at ads on their own Facebook profiles than they do on news feed pages (their homepages), found a new report by Mulley Communications.  Specifically, the study found that 71% of users looked at advertisements on their profile pages, while only 31% of users looked at advertisements on the news feed page.

In addition, 53% of users pay attention to page updates in their news feed wall, which may explain why they mostly ignore ads on their pages.

Here’s a short video to show the heat map of the news feed from the study.  Notice how there’s little activity in the right-hand side of the wall.

#3: Online Merchants Loving Facebook ‘Likes’

There’s been a lot of discussion about retailers extending the power of Facebook to their sites.  Website conversion company SeeWhy found that 35% of ecommerce online marketers have implemented Facebook’s “Like” plugin, while 33% plan to do so in the near future.

The second most popular Facebook social plugin was the login application, as 18% reported they had implemented it and 15% said they plan to do so in the future. The login plugin allows consumers to skip the registration step and login directly from the merchant’s site. This allows conversion to be simple and quick, which is a huge advantage for the merchant.

Facebook social plugins have been getting a lot of attention from online merchants because they can drive traffic back to their own sites without having to build an entire ecommerce site into their Facebook page.  Although 26% of respondents said they plan to build ecommerce applications on Facebook itself, 67% said they plan to use Facebook to actually drive traffic to their sites.

In addition, 44% said they plan to use Facebook applications in place of microsites for launches and specific promotions.

Happy New Year!

January 3rd, 2011

nyh

Every year without fail new website trends emerge and old ones become obsolete. We are especially excited about the newest website trends for 2011. Check out the list below to learn more about them.

1. Social Media - You may have noticed most websites now have a link to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or Youtube. Social media can help you reach out to your audience on a platform that they are comfortable with and use often. Webaloo now has the ability to create social media pages for your business/organization as well as seamlmobile_designessly integrate them into your website.


2. Mobile Platforms - Smart phones are now some of the most popular phones available today. Mobile websites are a great way to make sure anyone looking at your website through a mobile device is able to see and use your website effectively. While a mobile website is basically a simplified version of your website, that doesn’t mean it has to look that way.


3. Widescreen Website Designs - Most of the newest website designs are expanding in size. As computer screens get larger, so do website designs. Below is an example of how simply widening the design can make a world of difference.

angels_screenshots

new_from_webaloo

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Webaloo offers our clients easy to understand SEO, which in turn will provide you with more traffic and better search engine rankings. With the realization that most searchers do not make it past the first two pages of search results, the need for professional SEO is critical to any strategic Internet marketing plan.

Call us today to learn more about these exciting services and tools for your Webaloo website!

Wishing you a great New Year!!

Sincerely,

nyfooter

Why is Minimalism Taking Off?

July 14th, 2010

There has been a movement taking off in website design in the last few years, ever since the internet and bandwidth have become more affordable, it’s called Minimalism. Minimalism is a term used in some circles to mean keeping things simple. Whether the project is a painting or photograph, artists know the term. Now that space is more affordable, Minimalism has spread to the website design world, with good reason. Keeping things simple on a webpage helps to avoid clutter and busyness, improve readability, and create a quality of attractiveness.
In regard to website design, Minimalism means using a simple page layout, a limited color palette, and not over using photos on a page. Also using implementations like Flash, audio, and video sparingly will help keep a website from becoming overwhelming.

second-park-four-5

http://blog.publishedandprofitable.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/second-park-four-5.jpg

With everything that is available to integrate into a website in today’s world, it is very important to use white space well! One principal to keep in mind when deciding to use a Minimalist philosophy for web building is, “Less is More”. One of the biggest mistakes made today is turning a website into a maze of words and pictures. Using white space will keep a page from becoming chaotic and busy.
Many websites that practice Minimalist designs will have a large central banner with text that will highlight the most important feature of their website, along with a large central photo. Often there will be top or side navigation and sometimes both, but these will not usually stand out or take away from the banner and photo. This is but one basic outline of a minimalist page, it can be done in many other ways.

authenticstylecouk

http://2expertsdesign.com/images/website-designs/AuthenticStyle.co.uk.jpg

Minimalism is taking off these days because, in a world where anything is available to put into a website, people are recognizing the need to preserve simple, elegant style on the web. Minimalism tries to bring the long practiced art tradition to the webpage and following in its path will allow a website to avoid clutter, improve readability, and gain an attractive edge.

