Challenges of Advertising on Mobile Platforms
For sites that are monetized via advertisements, mobile development presents some significant challenges. Mobile web development generally involve compacts websites, reducing the size of the menus that users have to work with and modifying the presentation of content so that it fits more readily on the smaller screens characteristic of smartphones and tablet computers. This can make including advertisements on pages exceedingly difficult and, of course, that may have an impact on how much money a given website is able to make off the advertisers with whom they work.
Size Issues – Size Does Matter
The vast majority of advertisements appear along the margins of a webpage. After all, people don’t come to websites to look at advertisements, they come for content. On mobile websites, the content itself is oftentimes arranged so that it dominates a much greater portion of the page than it does on the desktop version of the website. Those advertisements that would normally appear in the margins of the page can sometimes be relegated to the top or the bottom of the page but, more often than not, there simply isn’t room to display them.
Some websites utilize a solution involving using an overlay screen that allows their web advertisers to get eyes on their advertisements, but this presents additional problems. On some mobile devices, exiting out of one of these overlays can be extremely difficult and, because it causes user frustration, it might result in visitors simply looking for another website that can give them the information they are seeking. Of course, because mobile devices have limited power, some of them will simply freeze up when one of these overlays comes up over a website, causing even more user frustration. In addition to all of this, most mobile companies have metered plans these days, which means that visitors are paying to download advertisements, which can cause resentment.
Text advertisements are generally suitable for use on mobile sites, as they take minimal bandwidth to download and aren’t likely to cause any issues with hanging up a mobile device or crashing it altogether. Of course, these are not as eye-catching, or as profitable, for the sites that run them.
Many tablet computers are fully capable of displaying advertisements and content together, owing to their larger screen size. For websites that are displayed on smaller mobile devices, however, finding a happy medium between being able to display advertisements and offering a good visitor experience will likely continue to be a challenge.
Making Effective use of Frameworks
Businesses and developers may well benefit from using frameworks: underpinnings for WordPress driven sites that allow them to get new sites set up more easily. These frameworks, however, are not all created the same and web developers and businesses that intend on using them should understand some information about how they work that isn’t necessarily basic, and that can have a significant impact on the usability of a given framework.
Among the most significant advantages of using a framework is the ability to access features included with that framework that make it easier to customize and develop for a website. For web developers, this can greatly cut down the amount of time required to design a new site for a client. For businesses that handle their own web development, this can actually eliminate the need to have a professional designer build every single site, such as the network of sites that might be erected for an SEO Strategy.
Utilizing frameworks that get their features via plug-ins are oftentimes more practical than using frameworks that have these features built directly into them. If the framework needs to be switched out for some reason, not having plug-ins may mean that all of the features that were utilized on the site might become unavailable. Plug-ins make it easy to port functionalities between one site to the next.
Frequency of Updates
Several companies build themes for the WordPress platform on specific frameworks. Utilizing these frameworks can make it possible for a company or web developer to purchase the framework that they want and, thereafter, to only have to purchase additional themes that they can use on that same framework. While this is convenient, it does point out that it’s vital that the framework chosen is one that is updated on a regular basis.
The commercial developers generally update their frameworks regularly. Some of these updates are pushed directly to every user, and some of the updating functionalities are automated within the framework itself. Others require manual intervention to update the framework. Some frameworks, however, have the flavor of abandonware, meaning that they are released on the market and never really maintained afterwards. Because the WordPress platform itself does update regularly, it is important to be certain that whatever framework is being employed to run a site or several sites does receive regular updates.
Making Your Mobile Site Truly Accessible
Mobile web design is a major concern for businesses today. Many businesses have adaptable or responsive designs in place of having a separate mobile design for their website, as their Web server will simply offer the correct site for the visitor, depending upon the device detected when the visitor arrives.
Making a mobile version of a website may entail more than just having a responsive web design, however. Part of good design takes into account the way that someone uses a technology. Putting that use factor first can help make sure that your website is not only accessible on a mobile device, but that it is actually useful, as well.
Consider Alternate Content
You may want to consider having alternate content available for mobile device users. Remember that the content you have written for a webpage may be very short and to the point, provided that the visitor is reading that information on a desktop screen. On a mobile device, getting through that same amount of content may require a lot of scrolling and the content itself may take up what amounts to many different pages on the visitor’s screen.
Having shorter, more bite-sized versions of your articles may be a good idea if you’re really trying to reach out to the mobile market. For example, if your company has been using the same homepage for years and it has a 300-word article on it, you may want to consider shortening that up so that users on mobile devices can see what the page is about and immediately determine where they want to go from there.
Images, Flash and HTML5
Image content and Flash can both make a site a lot more appealing. On a mobile device however, they can both make a site a lot less appealing. If you are using a separate mobile version of your website, consider eliminating as much image content as possible. While images and Flash may look great on tablet computers, they simply take up space and make it more difficult for the user to navigate on smaller mobile devices, such as smartphones. Also, remember, that Flash may not work on some tablets and other devices, so it may be better to use HTML5.
