Does Your Mobile Ready Website Meet Your Customers’ Needs?

 

Mobile ready website

In our blog last week we emphasized the importance of having a website that is mobile ready.  Nearly every business must have a Mini Me version that is easy to navigate.  We shared some facts from the experts and their insights on the growing demand.  This week we will look at your Mini Me mobile ready website from your customer’s point of view.

Searching from a handheld equals ready to act

According to a study and whitepaper done by our friends at Google they discovered a common theme:

All mobile users are goal oriented; they expect to get what they want from a mobile ready site easily, immediately and on their own terms.

Now that’s rather demanding. Or is it?  Think for a moment about your own personal experience with your handheld or mobile device during a recent search.  If you were searching for a gas station, a coffee shop or even booking a reservation you were ready to buy and just wanted to get it done.  This point truly emphasizes the need to be mobile ready.  Your customers are ready to buy and you need to be ready when they find you.

What they see first really does matter

Your website landing page should serve a number of purposes like a welcome, marketing and promotional page.  Mobile ready websites need to perform differently.  Here are a couple of points to get you started:

  • Keep a call to action obvious and located in a prominent space
  • Keep the menus short – long words can require zooming out or swiping side to side
  • Make navigation easy- best practice: use your logo as a navigation button
  • Turn on the autocomplete feature to reduce the amount of typing required

What they experience next really does matter

Again, your mobile ready website needs to perform differently for the mobile user.  Site search functionality must be streamlined and very efficient.  Here are a few functionality points to consider:

  • Site search box or tool- make it easy to locate preferably at the top of your website
  • Site search effectiveness-make sure a search returns relevant results and avoids zero results
  • Site search filters – provide simple filter options to make search more efficient

To eCommerce…and beyond

The simple suggestions we’ve made here are the basis for making your website mobile ready.  In our next article will discuss eCommerce transactions, forms and overall usability. As with all our posts we focus on making technology easy to understand and to implement for your business needs.  By the way, are we on track with this topic? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
Posted in (2) Design for Websites, Mobile, Websites | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Ready Website: Why You Need a ‘Mini Me’

Photo credit: Google Images

Photo credit: Google Images

If you are a fan of the Austin Powers comedy film series you know how much entertainment value the character “Mini Me” added to that story line. For those unfamiliar with this character he was literally an identical mini version of the villain Dr. Evil.  Mini Me added critical supporting role value to the story providing tons of comedic depth.  What does this have to do with your website?  Quite a bit actually and we’ll attempt to make the connection clearer for you in the next few paragraphs.

Why should I care about ‘Mini Me’?

Your website must be mobile ready in order to play that critical supporting role for your business. Your Mini Me website must be easy to find, to access and navigate without pinching, shrinking or zooming.  If your website is aging and has not been upgraded to be adaptive or responsive to mobile your business will be impacted.  Let’s cut right to the chase and hammer you with a few facts from the experts:

New data released by Adyen shows strong growth in mobile commerce. Web-based mobile transactions in North America increased 48 percent in the past year and represent 16.9 percent of all transactions, according to Adyen.

Smartphones have been steadily increasing in size, making it easier for consumers to shop and pay for goods online. This explains some of the shift in payments from tablets to handsets. The rapid growth also reflects retailers’ efforts to optimize their online businesses for use with mobile devices. In the future, it will be important for merchants to spot emerging trends in consumer payment preferences for particular types of devices in order to maximize e-commerce performance. Mobile-initiated e-commerce transactions will likely continue to be one of the best performing segments of mobile payments. Source: PaymentsJournal.com

“Nearly every business needs to adapt to reach consumers effectively on any screen. There are two basic strategies for building websites that display well on all devices: responsive and adaptive,” says Janine Warner, a globally recognized digital design and Internet trends consultant.

Should Mini Me be adaptive or responsive?

In the simplest terms an adaptive website has the technology to identify the user’s device and generate a page designed for that device.  Large organizations like American Airlines utilize this type of technology.  Generally speaking it is pretty sophisticated and often cost prohibitive for small to mid-sized business.

