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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Google’s latest update to its search algorithm has brought attention to the absolute necessity of having a mobile-friendly website for your business.

Yesterday Google rolled out an update that boosted the ranking on mobile-friendly pages, favoring businesses that have already developed their website in a way that helps new customers find them using a mobile device.

Smartphone and a magnifying glassThe update affects only search rankings on mobile devices and applies to individual pages, not the entire website. So websites with high quality content that are not mobile-friendly can still rank high if the content is good and relevant to a search query.

But does that mean you should feel safe ignoring the customers who are looking for your products services with a mobile device? Of course not… your competitors won’t.  With Google’s latest update to its search algorithm, postponing or dropping the ball on addressing your website’s mobile-friendliness is the same as intentionally losing sales leads by hiding your business from many potential customers.

So let’s decide to take action. There are a three mobile configurations that you should be aware of when you approach your web developer to solve this problem for you: 1. Responsive Design, 2. Separate Mobile Website and 3. the Dynamic Content mobile solution. Both responsive design and a separate mobile website setup are fine solutions to handle the mobile user experience. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Responsive design lets you have one URL for a given page and it is simple to administer, but it wastes bandwidth and makes it harder to present a differentiated experience based on context. Separate mobile websites reduce bandwidth, make it simple to create a differentiated experience, and can give you more search query data, but require more administrative time and multiple URLs for a given page.

Dynamic Content Mobile-Friendly Solution

Google supports a third method to handle mobile sites — dynamically serving different HTML on the same URL. We are calling this Dynamic Content for short. This is essentially the same concept behind a separate mobile website, except it uses the same URL for the desktop and eliminates the need for bidirectional tags between desktop and mobile pages.

With dynamic content websites you have one URL for a given page, save on bandwidth, and can create a differentiated experience based on context. For these benefits you lose the extra search query data from the mobile websites, and your administration is simpler than a mobile site, but not as simple as a responsive site.

We achieve this mobile solution through a modification of our self-managed software solution. These modifications include:

  • Same number of pages with the same page names on both the desktop and mobile websites.
  • Renaming a page on the desktop renames it on mobile and creates a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one on both.
  • A single file gallery that is shared between both sites.
  • Title tags, meta tags, Twitter Cards, Open Graph cards, and Scheme tags are pulled from the desktop page if they are not set on mobile.
  • Pulls the content from the desktop version of a page if no content was set specifically for the mobile page, allowing you to differentiate content for the mobile experience.
  • Automatically pulls the desktops robots.txt and XML Sitemap. Home screen bookmark icons are pulled from desktop if they are not set for mobile.
  • Does not include the (unnecessary) bidirectional tags linking the desktop and mobile pages.

Despite them being the same URL, mobile users can still click a link at the bottom of the page to switch back and forth to the desktop and mobile versions of a site. This preference is remembered by the user for future visits.

Our dynamic content solution includes the Vary HTTP header as instructed by Google to instruct their crawler there is a different version of the site based on the device type.

We feel that the Dynamic Content solution is ideal for sites that are primarily interested in marketing their site through social media, email marketing, and search engine marketing, but do not need the extra search engine data.

Whichever mobile solution you prefer, anyone without a mobile-friendly website ought not delay in addressing this problem. The cost of doing nothing is too high.

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Apple Watch Arrives In April

We knew today’s live Apple event would focus on the long-awaited watch device, but Apple CEO Tim Cook also dedicated time to iPhone health apps, Apple TV and a new MacBook.  We last wrote about the watch in September 2014, and while we did get more details today, none of it was surprising.

Apple watch isn't just with you... it's on you.

Apple watch isn’t just with you… it’s on you.

As we already knew, Apple Watch can be customized so that users can read and respond to messages, view notifications and use Apple Pay, plus many other things. There are now a wide growing range of third-party apps for the watch, and battery charge will last about 18 hours with normal use.

The Apple Watch is not a standalone device. You must have an iPhone with you for features to work.

