Mobile-First Design Is No Longer a Choice; It’s The Key to Modern Web

Mobile-First Design Is No Longer a Choice; It’s The Key to Modern Web

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever squinted and zoomed your way around a clunky website on your phone. 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️ Yeah, me too.

By 2024, over 58% of global website traffic comes from mobile devices, and this percentage continues to grow every year.

So, having a website that’s NOT mobile-friendly just DOESN’T work!

Percentage of Internet Traffic Comes From Mobile Devices 2024

The Importance of Mobile-Friendly, Responsive Websites

Here’s why you should care:

  • Happy Users, Happy Life:
    A seamless mobile experience keeps your visitors engaged and coming back for more. Nobody wants to pinch and zoom to read your content.
  • SEO – Google Loves It:
    The big G is all about mobile-first indexing, meaning it prioritizes mobile versions of websites for ranking. In other words, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your SEO rankings will suffer.
  • Everyone’s Doing It:
    Seriously, if your competitors have already embraced mobile responsiveness, you’re falling behind.
Responsive website for educator and consultant

Mobile-First Design

Mobile-first design is a strategy where the mobile version of a website is prioritized and designed first before scaling up for larger screens. This approach ensures that your site performs optimally on the most restrictive devices, providing a solid foundation for more complex designs on larger screens. Embracing a mobile-first mindset helps you create a streamlined, user-friendly experience that caters to the growing mobile user base.

Mobile devices have unique constraints like smaller screens, slower internet, and less processing power. Designing for mobile first forces you to focus on the core content, functionality, and fast load times – creating a lean and seamless experience that translates well to all devices.

Also, it can save time and money compared to separate mobile/desktop builds. If time and resources are limited to optimizing your website for one environment, choose the one that most of your users will be on – most likely mobile. With a mobile-first foundation, you can cost-effectively scale up the experience for larger screens rather than trying to shoehorn a desktop design into mobile.

How Do I Know If My Website Is Mobile-Friendly and Responsive?

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3!

Before we dive into how to make your site mobile-friendly, let’s see how yours stacks up. Here are a few handy tools for testing mobile responsiveness:

  • Browser Developer Tools:
    Modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge have built-in responsive design testing tools that allow you to emulate different device viewports and screen sizes. In Chrome, you can access this by opening DevTools (F12) and toggling the Device Toolbar.
    Here’s a post with detail steps demonstrating how to run a quick audit for your web page, including mobile friendliness.
    How To Perform An Effective Website Audit For Free
  • Online Responsive Testing Tools
    PageSpeed Insights: This Google tool measures your site’s speed on both mobile and desktop, and gives you tips for improvement.
    Am I Responsive?: This simple web tool lets you see how your site looks on different devices
    Responsive Design Checker: Tests responsiveness across preset and custom device sizes.
  • BrowserStack:
    It’s a cloud-based cross-browser testing platform that allows you to test websites on real mobile devices and desktop browsers. It provides a responsive design checker to instantly view your site across various viewports.

Regular Testing on Actual Devices

In addition to using these tools, it’s essential to test your website on actual mobile devices. This includes iPhones, Android smartphones, tablets, and different browsers. Ask your friends with iPhones, Androids, and tablets to give your site a spin. Real-world testing is invaluable.

How To Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Use Mobile Simulators

Utilizing mobile simulators on major website builders can also help ensure your site is mobile-friendly. Here’s how you can leverage tools within popular platforms:

  • WordPress: Use the built-in Customizer to preview your site on different devices. Install responsive design plugins to enhance mobile compatibility.
  • Wix: The Wix Editor provides a mobile view where you can customize your site’s mobile version separately from the desktop view. But as of now (2024) Wix Editor does not provide a tablet view, and that’s a disappointment.
  • Weebly: Weebly’s editor includes a mobile preview option, allowing you to see and edit how your site appears on mobile devices.
  • Shopify: Shopify’s theme editor includes mobile previews, and many themes are built with mobile responsiveness in mind.
Wordpress Editor Mobile View
Wix Editor Mobile View

Avoid Certain UI Elements on Mobile

Certain elements that work well on desktop might not translate well to mobile. For example:

  • Flipboxes: These interactive elements rely on mouse hover, which is not available on touchscreens.
  • Complex Dropdown Menus: They can be difficult to navigate on smaller screens.
  • Large Image Carousels: They may slow down your site’s loading time on mobile devices.