A responsive website uses CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) technology to create one version of your site in multiple sizes or formats that will then auto-adjust to display properly on most devices.  Older cell phones are the only exception.  This technology is far more cost effective for the average business and it delivers a great mobile user experience.

Options, workarounds and the bottom line

You do have a few options to address the Mini Me dilemna:

  • simplify your current website navigation (a duct tape approach)
  • create a second URL and site just for mobile (complicated and messy)
  • upgrade your website platform to a mobile responsive technology (prepared for the future)
  • put this off and hope for the best (please don’t)

Creating a Mini Me mobile ready website really is the best option to position your business for the future.

What option have you chosen for your mobile ready website?  Share your missteps and victories in the comments below.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
Posted in Mobile, Websites | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Changes To Google: How Your Business Can Benefit

Google+

Google+

Google+ Local and Google Places and Google My Business, oh my!  The changes that Google is making to their business related offerings has generated a fair amount of confusion.  Most business owners are already struggling to keep up with social media management so if you are feeling a bit frustrated with Google you are not alone.   We will do our best to clarify a few important points about what has changed and where you should be focusing your efforts from this point forward.

What exactly is Google trying to do?

In their defense, Google is trying to create a central, easy to manage point of access for you as a business owner.  We found this summary on the Google and Your Business Help Forum:

With Google My Business you can:

  • Maintain up-to-date business information on Google
  • Build loyal customers using a Google+ page.
  • Track engagement with insights for Google+ pages and posts
  • See information on your related Google Analytics account and YouTube channels
  • Seamlessly create and track performance of AdWords Express campaigns

Businesses with a physical location can also:

  • Help get your business found on Google. Google can use the business information you provide in local search results.
  • Read and respond to reviews from your customers
  • Get insights on how customers searched for your business, and where they’re coming from

A key advantage to this new service is that Google My Business puts your business info in important places like Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using.  Last fall we talked about the importance of Google Local for restaurants in this blog article.  However, the new Google My Business is a valuable tool for any storefront, virtual or service based business.

What exactly are we supposed to do?

If you are already using Google+ or Google Places for Business your account has automatically been upgraded to the new dashboard. If you are new to this platform you can sign up for a free account at Google.com/mybusiness.  We recommend that you take time to verify the location and contact information for your business if you have an existing account. An important best practice is to use the same images and branding that appear on your website providing continuity so your customers will recognize you easily. Another key advantage of this tool is the ability for customers to recommend your business using the +1 Button.  Google provides the code for adding the +1 button to your website allowing your users to easily recommend you to their circles and drive traffic back to your site. We see a growing number of our clients using this powerful tool and we include it as part of any new client’s social media strategy.  What about you?  Are you using Google My Business?  Do you have any tips or suggestions about this new platform?  Be sure to share your ideas in the comments below.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
Posted in Inbound Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Fourth of July: A Soldier’s Perspective

The Raleigh Family

The Raleigh Family

Think back to when you were just 17 years old.  Were you thinking about joining the military?  Odds are at that age it was not the first thing on your mind.  But Don Raleigh, co-owner of Evolve Systems, had already enlisted by age 17 and spent 8 years on active duty with the Army.  We asked him to share his story and his perspective on what the Fourth of July means to him.

“I knew I wanted to be a soldier my whole life”

In 1984 the issues this country faced were ending the Cold War, defeating communism and oppression in Eastern block countries and tearing down the Berlin Wall.  Don Raleigh grew up knowing he wanted to be a soldier and enlisted early at age 17.  He completed his basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia and was assigned to the presidential support team for President Ronald Reagan.  During his assignment with what’s affectionately known as ‘The Old Guard’ 3rd Infantry Regiment, C Company as part of the casket team he performed over 1100 burials at Arlington National Cemetery.  He also tested to become a sentinel and was honored to guard the Tomb of the Unknowns and join the Honor Guard Company.

