Mobile App or Mobile Website? Which one is right for your company?

Mobile App or Mobile Website?
Which one is right for your company?

Did you know?
Research now shows that more than 50% of internet browsers now browse the web using their smart phone or tablet rather than a computer? Can these users see your website on their phone, iPod or tablet device?

In an effort to help you decide how to properly point your company into the mobile computing world, we thought the article below would be helpful. At eMobileMe, a division of Hammerweb Holdings, LLC, we produce Mobile Apps AND Mobile Websites – our objective is to help you decide which option is best for your company or organization.


The Difference Between Apps and Mobile Websites
By Joel Sutherland Posted Apr 6, 2011
– Article originally appeared on the newmediacampaigns.com Blog

There is no question that mobile is the fastest growing online space. As millions worldwide migrate to smartphones, the number of people who are downloading apps and browsing the web on their phone is growing at an incredibly rapid pace.

Seeing this impressive growth leads to an obvious question: what is the best way to reach customers who are increasingly using mobile devices?

At first, the answer seemed obvious. The explosive growth of the iPhone and the App Store made it seem like we had a future that would be dominated by single use applications.

In 2012, this future is no longer as certain. When building an App you must target a specific platform. In a landscape entirely dominated by the iPhone, this is easy to do. However, the rise of Android has meant that the smartphone market is increasingly fragmented when it comes to choosing which platform to target.

So now there are more platforms to target and the explosive growth of tablets to consider. For a company with a limited budget, it is hard to target every platform. But there is a solution. In our opinion, the best way to approach mobile in 2012 is through a mobile website.

To explain our position, it makes sense to clarify what the difference is between an App and a Mobile Website.

What is an “App”
An “app” is a software application that is written in the native language of a particular platform. This has some tremendous advantages:

  • By using native code, the application can run with high performance.
  • It is easy to follow the User Experience conventions using provided libraries
  • The app is available in an App Store
  • It can work offline
  • The App can be launched in a single step

It also has some disadvantages:

  • Your native code only works on one platform
  • You must learn development skills that just apply to one platform
  • Your app can’t be found directly on the web, it requires more “investment” for a customer to download it.

What is a Mobile Website
A mobile website is just a website that has been optimized for mobile browsing. It can be reached through a phone’s web browser directly.  There are some great advantages to doing a mobile site:

  • One mobile site can work on any mobile platform
  • It is generally faster and cheaper to develop a mobile site
  • A mobile site can just be a ‘version’ of your primary website.
  • It is becoming possible to embed an Mobile site in an App using technology like Phonegap
  • Customers can google you and land on your mobile site
  • Since it’s a website, it can be easily updated through a CMS

There are some disadvantages too:

  • They aren’t written in native code, so performance can be an issue
  • You cannot access all of the phones features (camera, etc) that are available to apps
  • It requires some number of steps for a customer to bookmark your mobile site
  • It is hard to charge for access or usage

Our Recommendation: Mobile Websites over Apps
There are a number of reasons that we generally recommend putting your resources towards mobile websites before Apps.

Discover-ability
When people are looking for information, they go to Google, not the app store. A mobile website is a better way to reach more customers.

Cost
It is generally much less expensive to build a mobile website so the bang-for-the-buck is much higher. You also get to develop one version and it works on all smartphones.

Increasing Performance
As mobile browsers become faster, the performance gap between apps and websites is closing.

Future Safety
An individual platform may disappear, but the web will not. You can be sure that a mobile site that looks good on a 4″ screen today will also look good in 5 years.

App Optional
Tools like PhoneGap are making it easier to wrap mobile websites into apps.
There is certainly still a place for Apps, but for most companies trying to market themselves, it is a much better first step to go with a mobile website.

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How Often Should I Redesign my Website?

As a small business owner in today’s challenging economy, you may find yourself asking the question, “Why do I need to redesign my website?” There are many answers to that question, all of which may be affecting the number of visitors who stick around your site long enough to find out what your company is all about and what services and/or products you are selling. You only get one chance to make a first impression. If your competition has a more compelling website than you, they are likely getting the website traffic and the business you are after.

