Responsive Website Santa Rosa

Hey. Good morning, internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It is Thursday, therefore, today, we are talking about SEO. And as always, I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center down in Petaluma. Good morning, Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Good morning, Ryan. How are you today?

RP: I am doing wonderful, looking forward to Memorial weekend, kinda yes, kinda no, or Labor Day weekend, I should say. Moving into new offices, need more space. So, moving into a larger space this weekend. Looking forward to that, just not looking forward to the moving part.

VD: How lovely. I’ll be camping. Thank you.

RP: Yes. Well, have fun. I hear you’re up in Tahoe.

VD: Yes. We’re very lucky in Sonoma County. We’re very close to many cool locations like Tahoe, San Francisco, and so forth.

RP: Yeah, that’ll be fun. Tahoe’s one of my favorite places to visit. Today, though, we are going to talk about the importance of going mobile for your website and more specifically, making sure that your website is responsive. For those people that don’t understand what “responsive” is, can you kind of give us a brief synopsis?

VD: Responsive is exactly what it means, it responds to the size of your screen, so your website should know if you’re on a smartphone, on a tablet, on a regular PC, is it a 24-inch screen? Is it an 18-inch screen? So, that’s what responsiveness does. It’s not just shrinking everything, it’s just resizing it and moving things into different place, based on the screen size you are currently using.

RP: Okay. Now, a lot of people, and I actually don’t, just talked to a client yesterday of mine, who’s got an old HTML straight site, and she’s really fighting the fact that she needs to spend money, and I think, ultimately, that’s what it is. It’s a financial decision, spending money and upgrading, and going into WordPress platform or responsive platform. Right now, she doesn’t even have a mobile-friendly device. And so that, I think, on our end, we understand that that’s creating issues. I’ve been reading some reports that basically, Google is starting to penalize websites that are not mobile-friendly, and so I don’t know if it’s right to say that they’re prioritizing smartphones over standard computers these days. But Google’s definitely seen the shift in viewers and what they’re using, and so many people are on their smartphone 24/7 hours a day, that it really makes sense as a business owner to have a website that is compatible on a website, just for the simple fact, to make it easy for people to find you and actually see the information on your website on a smartphone.

VD: Well, Google is actually a very loud about the fact that they do penalize website that are not responsive and don’t have a different sites on mobile devices. So they actually put it on their… There’s a place called developers.google.com, and you can find a lot of information. That comes directly from Google to webmasters like ourselves, and it tells you what it likes and what it doesn’t like. It doesn’t tell you everything. They keep a few things secret. But when it comes to responsive design and making a website work well on a smartphone or a tablet, they’re very pro-this. So, they will penalize you if your website is not responsive. That’s the bottom line, and they actually say so on their own website. Now there are two ways to be responsive, you can have responsive design, which is the way to go, and we can discuss the pros and cons between the two methods. The second method is having a mobile site. It’s actually a secondary website that only works on mobile devices.

RP: Right. Now, just so that people understand, ’cause one of the other questions I was gonna ask you is that, okay, well, maybe I’m a business owner, and a couple years ago, I had a mobile site built, so if I grab my smartphone now, and I type in my web address, it’s automatically being redirected to a mobile. Are those people being penalized also? And then the second question would be, what are the pros and cons of having a truly responsive site versus having a website for a computer versus a mobile website?

VD: The way to word it is the people with a mobile site, and not a responsive designed website, are not necessarily penalized than less favored. So, having both is… I mean, having one or the other is better than not having it, because not having it, you are penalized. But if you have a responsive designed site, you will be more favored in the eyes of Google and other search engines. They do prioritize your site. So, in a way, it’s not penalty, but you’re not as high on the ranking because of it. It is a matter of years before mobile device or mobile websites, which we used to code a few years back, are just going to stop working or really go away, just like it happens in the industry. Every few years, some things no longer work. I mean you heard about Flash going away as well. So, that’s going to happen. It’s also expensive to have a mobile website. They cost more money to maintain. When your website is organically responsive, it doesn’t require additional maintenance. It’s done through the code.

RP: Right, and I think the important thing from a business owner’s point of view is that if you currently have a mobile website, it’s literally a second website. So, if you change an address, a phone number. If you change content, my understanding is you have to change it on your main website, but you also have to change it on the mobile site versus a responsive website, it’s one website, it’s one database, therefore, if you make a change, it affects everything. Is that correct?

VD: Yes. That’s one of the greatest advantage of responsive design, is it gives us that ability to make one change and propagate to everywhere. What we found out with clients, especially larger companies that didn’t make the investment in the mobile website a few years back, is they didn’t have a content management system for the mobile site. They may have one for their regular PC website, and most of the time, they made a lot of changes on their regular website, which people will see on the PC. But if you look at their mobile website, it’s very outdated sometimes by several years, and the reason is, is they had to call their webmaster each time, and sometimes the same people that build the sites are no longer in the industry. So, it looks bad for business. Also, you have to have two domain names. I don’t know if people know about…

VD: If you do have a mobile website, you will need a secondary domain name. You could use the subdomain, so if you are abc.com, you could have mobile.abc.com. So, that would be a subdomain, so that’s another possibility. In terms of SEO, it’s better to have all the traffic into one domain name instead of diluted it into two, because if you have two sites, Google is only seeing 50% of traffic here, 50% of traffic. It’s not as good as having one site, and all of the traffic, regardless of the device is being taken into consideration by Google. And that’s the reason why it’s good for SEO to have one unique website and is fully responsive.