“Standing toe to toe with Communism”

Don’s interest in foreign languages lead him to the Defense Language Institute where he studied Russian. After attending military intelligence school he was assigned to 3rd Infantry Division in Germany and became part of the American liaison forces on the eastern border of East Germany and Czechoslovakia. Don was among the last Cold War soldiers assigned to this border.  It was here in 1989 that he found himself standing on the border between freedom and the East German forces “toe to toe with Communism.”  Once the Berlin Wall was demolished in December 1989 Don had what he describes as an amazing experience of witnessing true freedom.

“One day they are behind fences, the next day they are free”

“The power of freedom and liberty is difficult to appreciate unless you’ve experienced or witnessed it this way” recalls Don.

Two things stood out as Don reflected on the experience.

“As they came across the border everyone would stop to get out of their cars and thank us and shake hands. Most of them were sobbing and couldn’t believe that they were free to reunite with family who they had not seen in decades. They were truly grateful for their freedom.”

“The second thing that was amazing to see was the ability for people to quickly and effortlessly embrace freedom. They went from true oppression where the government ruled their lives to a celebration of the soul, true liberation.  Freedom does come naturally to us as humans, it’s where we belong.”

“Freedom is just another word for… knowing that you have everything to gain”

Having been a soldier and experiencing the impact of oppression Don takes his appreciation of our freedom and country to work every day.  As Don states:

I’m delighted to help small business grow, it’s equally as liberating.  Seeing someone put their heart & soul into their business and build something successful.  I look at each client project as a military mission and ask what’s the goal, how will we get there and what are the logistics.  I love sharing their vision and helping them accomplish their mission.

“Nobody prays for peace more than the soldier”

Over the years Don has celebrated the Fourth of July in Washington DC with a president, during a time of war on the border of Germany and quietly at home with family.   As Don puts it

“Freedom means the end of fighting, it means we can put down our arms.  There is nothing glorious about war and nobody prays for peace more than the soldier.”

We thank Don for his perspective and his years on active duty and with the United States Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol as reservist .  We thank all the men and women in our military for their dedication, their sacrifice and mostly for our freedom.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
Posted in About Evolve | Tagged | Leave a comment

Protecting Your Business: Understanding PKI Encryption

Computer securityTechnology is advancing so rapidly that the average business owner would be hard pressed to keep up with the myriad of changes.  Nearly all businesses use some type of technology or software to run their operations.  And if you have employees the challenge is to keep data secure in the midst of constant change.  We’ve taken the rather complex topic of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and broken it down into simplified terms to help you understand how this technology can benefit you and your organization.

Why should I care about PKI?

New hires, lost credentials, exiting employees, remote accessibility and supplier or vendor changes all impact the security of your network and data.  The need to manage this change is more important than ever and will only increase with time.  The options for using PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) encryption are expanding to make this more accessible to mid-sized companies.

What is PKI?

PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) is a tool for encrypting or signing data. Encrypting data is a means of scrambling it in a way that makes it unreadable.  Signing data refers to authenticating it with a digital signature that verifies its origin. This generates a digital certificate that functions as a virtual ID card.  Think of it as the passport or driver’s licence for your data, computers, software and user credentials.  PKI has the ability to then assign a private and a public key to that certificate and manage the public key distribution. The public key is used to validate the requestor’s identity and provide the proof required to trust the security services and permit access.

What are my options?

PKI encryption can be provided through a server based system for either Windows or Mac environments or cloud based service.  Verizon Enterprise Solutions recently unveiled their Smart Credential solution.  This article outlines their offering and provides some good information about how it works with both your physical and virtual environments.  The team at SANS.org posted this white paper detailing the technical requirements of building and managing a PKI solution for a small to mid-sized business.

Data security for merchants

If your business accepts credit cards as a merchant you are already using another form of this type of encryption called SSL.  This technology creates small data files that digitally bind identifiers to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates a padlock allowing secure connections from a web server to a browser.  The PKI version is more complex and fits best in a mid to large company setting.

No matter how large or small your company is technology and specifically data security can be overwhelming.  If you are in charge of managing this area give us a call.  We understand business and we have the technical expertise to help you sort through the details and decide on the best solution for you.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
Posted in Business Issues, Evolve Vault, Merchant Services | Tagged , | Comments Off