Consider replacing these elements with mobile-friendly alternatives, such as simple cards or accordions, to enhance usability on smaller screens.

Prioritize Essential Content

Mobile screens are smaller, so focus on the most important content. Make your navigation clear and easy to use with a thumb.

Don’t Forget About OS and Browser Compatibility

Your website should look and function smoothly across popular operating systems such as Windows, Apple OS, Android and iOS; as well as main stream browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Regularly test your site on different devices and browsers to ensure consistency. A broken layout or missing functionality in one browser could send users running for the hills!

Check Google Analytics to see which operating system and browsers your users are on mostly.


United States browser use 2024

Conclusion

Mobile responsiveness isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. A mobile-friendly website will keep your users happy, your search rankings high, and your business competitive in the digital age. So, go ahead and make the switch – your visitors (and Google) will thank you!

Want to learn what other web design aspects are essential to your website’s success?
Read: 7 UX & Design Tips To Boost Your Website Success.

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7 UX & Design Tips to Boost Your Website Success

7 UX & Design Tips to Boost Your Website Success

In the competitive digital landscape, a website is often the first point of contact between your business and its potential customers.

As such, the importance of user experience (UX) design and site structure cannot be overlooked, and they play a pivotal role in enhancing overall website performance and retaining visitors.

Let’s delve into the critical aspects of UX design and site structure that you should pay close attention to.

1. Responsive Design for a Seamless Experience

  • The Multi-Device World:
    Users access websites from smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablets everyday.
    Responsive design ensures your website adapts to different screen sizes, providing a consistent and enjoyable experience across all devices.
  • Mobile first: in 2024, over 90% users surfing the Internet are on their smart phones. So, prioritize optimizing your website design and experience for these smart devices, over other devices.
    Also, don’t forget to optimize for the most popular web browsers: Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox (for 2024).
  • Search Engine Love:
    Google and other search engines favor responsive websites, boosting your search rankings and visibility.
Percentage of Internet Traffic Comes From Mobile Devices 2024

United States browser use 2024

2: Branding with Accessibility in Mind

  • Colors and Fonts Speak Volumes:
    Your choice of colors and fonts reflects your brand personality and sets the tone for the user experience.
    While brand consistency is key, ensure you also prioritize accessibility and readability.
  • Contrast is Important:
    Choose colors with sufficient contrast for users with visual impairments, even if your business is not required by law to be accessibility compliant.
    Tools like WebAIM’s contrast checker can help you verify that your choices are accessible.
  • Readability Rules:
    Opt for clear, easy-to-read fonts. Avoid overly decorative typefaces.
    Font size matters too – choose sizes that are comfortable to read on various devices.
    Headings and subheadings break up your content making it more digestible.

Here’s a quick example for color contrast:
When designing a button for the home page, if you want to use Gold (#C5A059) as the background color of the button, because it’s one of the brand colors.
Then, which color should you use for the text on the button?
White (#FFFFFF) or Black (#000000)?

After testing with these color combinations in WebAIM’s contrast checker, we know that Black text over Gold background will provide higher contrast ratio, and pass the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) compliance.
Thus, it will also help your website obtain a higher score on Google’s Chrome Lighthouse audit on Web Accessibility.

color contrast for web accessibility webiaim contrast checker failed
color-contrast-for-web-accessibility-webiaim-contrast-checker-passed

3. Site Structure – Navigation is Key

A well-planned site structure and intuitive navigation are foundational to a positive user experience.