Remember that using an adaptive design or a mobile version of your website is essentially altering the delivery mechanism for your content. In addition to utilizing these resources, you may want to alter the content itself, as well, so that it is better suited for the mobile market and more amicable to users who prefer to surf the Internet on smartphones and tablets.
Get in touch with us if you need help in this matter.
Avoid These Simple Marketing Mistakes
One of the greatest things about the Internet is that you can find just about any information you want on it. This is also, unfortunately, one of its biggest drawbacks. While there is great information out there, there is also no filter that prevents bad or inaccurate information from getting out and most consumers know this. Here are some of the things that may be hindering your marketing efforts that you are probably not aware of and these cover several strategies:
Your Informational Material Always Points to You
People are pretty good at catching on to when they’re reading a sneaky advertisement. Be wary if you’re using reviews that are really advertisements – reviews that keep mentioning the same things over and over. For instance, if you check on popular sites such as Amazon, you’ll see that some reviews mention the same product – oftentimes a competitor to the product being viewed – over and over. This isn’t fooling anyone and it makes savvy readers instantly discount your reviews. If you are going to use reviews as part of your marketing strategy, be sure they are good ones.
Your Sources Are Obviously Bad
If you are going to cite sources in your marketing, make sure they are good ones. There are plenty of marketing articles out there that cite any and every source they run across without ever checking to see if the information contained in those sources is accurate. It doesn’t require much work to do this. If you are not sure whether a product claim is true or not, for instance, you can just check sites such as Snopes.com and others that deal with bad information and check out yourself. Many of your Internet visitors will be well aware of this.
Common Logical Fallacies
Do take the time to check your work for logical fallacies. Even someone without any formal background in logic will pick up on these, as they will just sound inconsistent to the reader. For example, if you keep referencing experts or authorities, point out who you are actually referencing. This not only gives your argument more credibility, it also prevents you from accidentally plagiarism.
Some marketers do very well offering free gifts along with their services, but these really should be something of value, not just another sales pitch. If you’re going to offer information as a free gift that goes along with your product, make sure that the information is useful to the person reading it and that it doesn’t try to sell your product in some clever way.
The more customers feel like they can trust you the more likely they are to take your web marketing seriously.
How to Get Good Reviews from Your Existing Customers for Local Marketing
Utilizing features such as the integration of Google maps with local reviews as a way of marketing is an idea that is just starting to be put into action by many businesses. Unfortunately, the way many businesses are utilizing those local reviews may be lacking in many regards.
One very effective strategy to getting good reviews on Google is to ask your existing customers to write reviews. There are certain things that you should request of them, if they are going to do this, that can make your reviews a lot more credible to the people who may make a business decision based upon reading them.
Skip the Long Narrative
Take a look at some local reviews and you’ll find plenty of them that have very long narratives that are essentially so personal that other people would likely have a hard time relating to them. One of the most clichéd examples will start out with something along the lines of “At first I was skeptical, but…”.
Some of the reviews that you’ll find along these lines are actual, spontaneous reviews written by customers. The problem with them is that they have the appearance of being a fake. They sound like every other review, in essence, which makes it sound like they were professionally written or that they were requested reviews that the business asked the person to write.
If you’re going to ask people to write reviews of your business, ask them to include specific points about your business. For example, instead of just putting up a flyer in your business requesting people to ask reviews, asked them to write a review about your customer service, your return policy or something else that doesn’t appear on Google at the moment. This prevents your reviews from being so generic that people either think that they’re just made up or people get very little value out of them for having read them.
Local marketing is becoming such an important part of Internet marketing on the whole that it’s worth it to extend yourself a little bit to get good local reviews. Consider offering an incentive to customers who go ahead and write a review. This is a good way to encourage them to do so and, of course, to get them to remember that you asked when they walk out the door.
You may want to even consider asking people to write a review on the spot on their mobile device and offer them an incentive right away. Just be sure that the review that they do write sounds authentic and that it gives customers valid information about your business.
Provide a Better User Experience By Leveraging Caching & Utilizing CDNs
If you’re utilizing WordPress as your CMS, you have the option of using a caching plug-in, which can greatly increase performance. Two of the most popular – which are also endorsed by WordPress.org – include W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.
If your search engine optimization efforts pay off, you’re going to see a significant increase in the amount of traffic to your website. The easiest way to make a web surfer think that they made a bad decision about visiting your website is to have a website that loads too slowly and that doesn’t offer them the kind of snappy response that people with broadband connections expect. Caching can help to reduce the load on your server and can make your webpage a lot more available to people when they come to visit.
What Kind of WordPress Caching To Use
There are two types of caching you can do: browser caching and server caching.
