May 22, 2012

Ensure that your Website Works Well with Small Screen Mobile Gadgets

More and more people are using mobile gadgets to look for information in the Internet. As most of existing websites were developed with big desktop and laptop screens in mind, it may be time to review how your website will perform on mobile Internet devices. You may need to make a few adjustments in your page design to ensure that your website displays correctly and is easily manipulated by mobile device users.

Owners of personal websites usually do not have the resources and know-how to make a mobile version of their websites. What they can do is perhaps to ensure that their site follow a simple design and that their web pages are kept to the minimum in size. They could possibly trim down the contents of their web pages by removing unessential elements that only contribute marginally to the effectiveness of the web page.

If you're hosting your website on Google Sites, you may be pleased to know that there is an option that you can enable to make your website display correctly on small screen mobile gadgets. You can open your site on Google Sites, click on the More button, and then click on Manage site. Look for the option Automatically adjust site to mobile phones and put a check mark on it and then save your settings.

If you're hosting your website on Blogger, there is an option in your template page for showing a mobile version of your website which it seems is enabled by default using a default template. However, when I view a Blogger website on my 7 inch Android tablet, the desktop version is shown. When viewed from an Apple iPhone, the web page was exactly as shown on the preview.

The major thing that must be avoided at all costs is the failure of your website to be zoomed in when viewed on small screen gadgets. I have seen at least one major website whose web pages refuse any attempt to be zoomed in when viewed on a 7 inch tablet. I don't know for sure the reason for why this is happening but rest assured that if your website suffers from this same malady, you can lose a lot of page views from users of mobile Internet gadgets.

You website could be more easily viewed on small screen gadgets if the width of your page is controlled to a size that can be easily navigated on mobile screens. As with desktop and laptop screens, it feels easier to navigate the screen in an upward and downward manner rather than going sideways, that is to and from right to left and vice versa. Your website links should not be placed too close to one another. On tablets, for example, gadget users use their finger to tap on a link to go over to another page. When links are placed close together, there is a tendency for the user to tap on the wrong link and she is thus taken to the wrong page. This can be frustrating for the user of your website.

Be concerned that low-end Android devices do not have the ample resources that desktops and laptops have. Most low-end 7 inch Android tablets only have 1 gigabyte or random access memory. Care should therefore be taken not to make your web page too large in size due to large images and other embedded media. A simple design could go a long way in making your web page more easily usable on small screen mobile gadgets.

Be aware that small screen gadget users will be zooming in on your web page when they are viewing it on their mobile gadgets. Using different font sizes in your page could thus be annoying to the user since by zooming in on the small font text, normal font size text could grow to gigantic proportion. Perhaps other means could be used to show differentiation on text material like for example making the target text italic rather normal instead of reducing its font size.

Yet the best starting point for ensuring that your website will display correctly and perform well on mobile Internet devices is to get hold of a small screen device and use it to view and interact with your web pages. Identify and list down the areas that can be improved upon and then make some adjustments to the design and contents of your web pages. Thus you are making sure that a growing number of Internet users are able to view your site correctly and navigate your website easily. It is a way of future proofing your website since there may come a time when the majority of Internet users would be using mobile Internet devices for accessing information from the Internet.



May 21, 2012

Social Media may not be that Effective in Promoting Information Websites

I have two websites that are not performing as well as my other websites. I read and heard about the social media place where marketing winners and losers are decided on. I tried to use social media in an effort to salvage these two non-performing information websites. I did not succeed. But maybe these two sites are hopeless and should therefore be closed. However, I believe that these two sites contain interesting and helpful articles that could provide value to some individuals who might need the information that they contain.

In search engine optimization, there is an old adage that says that content is king. This aphorism seems to exude a profound truth that is difficult to avoid. No amount of promotion can ever substitute for relevant content. In the case of the two websites that I mentioned, people are simply not interested in what they contain. Thus it is very important for information producers to know what is it that people want to know about. Presumably, people may experience difficulties and may want to resolve a problematic situation. To guide them on what to do, they need information on what solutions other people in a similar situation have found to work.

Or, it could be that the particular subject matter on which the website is operating is just too much saturated with business-run websites that benefit from using paid content creators and search optimizers. Personal websites that choose to operate in such a competitive arena may be bound to suffer loses from more organized and well financed competitors

Or, there may be a weakness in the search algorithm used by the search portals in the Internet. And this should be discussed in relation with the optimization efforts applied to sites that are maintained by business organizations. There may be faults in the design of search algorithms which professional search optimizers are taking advantage of in promoting the websites of their clients.

No one believes that there is fairness or equality in the imperfect world that we're living in. It's every man for himself and if you find yourself in a losing situation, you just have to extricate yourself to avoid getting into more trouble than you can manage. The Internet is but a reflection of the real world that we're inhabiting. There may be reasonably priced and more superior products and services that are losing out to producers with a well-funded marketing effort. The real losers are us the customers who may have to make do with expensive and inferior products just because their manufacturers or providers have political clout and marketing machinery to outsell the competition. Is the idea that the Internet is a level playing field just a myth?

So there are a myriad of reasons for websites not performing as expected. The first of these of course is that the content may not be relevant and most people don't find any use for them. Contributing to that reason is the presence of too many competing sites that may be run by businesses that have enormous resources with which to promote their websites. Then there may be a few weakness on search algorithms that search optimizers are using to get the websites of their clients to the first few pages of the search results.

No amount of social media promotion and for that matter white hat or black hat optimization can improve a website's lackluster performance if the website does not provide relevant content. In my websites' analytics reports, search engines are the major source of web traffic and not referrals from other websites. Even in my worst performing websites, it is still the search engines that top the traffic sources. In such a circumstance, optimization may provide a better result and social media promotion may not generate encouraging results.