  • Navigation as Your Guide:
    Your website’s menu is its roadmap. Design an intuitive navigation system that helps users effortlessly find what they’re looking for. Proper categorization of your products or services makes the journey seamless.
  • Sitemaps and URLs:
    Sitemaps help search engines crawl your website efficiently, It should also clearly outline the hierarchy of pages, for both user and search engines.
    Descriptive URLs and title names boost understanding for both users and search engines.

Example:
Imagine a user seeking a sweet dessert wine on the Internet and found the home page of your online wine store. With a clear menu like this, they could easily find what they’re looking for within a few clicks or seconds:
Home Page -> Wines -> Sweet Wines -> Dessert Wines
The goal is to make it easy for users to find their desired products or information in as few clicks and as little time as possible.

Intuitive Site Structure and Navigation for website performance

4. Layout – Design for Clarity & Comfort

Column Power:
A balanced column structure organizes content logically. Some content might look better distributed in a 4-column row than a single-column on the desktop view. But don’t forget to check the mobile and tablet views as well. With the narrow screen sizes, the same content might look better displayed in a 2-column or even a single-column row.
Use the Device Simulator tool on Chrome or Safari’s DevTool to check the responsiveness of your websites.

Whitespace Matters:
Ample space between elements improves readability and overall visual appeal. Avoid cramped layouts.

Example of a 3-column row on desktop view
Example of stacking columns on mobile view

5. Image Impact

  • Visual Storytelling:
    High-quality, relevant images or videos break up text, enhance engagement, and should align with your brand aesthetic.
    Carefully consider whether photos, illustrations, or a combination best suit your brand and content.
  • Optimization is Key:
    Don’t forget to optimize images for faster site load times using compression and optimization. There are both built-in tools within popular website building platforms and external tools to perform these tasks.
    For WordPress websites, I recommend these plugins: Optimole, Smush, Speed Optimizer
    For external image optimization tools, I recommend: tinify / TinyPNG, paint.net
  • Don’t Forget About SEO:
    Use descriptive file names, titles, captions, and alt-text for accessibility and SEO benefits.

6. Call to Actions That Drive Results

  • Guiding Your Visitors:
    Clear and compelling calls to action (CTAs), like “Learn More About Us”, “Sign Up for Classes Here”, or “Shop Now,” encourage user interaction and conversions.
  • Placement and Design:
    Calls to action (CTAs) guide users towards your business objectives, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for newsletters, or contacting customer service.
    Strategically Positioning clear and compelling CTAs throughout your site with eye-catching designs and hard-to-resist messages can significantly increase conversion rates.

Example: take a look at the CATs on this webpage: https://mlhaesthetics.com/landing/.

7. Additional User-Friendly Features

  • Back to the Top
    On lengthy pages, a “back to top” button saves visitors from endless scrolling.
  • Search for Simplicity
    For large websites, a search bar allows users to instantly locate specific content.
  • Find Me Fast:
    Ensure contact information and forms are accessible, encouraging potential customers to reach out. Here’s where you can go the extra mile:
    • Add a Map: For local businesses, embed a Google map or provide a clear link for directions.
    • Click to Connect: implement a “tel:” hyperlinks for phone numbers to enable one-tap calling on mobile. And add a “mailto:” hyperlinks for email addresses to open email apps directly.
    • Connect to Social: Integrate links on the website to the business’s social media platforms, so your users can easily follow and share.
  • The Power of Forms:
    A contact form streamlines communication, allowing you to capture valuable user information. Think: what kind of information would be most important to capture when your potential customer fills out a form?
    • The Essentials: Name, email, and phone number are a must. Location information can be useful as well.
    • Understanding Interests: Include fields to learn about the specific services or products they are interested in.
    • Marketing Insights: Discover how they found your website (search, social media, etc.) to gauge your marketing efforts.
    • Balancing Act: Strike a balance between gathering info and keeping your form concise.
    • Privacy Promise: Always link to your privacy policy for transparency and compliance.
    • Example: take a look at this contact form: https://mlhaesthetics.com/landing/#form.