Making a Website that will Endure

June 30th, 2010

There are a few basic things that are coming to the fore in the web design world right now. Large headers that contain flash and/or photo slideshows are becoming very popular, there has been a movement toward minimalism, or the idea that the main page of a site shouldn’t have too much on it, and the use of interactive information boxes is picking up for some examples. But whatever the current trends are, they will never become the heart and soul of a webpage. In order to recognize a well designed page the viewer must be aware of a few principles: a page should satisfy the viewer’s desire for aesthetic beauty, form follows function, and design supports content. Following these principles will give a good impression to viewers and help a website endure the test of time.

Behind the beauty of any page is the consideration of the aesthetic and psychological needs of the viewer. A page is designed to give off certain emotions and satisfactions based on the intention of the designer. This is done through the use of color, texture (the feel or look of the surface), architecture (page layout), and typography (interplay of fonts and text on a page). By controlling the colors, textures, layout and placement of items, and the use of lettering on a page, a designer can guide the eye around a page and give emphasis to certain parts.

While a designer is coming up with the aesthetics of a page, he or she must keep in mind what Louis Sullivan once said, “Form follows function”. This means that the one thing of ultimate importance to a webpage is its functionality. If a website isn’t easy to use and navigate, then it doesn’t matter how pretty it looks. One mistake that is sometimes made is adding too much to a page. When too much is on a page, it creates clutter and takes away from any single effect.

Finally all the bricks of a webpage’s foundation must support the content of the page. The content of a page, or what it is saying, the text and message, is the most important part of any page. Everything on a page should be ordered to delivering the page’s message in a particular way, while at the same time never taking anything away from that message.

“Good art stands alone. Good design supports content.”

-    Matt Ward, Echo Enduring Media.

With beauty, functionality, and content cemented on a page a designer can feel free to follow the latest trends without fear of taking away from the purpose of their pages. Trends will come and go, but the foundation of a page must always remain. Building and keeping the foundation will attract and impress your viewers, and help your site endure the test of time.

How to Write Website Content That Works

June 24th, 2010

Write relevant content
It may be tempting to write about your brother’s dog, but if it doesn’t relate to your site or page topic, leave it out. Web readers want information, and unless the page is information about said dog, they really won’t care, even if it is a good metaphor for what you’re trying to say.

Put conclusions at the beginning
Think of an inverted pyramid when you write. Get to the point in the first paragraph, then expand upon it.

Write only one idea per paragraph
Web pages need to be concise and to-the-point. People don’t read Web pages, they scan them, so having short, meaty paragraphs is better than long rambling ones.

Use action words
Tell your readers what to do. Avoid the passive voice. Keep the flow of your pages moving.

Format
Use lists instead of paragraphs. Lists are easier to scan than paragraphs, especially if you keep them short.

Limit list items to 7 words

Studies have shown that people can only reliably remember 7-10 things at a time. By keeping your list items short, it helps your readers remember them.

Write short sentences
Sentences should be as concise as you can make them. Use only the words you need to get the essential information across.

Include internal sub-headings
Sub-headings make the text more scannable. Your readers will move to the section of the document that is most useful for them, and internal cues make it easier for them to do this.

Make your links part of the copy
Links are another way Web readers scan pages. They stand out from normal text, and provide more cues as to what the page is about.

Always Always Always Proofread your work
Typos and spelling errors will send people away from your pages. Make sure you proofread everything you post to the Web.

Images
Avoid uploading high resolution images as your page will take longer to load. Resize your graphics or images BEFORE uploading them to your website.

Font Styles
Be consistent. Do not use twelve different font styles and blazing colors for your text. It will make your page look everything but professional.

