Harnessing the Value of Technology in Marketing Your Website
by Jillian Stone, Stone Mountain Solutions, LLC
Marketing trends and technology change almost as fast as the speed of light which is 669,600,000 miles per hour. The speed of sound is 767 miles per hour. The speed of technology is growing exponentially according to the experts.
Wait! Before you leave…this is not a dry, boring, super-intellectual article on science (which wouldn’t be boring if you happen to be a scientist). It’s an article on the science AND the art of website design.
I’m certainly not a scientist. I’m just a designer trying to keep up on the latest marketing, technology and web design trends for my clients so I can provide the best design solutions for them to help them find success with their individual website goals.
Combining Marketing and Design Trends
Today, according to a Morgan Stanley report, mobile internet usage is increasing. What that means for businesses if they want to compete in the mobile world is they will need to be able to adapt their websites to make viewing on mobile devices a pleasant and easy user experience.
As I do my research on website design, I discover the fact that the trends are moving quickly to users viewing websites more often from their mobile devices than on desktops. It makes sense. When we get a whim to know something about a business, a product or idea, it’s often when we aren’t sitting at our desktops. It can be anywhere!
- In a restaurant as we discuss a movie.
- On the bus when we want to learn what stores are available at the end of our destination.
- In the doctors’ office when we want to know about a procedure or certain drug.
The savvy business owner will ensure that their website is created in such a way that the user will have a good experience when they visit their website from any device. Harnessing the value provided by technology allows marketing opportunities that were reserved for the big guys in the past.
So what does that mean for the future of website design?
Well, it means website design has become more complicated. Having responsive websites or other types of websites that can be view from mobile devices is a necessity. Having a website is now no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. Currently there are several options that will help a business determine the right solution for them once they determine the goal of their website.
Here’s a very brief look at the various types of solutions for responsive websites to enable you to stay on track with the growing trend of internet searches using mobile devices.
The Mobile Website
A Mobile Website is built specifically for mobile devices to perform a specific function and is separate from the main site built for the desktop application.
The mobile website is meant to provide a targeted market with content that is specific to their needs. It’s not the main website of a company; it’s a stand-alone website often with a separate URL address than the main site. It’s usually built to use as a marketing tool to accomplish what the sales and marketing departments set out to accomplish.
One problem with this option is the challenge of trying to manage, promote and optimize two websites. However, if your website is large and targets many types of users, it would make more sense to create smaller mobile sites.
The App “Website”
An app is a program built to target a user for a specific purpose enabling the user to have an intimate experience with the brand. Apps are built for specific mobile devices and not all apps will work on all devices across the board. A good example of an app like this is the app designed for the shopping channel QVC. When you download this app on your phone, Kindle, or other mobile device you can easily search, shop even watch the live show right on your mobile device. It’s like your own mini store where you can shop right from your favorite chair.
However, some of the problems with this type of website is they can be quite time consuming to create and can easily be deleted from the users phone or other mobile device.
They do work well with businesses that want the personalized user experience to be foremost and content secondary. These are a great option for magazines, games or shopping.
Another mobile solution is a Responsive Website which adapts to the specific mobile device on which the website is being viewed. It takes your complete website and allows it to be displayed in total on your mobile device; whatever type of mobile device you are using. It adapts the placement of elements on a page allowing you to just scroll down to see the entire website page.
If you don’t already have a website, this is a great solution you. Or if your old website hasn’t been updated in a while, a responsive website would be a great upgrade for an old, out of date web presence.
A Word about Parallax Websites
Parallax websites are trendy right now but according to the research I’ve done, they are already on their way out. These one page scrolling websites present large pictures and sliders, have a beautiful and dramatic appeal but they are not a wise choice in web design for several reasons. In particular, they are not SEO friendly and can actually hamper your organic search results. For more information about this design concept read what Website Magazine has to say about the pros and cons of Parallax web design then make your own conclusions.
The Bottom Line
Most small businesses would benefit from the responsive web designs. One good reason why I recommend this option is that Google is has clearly indicated that it prefers responsive designs and has announced earlier this year that they will give priority in the search results to responsive websites over those that are not responsive. If you’re not growing with the technology, you risk the opportunity to be found when that mobile user is looking for the business, good or service that you offer.