Conclusion

A well-designed website that considers all aspects of UX design and site structure is crucial for maintaining visitor engagement and achieving business success. By focusing on these elements, you can ensure that your site not only attracts but also retains users, providing them with a satisfying and seamless experience.

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Ignite Your Content Strategy: How to Create Effective Content

Ignite Your Content Strategy: How to Create Effective Content

Creating content that resonates with your audience is a superpower we should all strive to develop.

Yes, there are many Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools you can use nowadays to assist with content creation. Some can even generate a whole article for you based off only a few words in the prompt.

However, while it can provide the words, AIs can’t create the connection you desire for your audience. You must put in the effort to ensure that your content sounds like you, a real person, and brings value to your reader.

E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trust

Remember in one of our previous posts SEO Fundamentals: Laying The Groundwork, we explained how E-E-A-T is a key factor to ranking at the top of search engine results?

When you provide high-quality content that is relevant and speaks directly to your audience you will create a connection that will be difficult to break. You will become their Subject Matter Expert on your particular solution. You’ll be the go-to authority that they can depend on. No one else and certainly no AI knows your business, your expertise, your passion, and your audience better than you.

Your expertise comes from the experiences you’ve had, the tools you use, and the benefits of the products or services you provide. WOW! Now you’ve got a whole bunch of things that you can use as topics for your content.

Keyword Research

Understanding what your target audience is searching online is also an important part of crafting result-driven content. Read more on Leveraging Long Tail Keywords For SEO Success.

Capture, Connect, and Convert with Great Content

Imagine you sell kites. Your content topics could be about a kite flying contest you entered (experience), the best kite string to use (tools), and why kite flying is a stress reliever (benefits).

See what I did there? Each topic is loaded with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keyword opportunities!

HERE’S THE FORMULA – BUILD IT AND THEY WILL READ.

  1. Start with a title that attracts the reader’s attention.
    HOW TO REDUCE STRESS WITH KITE FLYING
  2. Give them an opening that hooks them into the content:
    Kite flying has a therapeutic effect and helps to reduce anxiety and depression. Just 20 minutes of kite flying is shown to improve mood, provide exercise, and create silly smiles.
  3. Next, elaborate on your opening statement with a line or two about each of your three points.
    Improve Mood – get outdoors, reconnect, inexpensive mini-escape
    Gentle Exercise – hold tight to the kite string, walk/run to get lift, keep looking up!
    Silly Smiles – you relax and naturally smile, other people smile, it’s contagious.
  4. Finally, CTA – Call To Action
    Tell the reader how to connect with you so that they can learn more or make a purchase.
    Want to learn how to build your own kite? Click here to sign up for our kite building class.

CAPTURE – CONNECT – CONVERT

With that little bit of content, you have captured your reader, connected with them by providing valuable information, and the call to action at the bottom of the content converts them to at least a follower if not a client.

YOU did it! Not a bot who has no feeling for your audience.

EMOTION MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

AI is great for generating information. It is not so hot at making a connection between you and your reader. While you can use AI to build a foundation for your content, be sure to put your touch on it.

Your personality should shine through in your content. It may be high energy with ALL CAPS, or it might be a soothing tone that calms the reader. That personality is what will make the reader connect with you. Your tribe will naturally come to you, and they will share your insights with other like-minded folks.

EWE MUST PROOFREAD

You absolutely need to check your content for the basics like grammar and spelling errors, and errors in fact or what AI calls “hallucinations.” Get another human to review your stuff before you send it out. You can repay the favor by giving their content a once over.

Watch your words. Would you call a whale a cetacean, and would your readers know what that is? Use language that resonates with you and your readers.

Your content should sound like you are having a conversation. No matter if you have 10 or 10,000 followers, each person is all ears and eyes focused on your message. Honor that by giving them something worthy of their time and attention.

BE ORIGINAL

And in case you missed the message, AI content is regurgitated. Like the dog’s dinner.

Put your personal touch on your content and stand out from all your competition.  

