Prepare Your Website Before It’s Too Late
The web design and development industry is changing fast. Practices that were trends last year are now best practices. And last year’s best practices are now the old way of doing things.
When building a website, you can no longer count on the luxury of planning your site around today’s best practices. Future trends need to be accounted for because they can quickly become best practices, and occasionally legally binding.
Today’s nice-to-haves will become tomorrow’s must-haves. So to save yourself time, money, and headache, start planning your web site around the future. The four most important elements in getting your website ready for the future are responsive and mobile design, accelerated mobile pages, and Facebook Instant Articles.
In this article, we’ll explore each element, the benefits, and how to get started with each of these design and development elements.
Mobile and Responsive Design
Responsive web design has pretty much been established as an industry best practice. Especially when Google placed a strong emphasis on responsive websites in their search algorithm.
A large amount of traffic is coming from mobile phones and tablets. This trend is expected to continue for some time. With an abundance of devices, with varying screen sizes, responsive design has become really important.
A website that is responsive allows the design of a site to change based on the screen size the website is being viewed on. This allows business owners to optimize their websites — content, email opt-ins, sales, and more — regardless of the platform a web visitor is using.
Responsive design is also beneficial for SEO, it’s good for the user, and ultimately, it’s good for your business. One thing to note; Mobile design and responsive design, although used interchangeably, are different terms.
Responsive design is about creating a website that is optimized for any device — desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or a mobile phone. Mobile design is only concerned with optimizing a website for a mobile user. It’s worth keeping this subtle difference in mind, since conventional mobile design is now considered an out-dated strategy.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
I sort of skipped over talking about mobile and responsive design because a lot of it has already been written about. But something that hasn’t been covered as much is accelerated mobile pages, or AMP for short.
Accelerated mobile pages is part of an open source project, that is backed by Google, with the intention to build a faster and better experience for mobile users. I like to call it mobile design on steroids.
If you want to see what an AMP looks like, head over to the Guardian. They were one of the first test partners. Go to any article on their site. At the end of the url, type “/amp” and you will be taken to an accelerated mobile page. You can see what an article looks like below.
Of course, this type of design isn’t new. Some developers, and businesses with deep pockets, would build and design pages that were similar to AMPs. But it would take them hours and a ton of resources to build the page.
As a result, businesses that build AMP pages will likely experience lower bounce rates. This has two major impacts. First, a lower bounce rate is a good signal to Google. It means a visitor clicked on your link, found your page, and found the answer they were looking for. Don’t forget Google’s goal to provide highly relevant content to users.
Second, a low bounce rate means visitors will stay on your site longer, which means your conversion rates will increase and you’re more likely to hit your business objectives.
There is also the added benefit of potentially doubling the number of times your website appears in search engines, since Google will typically list both your normal page(s) and the AMP equivalent.
So how can you get started with AMPs?
It’s a bit of a confusing process. As I mentioned, AMPs have streamlined CSS code, limited HTML, and tags. All of this means AMPs have to be built in a very specific way or else the page will be invalid and it won’t be used. For example, certain tags have to be in a specific order and at a certain place in your code. Unfortunately, there aren’t many tools to help make the process easy — yet.
If you’re looking for more detail on how to get started with accelerated mobile pages, we have an excellent AMP guide for you to check out. [insert link here]
Facebook Instant Articles
Last year, Facebook made their Instant Articles platform available to all publishers and businesses. The Instant Articles platform is an optimized page to display articles that are shared on Facebook.
Basically, it’s similar to an accelerated mobile page, except that the articles are shown on Facebook’s platform rather than your website. Facebook has two goals with Instant Articles:
- Keep users on its site for as long as possible.
- Optimize the platform for mobile users.
Facebook claims that Instant Articles are shared 30% more than regular articles. They are also 70% less likely to be abandoned, and are read 20% more.
If this is true, then Instant Articles is a game changer for any business who shares published content on Facebook. If you’re like most businesses, you’ve watched your organic reach drop from 7% to 2% over the last couple of years.
You might be wondering how this is an advantage for you? Well, setting up Facebook Instant articles is kind of a pain. So, your competition will be lower because very few businesses will be willing to spend the time and money.
Instant Articles will increase your reach. And a higher reach means more likes, more comments, more shares, and ultimately more leads and sales. You can get started by signing up at Facebook Instant Articles.
Note: The process is long. It’s not as simple as creating a business page. It requires editing code, changing tags, and going through multiple review processes. I recommend hiring a web development company.
But, if you feel the need to go it alone, at least read our Facebook Instant Article guide before getting started. [insert link here]
Responsive design, accelerated mobile pages, and Facebook Instant articles are going to become industry best practices in the near future. So it’s important for you to begin building your website around the future.
But taking the time to understand and build these pages isn’t an easy process. They require certain rules to be followed in a certain order. You can spend time, money and loads of aspirin pills trying to learn this all yourself or you can call experts like Code Clinic.
We can take care of all of this for you. This way you get all of the benefits without the headache. Look, most web companies aren’t doing this. In fact, most of them are still stuck in 2012. They are building websites with old practices and old designs.
As long as they do that, your business will never achieve it’s objectives because too many people will bounce off the site and conversion rates will be abysmal.
Give us a call today to start designing a website around the future: +44 (0)161-408-4759