November 4th, 2009

Here is what Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, thinks the Internet will look like in 5 years. Pretty interesting stuff.
Tim Anderson

  • Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.
  • Today’s teenagers are the model of how the web will work in five years - they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.
  • Five years is a factor of ten in Moore’s Law <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore’s_law> , meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.
  • Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance - and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.
  • “We’re starting to make significant money off of Youtube”, content will move towards more video.  <http://www.readwriteweb.com/reports/real-time-web.php>
  • “Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results.”
  • There are many companies beyond Twitter and Facebook doing real time.
  • “We can index real-time info now - but how do we rank it?”
  • It’s because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that “is the great challenge of the age.” Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.

Coming Soon: Facebook Usernames

June 11th, 2009

From the beginning of Facebook, people have used their real names to share and connect with the people they know. This authenticity helps to create a trusted environment because you know the identity of the people and things on Facebook. The one place, though, where your identity wasn’t reflected was in the Web address for your profile or the Facebook Pages you administer. The URL was just a randomly assigned number like “id=592952074.” That soon will change.

We’re planning to offer Facebook usernames to make it easier for people to find and connect with you. When your friends, family members or co-workers visit your profile or Pages on Facebook, they will be able to enter your username as part of the URL in their browser. This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you. We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future.

Your new Facebook URL is like your personal destination, or home, on the Web. People can enter a Facebook username as a search term on Facebook or a popular search engine like Google, for example, which will make it much easier for people to find friends with common names. Your username will have the same privacy setting as your profile name in Search, and you can always edit your search privacy settings here.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 13, you’ll be able to choose a username on a first-come, first-serve basis for your profile and the Facebook Pages that you administer by visiting www.facebook.com/username/. You’ll also see a notice on your home page with instructions for obtaining your username at that time.

Facebook usernames will be available in basic text forms, and you can only choose a single username for your profile and for each of the Pages that you administer. Your username must be at least five characters in length and only include alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), or a period or full stop (”.”). While usernames are currently available only for Romanized text, we’re looking at how we might support non-Romanized characters in the future.

Think carefully about the username you choose. Once it’s been selected, you won’t be able to change or transfer it. If you signed up for a Facebook Page after May 31 or a user profile after today at 3 p.m. EDT, you may not be able to sign up for a username immediately because of steps we’ve taken to prevent abuse or “squatting” on names.

Be sure to check out this FAQ for answers to common questions, and if you’re an administrator of Facebook Pages, get more details here. If you want to ensure you keep the rights for a trademark or other protected name, contact us here.

By Blaise DiPersia, a designer at Facebook.

Microsoft has launched an ambitious marketing campaign to promote its new online search engine, Bing

June 8th, 2009

If you haven’t heard the news, there is a new search engine that promises to revolutionize the search business. Check it out.

Tim Anderson, President

Microsoft has launched an ambitious marketing campaign to promote its new online search engine, Bing.
By Sharon Pian Chan

Like Kleenex and tissue, Xerox and copies, Jacuzzi and hot tubs, the brand name Google has become synonymous with search. It has long dominated the search market, claiming 64 percent of all searches in the U.S. in April.

Microsoft’s slender slice measured only 8 percent in comparison, according to data from comScore.

Into this entrenched market, the Redmond software company Wednesday launched an ambitious ad campaign for Bing, its newly branded online-search engine.

Wednesday night, the company aired its first Bing TV commercial, needling Google for search-engine overload. Without actually naming Google, the ad highlights the frustrations of search — getting too many results or unrelated results.

“There’s a lot of latent customer dissatisfaction with the search market,” said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of marketing for online audience business at Microsoft. “The ad is aimed at how do we dramatize that.”

Next week’s ads imagine what it would be like if you asked your friends a question, and they responded as if they were a search engine.

In one ad, two women are eating at a sidewalk diner, and one says, “We really need to find a new place for breakfast.” Her friend says, ” ‘The Breakfast Club,’ a 1986 cult classic starring members of the Brat Pack.” (The movie actually came out in 1985.)

Google said it welcomed the rivalry. “We welcome competition that helps deliver useful information to users and expands user choice,” said Google spokesman Nate Tyler in a statement. “Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space — it makes us all work harder, and at the end of the day our users benefit from that.”

Dean Crutchfield, an independent brand consultant based in New York, said Microsoft’s decision to take on Google was like waging a land war across Asia.