Here are the top 5 reasons to consider a redesign of your website:

1.      Out-of-Date Technology – If your website was built more than two years ago, it would be wise to evaluate the technology used to build it.  Are frames or tables being used?  Does the site utilize Splash pages or Flash? This is older technology which can pose problems with browser compatibility, search engine placement and page load times, which often times will send a visitor away from your site before he even views the home page.

2.      Poor Navigation – Have you added so many pages to your website since you built it that not even you know where to find things on your website?  Disorganized navigation is one of the top reasons a user will leave a website. If they cannot quickly find what they are looking for, they will go elsewhere.

3.      Not Search Engine Friendly – There are many things that go into building a search-engine-friendly website. What worked in getting you placed well with the major search engines 2-3 years ago is probably not working as well now. The search engines change their algorithms frequently so you need to keep the technology behind your website up-to-date.

4.      Poor Display on an iPhone or mobile device? New technology allows the website to display a mobile-friendly website when a user is browsing on a mobile phone. Consumers are using their mobile phones more than ever to find information on the internet. You don’t want to miss out on web traffic because users are frustrated trying to navigate an out-of-date website on their mobile device.

5.      Out-of-Date or Poorly Optimized Content –When a user browses your website, do they ask themselves the question, “I wonder when the last time this information was updated?”  Out-of-date content on your website will dampen your credibility in the eyes of the consumer. Does your site have a content management system that allows you to make updates to your website without knowing html code?  Re-designing your site and adding a content management system is a necessity in today’s competitive environment. This allows you to keep your content up-to-date and continually add content to help with Search Engine Placement.

If your website has 2 or more of the above-named problems, it is time for a redesign. The experienced web consultants at Affordable Web Design can help you plan a website that will accomplish the goals of your company or organization at a very affordable price.

Contact Us today for a free website consultation! 866.892.6822

http://www.affordablewebdesign.net

Posted in Internet Marketing/SEO, Web Design | Comments Off

Should I Hire a Professional Web Design Firm to Create my Website?

In today’s digital-driven world, every business requires a website.  When looking to buy, consumers are heading first to their computers to research and educate themselves on the products and services they seek as well as seeking advice and guidance from others via social networking sites.

Consider a recent online consumer study conducted by Harris Interactive® that found that “… 48% of U.S. adults online say that they are now conducting more online transactions than they did in the past given the current economic climate.” Regardless if your goal is to generate leads, build your brand awareness or simply provide easy-access to important information, a website is now a vital necessity and link in the buying process for organizations large and small.

Given that your website is likely the first impression most prospects will encounter, you need to ensure it positions your brand, offerings and benefits in the best light.  As the saying goes– you don’t get a second chance to make a favorable first impression.  According to Comscore, most visitors will spend less than 20 seconds on a website determining if you can solve their problems or needs—if not—they move on.  Therefore, your website must convey your value proposition in a concise, professional and user friendly manner or risk loosing credibility—and ultimately customers.

A website that that fails is one that is not easy to navigate, does not provide relevant, up-to-date information, or does not adequately convey the benefits of your organization will impact your organization’s effectiveness to convert visitors into prospects and customers.  Below are the top 8 website mistakes:

1. Page errors – Usually occur with “build-it-yourself” websites when people try to create their own website without having adequate knowledge of the technology they are implementing.

2.Broken links or incorrect 401 redirects – You click on a link and it takes you to an error page.

3.Browser  incompatibility – All browsers are not created equal. Only a skilled webmaster will know the ins and outs of all the different web browsers that your customers will be using.

4. Slow download times – The use of dated technology, or the incorrect use of current technology could cause a person to leave your website because it takes to long to appear in their browser.

5. Ineffective site architecture – People cannot find what they are looking for.

6. Outdated or lack of content – Your website must contain relevant and compelling content to keep visitors coming back and converting into customers.  Frequent updates and keyword rich content is important for optimal placement on major search engines. It is as important to plan and budget for updates and SEO as it is to create a website in order to effectively rank in users’ search queries on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and Bing.

7. Poorly optimized site – A website that is not optimized in the major search engines will not be found. Your website is one of the most powerful tools you have to let your potential customers know about your company and the services or products you provide. Eighty percent of websites on are currently underperforming—what steps must your organization undertake to ensure your website is not one of them?