Watch prices range from $349 for the Sport model to up to $10,000 for the high-end Edition model. The watch will be available starting April 24 and pre-order begins April 10.

The Mac update focused on “reinventing the notebook” introducing a new 12-inch Retina display MacBook that is thinner and weighs just 2 pounds. With a newly designed full-size keyboard and a new pressure sensitive Force Touch trackpad, the now fanless MacBook is more power efficient and promises an all-day charge. A new single all-in-one port, called USB-C, will support USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA and power capabilities.

Apple’s new MacBook will be available in silver, space gray, and gold. The starting price is $1,299 and shipping begins on April 10th.

UofR picThe update on iPhone included news about the software system called ResearchKit, which will be released next month as open source, allowing users with non-Apple devices to contribute to medical research using different apps. Apple has been working with many medical institutions, including The University of Rochester, to develop apps that can allow mobile device users to participate in Parkinson’s disease research. Other research areas include, diabetes, asthma and breast cancer.

We heard an update on Apple TV with a price drop from $99 to $69, and HBO announced a standalone streaming service called HBO NOW that is available on Apple devices for $14.00 per month without a cable or satellite subscription.

If you’re in the market for a new Apple product, which one of these would you buy first?


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8 Workplace IT Issues Hurting Small Business

Small to medium size businesses deal with a variety of IT issues that can often drain internal resources. These Information Technology trouble spots, if left unaddressed, can cause inefficiency in the workplace and possibly contribute to losing existing customers and prevent you from gaining new ones.

iStock_000014644962XSmallIn other words, ignoring the problem is costing you money. Let’s take a look at 8 areas of IT where your business may be struggling:

1. EMAIL:  Is your email tied to a specific computer that could be lost?  Are you using a gmail, yahoo or a roadrunner email address? (Some think that may be a little unprofessional.) Can you share calendars and have your email and calendar pushed directly to your phone?  Modern email systems should make your communications and scheduling tasks easier.

SOLUTION: Email is our thing.  Let us migrate you to powerful, web-based email systems from Google.  Google Apps for Work can unchain you from old fashioned email system and allow you to enjoy communicating on any device.

2. BACKUP:  Are your files being backed up and verified?  Can you recover a lost file and can you recover from losing your office in a catastrophe?  Having a comprehensive backup plan is significantly less expensive than losing data or paying to re-enter years of records.

SOLUTION: We now have the expertise to design and implement a backup strategy to keep your data safe and available.  Call us now, before you need us later.

3. WINDOWS XP:  Support for Windows XP ended last April, and the further we get from April, the more vulnerable these aging system are to hackers.

SOLUTION: We can help with new computer installations, data transfers, email transfers and getting you up and running on supported operating systems.  We can also train you to use Windows 8

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Gruttadauria’s New Online Bakery

For the past 100 years this local bakery has been creating and serving up the world’s finest Italian confections. With a wide variety of tasty cookies, cakes and pastries, Gruttadauria Bakery has dominated the Rochester NY market for decades.

We are extremely honored to play a part in the storied history of this fourth generation family bakery by designing a new online web presence that highlights its popular Facebook page and features dynamic content capability for easy viewing on mobile devices.

Gruttadauria Bakery Website

New Website Redesign and Custom Web Development by Brand Builder Websites

We also developed an online bakery page that makes it possible to order their popular cookies anytime and have them shipped anywhere throughout the continental US. In fact, orders started coming through the very same day the website launched, and one buyer expressed their excitement saying…

“Tonight I placed an order on your website for a box of cookies to be sent to my aunt and uncle in South Carolina. When they lived in Rochester they had your cookie trays at their wedding over 50 years ago and they still fondly remember and talk about them all the time! They are true fans of Gruttadauria Bakery and I can’t wait until they get this Christmas present… they will be thrilled!”

Check out the new Gruttadauria Bakery website or stop by the store located at 1600 Ridge Road West in Greece NY. We know you’ll be thrilled too.

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