Be human, be you!

Conclusion

So, you’d wonder: who wrote this article? A human or a bot?

A human, of course! This post is attributed to Jane H. Maulucci, founder of The Reactive Voice. She’s a copywriter, ghostwriter, author, and the content creator for a lot of LinearTech’s website content. Need some help crafting great content that Capture, Connect, and Convert your audience? Connect with Jane.

Want to learn more about SEO? check out our Resources page, or sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter below. No spam. Easy unsubscribe any time.

Leveraging Long Tail Keywords for SEO Success in 2024 (Examples, List of Tools, & AI Prompts)

Leveraging Long Tail Keywords for SEO Success in 2024 (Examples, List of Tools, & AI Prompts)

Looking to catch the eye of Google searchers at just the right moment?

I bet you’ve heard the term “keywords” a lot in the topic of Search Engine Optimization, right?

Let’s be real – keywords aren’t magic beans. They’re the everyday phrases we type into search bars to find what we need. As content creators, we want our web pages to be those answers!

But with millions of searches happening, how do you break through the noise?

Utilize Long Tail Keywords. They’re our secret weapon to reaching the right people with less competition.

As I always say: There’s no magic in SEO. It’s all science. But not rocket science. Let me break it down for you:

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are specific, multi-word search phrases that people use to find exactly what they’re looking for online. They’re the opposite of short, generic keywords.

Imagine someone searching for “shoes.” Now, compare that to “women’s running shoes for flat feet.” Which one sounds like they know what they want?

That’s your long tail keyword at work – specific, targeted, and way easier to rank for than just “shoes.”

Long-Tail Keyword Examples:

  • Short keyword: “yoga”
  • Long-tail keyword: “yoga studio in Brooklyn with meditation and yin classes for adult beginners”
  • Short keyword: “shoes”
  • Long-tail keyword: “Buy breathable high ankle running socks for teenager boys online”
  • Short keyword: “facials”
  • Long-tail keyword: “organic facial treatments in Austin”, “natural base anti-aging facials”
  • Short keyword: “meditation”
  • Long-tail keyword: “how long should a daily meditation take”, “does meditation help with weightloss”
  • Short keyword: “Taekwondo”
  • Long-tail keyword: “Taekwondo studio near me with beginner adult classes in the evening”, “Taekwondo summer camp for school-age children”

Why Long-Tail Keywords are SEO Gold in 2024?

  • Less Competition: Everyone’s fighting over those short keywords. Long-tails give you a better shot at ranking high in search results, especially for newer websites.
  • Increased Relevance: Long-tail keywords attract people actively seeking your specific product or service. That means higher potential for them to convert!
  • Higher Conversion Rates: Targeted traffic means a better chance of turning visitors into buyers.
  • Niche Targeting: Get your business in front of your ideal customers.
  • Voice Search and AI Search Friendly: People speak naturally to their devices. Long-tails match those conversational queries (think: “Alexa, where’s the best local pizza?”).
  • Local SEO Dominance: Perfect for attracting people searching within your area.

How to Find the Perfect Long-Tail Keywords

Looking for the perfect long tail keywords for your business? Here’s what you can do:

1. Brainstorming and Think Like Your Audience

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

What specific questions would they ask?

What would they put in the search box to get the best answers and solutions?

Generative AI for content creation

2. Utilize Generative AI

Have you tried getting AIs such as Google’s Gemini or OpenAI’s ChatGPT to assist you with daily tasks and content creation? Here’s a prompt you can try to get some keyword ideas:

Act as an SEO expert and online content marketer, provide [5-10] long tail keyword suggestions for the following business, target audience, and location:
Type of Business: [Describe the business in 1-2 sentence.]
Product or Service [Enter your product or service.]
Target Audience: [Enter information about your ideal customers. Be specific with demographics, interests, etc.]
Location: [City, State, and any relevant neighborhoods]
(Optional) Unique Selling Points: [What sets your business apart? Special services, niche products, etc.]