RP: Right. And I think from a business owners’ point of view, typically we’re always worried about visibility. How do we get top ranking and having not diluting, like you said, I think is very, very important, and the fact that… One of the things that Google looks at as far as determining your ranking is how many people actually visit your website. So, like you said, if you have 50% going to one and 50% going to the other, just think of what could happen if you combine those two in a responsive site. The other thing that I really like about responsive site, you brought up the CMS, or I hope I got the right terminology there, as far as having a website with a database that as a business owner now, you’re not tied into a web developer to change a phone number or to add a picture to a website or to add a blog to a website.

RP: When you go to a database-driven website such as WordPress, and you have custom sites that you built for clients, is that if you need to make those on the fly changes, you can do them now. They’re instant and if you go with the responsive website, which as far I am concerned, that’s the only way to build a website these days, your mobile devices are updated, your iPad devices will be updated. They’ll see the updated content along with the computer user.

VD: Yes. Again, one of the greatest advantage of it. Another thing, it’s more like on my Geek site is the technology behind the responsive design code is far greater than the code we used to use for mobile websites. So, the code we use for having a site being mobile on its own is becoming archaic, if that makes any sense. So, moving forward as the browsers evolve and they update to new versions, you’re going to continue having greater issues with the mobile website as you would on a singular website that has responsive design already coded into it. So, the truth of the matter is, the way to move forward is responsive design, period. If you already have your mobile device, you have to move away from it somehow, and sometime, you will.

RP: Right. And I think the other thing that you brought up before we started the broadcast that’s really important is, how many people go, “Ah! I’m on a computer all day.” Of course, everybody uses a computer. Not that many people are using a mobile device, and one of the easiest ways, if you’re one of those business owners that’s still really unsure, “Do I need to make the investment, upgrade my website, go to responsive?”, is check your Google Analytics, assuming you have it installed. If you don’t, do it now. It’s very important to have Google Analytics installed. It’s free. It’s very simple if you have a WordPress type of website, you just plug the code in, and it automatically goes out to all the pages. But one of the things that Google Analytics does is it’ll tell you what browser people are using. Are they using a smartphone? Is it an Apple? Is it an Android?

RP: If they are using a computer, what browser? Are they using Safari? Not only will it tell you what people are using, how many people are using smartphones to view your device, or an iPad as an example, but it also gives you a little bit of insights in the type of people who are visiting your website. If you find that 80% of your smartphone users are using an Apple or an iPhone, then that kind of gives you a clear understanding of who your audience is that’s visiting your website. So, that’s any easy way to figure out how important transitioning is. And you brought up some stats. I forget… You posted them in the chat, but I found one that… I had read this years ago, probably a couple of years ago, so, it’s probably higher now, and I’m trying to see. This study was done back in, or this article was posted in April of 2013 that said, “79% of people 18-44, have their smartphones with them 22 hours a day.”

VD: Oh, gosh. That is scary.

RP: Yeah. There was another study that, literally, the phone is not without… Farther than hand’s reach, pretty much 24 hours a day. That’s just the reality of society these days. And even if you go into your Google Analytics, and you only find that maybe 30% of your users are on smartphone, just a couple of years ago, that number was maybe a couple of percents.

VD: Yes, well, as of January of this year, it’s 55% of people browsing the internet are using a mobile device. So, that’s the industry statistics. That’s January, so we’re talking, what, almost nine months ago. So, that number, it can only go bigger. So, again, there are more people using mobile devices to reach the internet as they are using computers. So, it’s staying. It’s not going anywhere.

RP: And the other thing as a business owner that you have to think about, especially if you’re a local business owner is that if you’re out and about and you need something, you’re gonna go to that smartphone right away, and that smartphone’s got GPS, it knows where you’re at, and it’s gonna find local businesses around you. And if you’re not favored by Google because you don’t have a responsive website, think about how much business you could be losing by not making this one simple change.

VD: Oh, yes, especially for local businesses. I mean, if you’re doing a national search, you’re looking for a big ticket item, maybe you are sitting in front of your computer, or at the very least, your tablet. But if you’re looking for a donut shop, or a restaurant or something, a tire repair shop, because you just have that nail in your tire, you’re going to Google it on your phone. You’re actually going to even talk to your phone nowadays. You don’t even type it in. You would say, “Siri, find me the closest tire repair shop.” It will know where you are, and either as a business owner, you’re either there or you’re not there, in a way.

RP: Right.

VD: And if you’re there, your website is most likely responsive. If it’s not responsive, the user is not going to play with it, trying to figure out, “Where is the address? I don’t quite see it. It’s too small.” They’ll go to the next link on the Google search page, and you will miss your opportunity for a sale.

RP: As business owners, the other thing I always try and explain to people is that, especially if you’re an attorney, a dentist, auto repair, where there’s plenty of competition, is that the reality is, especially on mobile device, your real estate is very, very small, which means, a couple of people are gonna show up. If you’re not one of those three or four people that show up at the top of the page, you don’t exist at all. So, you need to give yourself every opportunity to succeed, and responsive is the way to go. I think we beat this up enough. Hopefully, people understand that if you’re a business owner and you don’t have a responsive website, now is the time to do it, not just because as web developers, we’re saying you need to do that, and as SEO experts, we’re saying you need to do that to improve SEO ranking, but because Google themselves is saying, “Look, we’ve matured to a point where so many people are using smartphones. If you want representation, you need to follow the crowd, and you need to be responsive, so that your website is seen on all the different platforms that are out there.”

VD: Very well said, Ryan.

RP: Alright. Well, on that bombshell of a note, I am going to thank you very much for your time, and I hope you have a wonderful vacation with your family this weekend.

VD: Well, you too. Happy Labor Day to everybody.

RP: Alright, take care.

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+