Browser caching utilizes the visitor’s own browser to reduce the load on your server. Essentially, this type of caching takes the static elements of your webpage – which usually include the headers, footers and so forth – and caches them on the visitor’s computer so that their browser doesn’t request a fresh copy every time they load a page. This is an ideal solution for websites that are getting a moderately high amount of traffic. If the amount of traffic that you get spikes to very high levels, however, you will want to look at server caching as a better option.
Unless you have an extremely busy website, you should be able to get away with using a single server for caching. For the most trafficked websites in the world, however, multiple servers are oftentimes employed for this purpose, but it’s unlikely that most businesses – even very busy businesses – will need to go this far.
Server caching is very similar to browser caching, except that the server is employed to provide the cash of static elements. This reduces the amount of calls that browsers have to make to construct active content and to load content that never really changes.
Implementing Caching for WordPress
As far as server caching goes, you want to have an experienced professional implement this for you. Browser caching, however, can be implemented by simply installing one of the aforementioned plug-ins and configuring them so that you reduce the load on your server. You may not notice the benefits until you start to get quite a bit of traffic, but they will be there and it will make a difference in terms of your visitor experience.
CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)
While it’s been around long enough to be well past the point of being the latest trend, mobile design is getting another hashing over in the news. In several different media outlets, it’s become apparent that there are some logistics involved in mobile design that go far beyond making things accessible or reaching out to a broader audience.
Ads and Mobile Design
At the heart of any mobile design endeavor is creating a webpage that can accommodate the smaller – and frequently changing – sizes of the various mobile designs on the market. What commonly becomes an issue, according to many experts, is how to maintain the visibility of advertising on webpages while still allowing users access to content.
The trade-off here is not hard to understand. In order to accommodate the screen sizes of both a smart phone and an iPad, webpages are necessarily compacted and reduced in terms of the amount of content that they present. In addition to this, many advertisements demand system resources in a way that is not necessarily amicable to the smaller processors found on mobile devices.
To make things even more complex, including advertisements also tends to reduce them to sizes that may make them completely unreadable on mobile devices. Combine this with the banner blindness that users on the Internet typically exhibit, and you have a formula for making mobile design more complex than ever. Without advertisements, most sites lose their profitability very quickly and offering a mobile alternative to the full website may make it impossible for advertisers to maintain their conversions on the advertising that they are paying for.
Adjusting to Variability
With a constant stream of new Apple and Android devices coming out on the market, it’s become apparent that screen sizes are not likely to be consistent anytime soon and that designers will have to continue to accommodate this ever shifting playing field where getting advertisements in front of eyes is concerned.
According to some experts, this may make the mobile design trend simply a fad that is about to outlive its usefulness. With mobile devices getting larger screens all the time, in fact, it is more convenient for some users to use the full-sized, desktop version of a website than it is to use the oftentimes compromised functionalities of mobile websites. Where design is concerned, including multimedia, banners and other popular forms of advertisements is likely to continue to be a significant challenge as the mobile landscape evolves.
According to multiple sources, usage statistics for Facebook have been rapidly declining among teenagers. In fact, according to information from Time, this valuable demographic may be starting to lose its fascination with the massive social network that is Facebook. What’s coming in to fill in that void? Unfortunately for advertisers, the most popular venue for the teenage demographic – that being a demographic with a great deal of disposable income – is also a venue that isn’t particularly amicable to advertising.
So, where are teenagers heading these days? According to multiple statistics – with some variability – approximately 60% of teenagers are now using mobile apps designed to work with Tumblr. Tumblr, while there are various ways to use it to get conversions and sales, is not nearly as developed as an advertising platform as is Facebook. As their parents and grandparents start ratcheting up the friend requests, however, teenagers are looking for a place where they can interact with their friends and not have to worry about everything they say ending up on the newsfeeds of authority figures in their lives.
Making it Easy
Currently, Tumblr has a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. Utilizing this mobile device, users can share pictures, blog entries and just about anything else they feel like sharing with friends as easily as they can on Facebook. Add to this the fact that Tumblr hasn’t added advertisements to people’s newsfeeds in the same invasive way that Facebook has, and the fact that parents haven’t seemed to have caught on to the Tumblr blog format quite as much as they have to Facebook, and you have the perfect place for teenagers to hang out, interact and spend their time.
Making it Personal
Facebook, once again, has gotten itself a lot of negative feedback from users over the recent changes to the arrangement of the timeline. At the same time that Facebook maintains a rather generic profile layout and very controlled features, Tumblr has a collection of free and premium themes that users can employ to create a very personal web experience.
A large deal of Facebook’s appeal is likely due to the fact that the platform is enormously easy to use. As users – particularly young users – become more technically adept, are able to utilize themes to personalize their blogs and seek ways to get out of the social network where parents and teachers seem to be constantly looking over their shoulders, those who advertise on social media may want to consider branching out to different platforms to reach this incredibly valuable demographic.