“The fun of this is that Google is being drafted into a war they didn’t create,” he said. “Bing is going to have them on the run. It has done the research, has the insights of the frustration of being online.”

Crutchfield says the ads are effective because they focus on “my experience, not the Web experience.”

“Going through these mountains of results that are not relevant, picking on that is a good place to begin,” he said.

Qi Lu, president of Microsoft’s online-services group, said the engineering behind Bing was focused on how to return results that fulfill the user’s intent, rather than the search terms.

“What we would like to offer is rich and more organized user experience so we enable users to complete tasks more efficiently and make more informed decisions faster,” Lu said Wednesday at SMX Advanced, an industry conference in Seattle.

To that end, the company has dubbed Bing a “decision engine.”

News reports have pegged Microsoft’s marketing budget at $80 million to $100 million, although company officials are not commenting on the figure.

It’s clear Microsoft is putting significant resources and thought into this launch compared with its previous search products MSN and Live, which suffered from poor brand recognition and market share.

The company even held a Seattle launch event, beaming a searchlight into the sky Tuesday night and raising a flag atop the Space Needle to mark Bing’s debut.

Over the summer, Microsoft plans to run radio ads, movie-theater spots at summer blockbusters, online ads, as well as product placement and television-show integration. The company has also launched a Facebook fan site and a Twitter account.

Microsoft’s long-term goal is to move people away from Google to Bing, but short-term goals are more modest, according to the company.

“Sixty percent of people check multiple search engines every day,” Tiedt said. “In the near term, getting a bigger share of people checking those search engines every day would be success.”

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or schan@seattletimes.com

The Web Design That Changed the World

May 19th, 2009

Here’s a very interesting analysis of how website design played a role in our recent presidential election. Whatever your political affiliation, we can all appreciate what a difference the web made in the outcome of that race.
Enjoy!
Tim Anderson

The Web Design That Changed the World
BY Ravi Sawhney

I like to explore design’s reach into unexpected places. Today, I’d like to focus on design in politics… specifically, how, by creating emotional connection, the Web site my.barackobama.com (commonly known as MyBO), empowered a grassroots campaign that put a young Senator from Illinois in the Oval Office.

I don’t know if Chris Hughes, the Facebook Boy Wonder behind MyBO, considers himself a designer, but I certainly do. In fact, I believe he’s an extraordinary designer. No matter which side of the aisle you sit on, or what color your state, it’s impossible not to recognize the monumental impact the Internet played in the 2008 campaign.

The theme of MyBO came from Obama himself, “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.” Obama asked people to believe. Chris Hughes gave them the tools to effect that change.

Hughes is known as “the Empath.” That’s fitting. Empathy is an essential–perhaps the essential–trait in successful designers. As I’ve said, “It’s not how the design or experience makes you feel, it’s how it makes you feel about yourself.” Designers have to be able to step outside themselves and into the hearts and minds of the end-users. A designer must be able to accurately imagine how a design will make a variety of users feel. This allows us to understand what features will elicit which feelings.

When designers determine the features going into a product, they’re not really designing features, they’re designing benefits. What’s more, they’re designing to create the emotions these benefits evoke. In the case of MyBO, the design was all about empowerment and hope. Empowerment to effect change; hope for a better world.

The real brilliance of MyBO.com is that the point of the online site was to facilitate real world activity. Take the Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaigns that connected members to undecided voters near them. But the “connection” Hughes worked so hard to design into the system wasn’t merely based on geography. Hughes sought the deeper connection, the emotional connection of commonality. By having volunteers call undecided voters with similar backgrounds and interests, Hughes empowered people to connect with the people they called. And once you truly connect with someone, it’s much easier for them to really hear what you have to say.

So what can we learn from Hughes and the design of MyBO? We can learn the value of creating designs that empower and connect. Don’t let the scope and impact of MyBO intimidate you. The empowerment doesn’t have to be as world-changing as the Obama campaign. It can be as simple as a kitchen tool that empowers a parent to make a meal that connects their family around the dinner table. The real benefit to companies is how this empowerment connects consumers to brands. When you successfully create this connection, you’ve set yourself up to benefit from the grassroots campaign known as viral demand. When people love your products, they’re happy to do your PR work for you.