Are you wooing or rejecting your visitors?

One of the hardest things that businesses struggle with online is how fast Internet technologies change, affecting their web sites' visitors, performance and rankings.

Many people expect that once a web site has been created, it will always be the same, always show up on the searches and always look fine for every visitor regardless of what tools they use to view it.

Unfortunately, the Internet is always in flux. Computers and devices come, go and evolve frequently, and new online 'standards' are created almost daily.

Just because your site looked normal and was doing well six months ago, you cannot assume that it is still the same today on newer, more advanced equipment.

Often, when web designers create a site for a client, they design the site to work on their favorite browser, such as Firefox, and don't think much beyond that.

Worse are the designers who arrogantly ignore a browser. I have actually heard of designers, when told that their site looks wrong on Internet Explorer, say 'nobody uses that, it's garbage.' The fact that around 50% of visitors do use IE was irrelevant.

This is a dangerous philosophy, as it is their clients who pay for lost visitors because the site doesn't work on their version of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, or the many other browsers out there.

Furthermore, tablet visitors are becoming increasingly common. Many people, especially those on-the-go, use tablets more often than PCs or laptops simply because they are portable, easier to work from than a phone, and start up quickly.

I use my tablet every morning to browse and read e-mails. I also do the same in the evening, or to look things up when I'm away from my computer.

As a web developer, I am probably more aware than others of things on sites which seem to ignore the device I'm using.

Firstly, screen size differences. A phone shows a much smaller screen area than a tablet, which has a smaller screen area than PC or Mac. This means that, ideally, your site should have three main screen versions.

Secondly, unless they are connected via Wi-Fi, mobile devices use cellular data, which has slower connections. This can not only increase the page loading time, but can often make it load in an unpredictable way. Smaller size items such as text blocks load first, while other items, especially photos, take longer. On a desktop this is hardly noticeable, but when slowed-down elements seem to just appear, they push other things out of position or cover them up completely.

Also, bells and whistles effects and even things like simple image slide shows can really slow a site down on mobile. Also, any Adobe Flash elements will still take the time to load in, but will not show at all on many devices.

Navigation is also one of the biggest issues with a majority of sites.

Many web designers create menus which expand as a mouse passes over them, for example, a menu item called 'Services,' with several pages that pop-out under it.

The problem with tablets and phones is that they are not mouse based, they are touch based. So if you click an item to try to expand its pop out menu, the click only activates the link and loads the main page.

Depending on your menu, if you're lucky it may then load with that category expanded. If not, the visitor will never be able to reach any of those pop out pages.

The bottom line for mobile devices, especially using cellular data: any or all of the above items can cause slow loading. This will not only lead to impatience, but visitors knowing that their data cap is also being eaten up while your site takes so long to load, will be more likely to leave faster.

Online, your site is one among thousands of others offering the same products or services. Believe it or not, you can look your best without breaking the bank.

If you have concerns with your web presence, now is the perfect time to look into our WebUpdate system sites, which take advantage of advanced marketing, SEO and promotion features to give your business the best competitive edge online.

Mark Jones - VP of Marketing Jones Printing

What our clients are saying ...

While continually reinvesting into our company, we knew we needed a more effective way to manage our web site and keep visitors informed of our printing capabilities and new products and offerings.

Terry and his team at Internet Marketing and Design made this possible and showed us how to reach out to new customers in Hampton Roads and beyond.

Their website management software is user friendly, and of course, Terry is there every step of the way to teach you all the tips and tricks of SEO and more.

- Mark Jones, V.P. of Marketing

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