8. Website not set up for mobile devices – Have you ever tried to open a website on a mobile phone only to find that it is scrambled up or you need a magnifying glass to read what it says? Every company needs a mobile website which will allow people to view the website in a mobile-friendly version.

Sage advice states that “you get what you pay for. “  While there are companies that advertise websites as low as $99.00–buyer beware.   Often times these “cheap” sites will impact your organization’s bottom line including:

  • Overall design fails to convey your business as a professional or credible
  • Lack sufficient usability or functionality leading to high abandonment rates
  • Designs impact your website load time
  • Content is not accessible to be properly indexed by search engine robots

While an inexpensive website may seem like an attractive option at first, it’s important to factor in that a decision to save money in the short term will cost you more in the long term.   Most companies whom invest in this approach ultimately are forced to redesign their website.  This is money down the drain, not to mention the loss of potential customers and sales.  Don’t fall prey to that mistake. Take the time to investigate all of your options and understand the impact to your business when choosing a website technology partner.

Therefore choosing the right web technology partner is one of the most important decisions you will make to help your organization achieve its goals.   Understanding what to look for in a technology partner is a crucial first step to ensure a successful working relationship as well as positive and productive results long term.  Here are a few questions to consider when reviewing prospective companies bidding for your business:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What is their client retention rate?  Can they provide you with recent and past references?
  • How responsive are they to your request for proposal (RFP)?
  • If they are providing hosting services, how secure is your website? How often is your data backed up?
  • What type of customer support services do they provide?
  • Will they be able to support your technology needs as your business grows and changes?
  • Do they provide e-Commerce, communications tools, web content management solutions (CMS), or customized software solutions or are they merely a design company?

Affordable Web Design, and its partner companies at Hammerweb Holdings, LLC are  full-service web technology companies and have 20 years’ experience in helping clients build successful web presences.  Call us today for a free consultation. 1-866-892-6822

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What is SEO?

WHAT IS SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of positioning your website on the Internet where it will be easily found by someone searching for the services or products your offer.  Sounds easy enough until you consider:

The number of websites added to Internet has increased from 185.5 million at the beginning of 2009 to 231.5 million in April 2009—an increase by 46 million in just four months. This four month increase exceeds the number of websites added in the entire 2008 year when the number of websites increased by 29.9 million.  Source: Netcraft

WHY SEO MATTERS

Gone are the days where a yellow page listing, newspaper ad, or brochures are enough to bring prospects to your door.  In today’s technology-driven digital world, consumers turn to the Internet, the blogosphere and social media sites to search and identify the products and services they seek.

According to MarketingSherpa’s research study, today:

  • Search plays a dominant role in the consumer buying process
  • Search is most likely to be used during the early or mid research phase of the buying cycle
  • Online research generally happens at 30-60 days prior to an actual buy decision
  • Organic search draws between 70-80% of the click-throughs
  • Over 60% of the click-throughs come from the top search engine result listings

The challenge for most businesses—the sheer volume of information available to your targeted prospects on the Internet.  This is where SEO comes into play—helping consumers find the proverbial “needle in a haystack”—your website.   By employing SEO best practices and tactics continually, you enhance your website’s ability of being ranked as “relevant” within search engine results for key search terms and thus the probability prospects will find your website.

HOW SEO WORKS

SEO is the ongoing process of identifying targeted keywords and search terms your prospects are using to find the products and services your offer; and then “optimizing” your website so it ranks high or “relevant” for these keywords and search terms according to search engines, blogs and social media sites.  Optimizing your website falls into four categories:

1.    Identifying and selecting appropriate keywords and search terms

2.    Website factors including architecture, page titles, URLs and unique content*

3.    Off Website factors like the type and number of inbound or back links**

4.    Tracking, analyzing and adjusting items 1-3

*Updated, relevant content helps maintain your relevancy within search engine results

**Most important factor determining relevance of your website’s ranking within search engine results

For additional information on how you can optimize your website to improve your Search Engine placement please visit Affordable Web Design.

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