Want to know which AI is better for you in content assistance? Read my recent article on:
OpenAI’s ChatGPT VS Google Gemini – AI Content Showdown

3. Utilize Keyword Research Tools

Use Google Suggest for long tail keywords

Here are some tools, both free and with paid options, to get you started:

Conclusion

Long tail keywords are about matching your content to what people are specifically searching for. It’s not rocket science; it’s just smart marketing. Start weaving these into your SEO strategy, and watch your site start to climb up those search rankings.

Want to learn more about SEO, check out our Resources page, or sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter below. No spam. Easy unsubscribe any time.

Need a hand finding the perfect long-tail keywords for your business? Contact us for a personalized SEO strategy session!

OpenAI’s ChatGPT VS Google Gemini – AI Content Showdown

OpenAI’s ChatGPT VS Google Gemini – AI Content Showdown

Which AI Tool is Right For You for Content Creation?

Are you harnessing the power of Generative AI for brainstorming, daily tasks, and content creation? These tools are revolutionizing how we work! If you’re using them (or curious to start), you might wonder which AI platform is best for generating killer content. Today, we’re throwing two of the biggest names into the ring: OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Gemini (Bard). Let’s get ready to rumble! 🥊

Having delved into the insights provided by NP Digital’s recent webinar, combined with my personal experience and analysis, this blog post aims to dissect the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of both ChatGPT and Gemini in the arena of content generation for digital marketing. 🌐✍️

The Contestants

OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini are at the cutting edge of generative AI technology. Both platforms have been designed to revolutionize how we create, conceptualize, and execute our content strategies. But how do they compare in the nitty-gritty aspects of content writing, such as quality, human-like articulation, and uniqueness?

The Rounds

Pros of ChatGPT for Content

Round 1: Pros of ChatGPT for Content Generation

ChatGPT shines with its focus on creative text generation, engaging open-ended conversations, and the ability to perform in-depth analyses of copied/pasted spreadsheet data. It boasts multilingual support for over 50 languages and offers extensive plugin support on its paid plan, making it incredibly versatile. Additionally, it allows users to sign up with any email address, ensuring accessibility.

Round 2: Cons of ChatGPT for Content Generation

However, ChatGPT isn’t without its flaws. It has a tendency to produce verbose and cliché language, lacks access to real-time information, and cannot access URLs for reference or analysis.

Round 3: Pros of Gemini for Content Generation

Gemini, on the other hand, excels with simple prompts, providing direct access to Google’s up-to-date information, the ability to access URLs, and the option to upload images for analysis. Its one-click response modifications, along with the capability to generate three drafts for comparison, offer unparalleled convenience. Like ChatGPT, Gemini supports multilingual content creation, albeit in over 40 languages.

Round 4: Cons of Gemini for Content Generation

Despite its strengths, Gemini struggles with complex discussions, often resorts to repetitive phrasing, and relies on internet sources that can sometimes be unreliable. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer as many plugins and integrations as some users might hope for.

The Verdict

Content Writing Skills and Human-Likeness

Based on NP Digital’s analysis of 1,000 articles and feedback from 83 respondents, Gemini narrowly outperforms ChatGPT in content writing skills with a score of 188 to 61 and exhibits a slightly more human-like writing style.

Unique Content

When it comes to generating unique content, Gemini also takes the lead, underscoring its capability to produce fresh, original content that stands out.

And the Winner Is…

Gemini emerges as the victor in this showdown! 🥁 With its direct line to Google’s vast information repository, ability to process images, and knack for generating multiple drafts, Gemini offers a compelling suite of features that slightly edges out ChatGPT’s creative prowess.

Your Thoughts?

The world of AI-driven content creation is vast and varied, with each tool holding its unique strengths. Whether you’re a seasoned user or curious to explore what these platforms can offer, your insights and experiences are invaluable.

Have you been surprised by the results? Which generative AI tool do you prefer for your content creation needs? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let’s continue the conversation and unlock the full potential of AI in our creative endeavors.