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  • 12 Popular Types of Websites You Can Create

    Thursday, March 15, 2018 by
    12 Popular Types of Websites You Can Create

    12 Popular Types of Websites You Can Create

    The web is vast. As of now, there are billions of websites online, all competing for some share of the attention people give to their online browsing each day. When you’re starting a new website, it can be overwhelming to think about all the other websites out there. But it’s helpful to remember that within that huge number of websites, you have a lot of different categories of types of websites trying to accomplish different things. As you consider how best to build your own website, carefully consider what type of website you want it to be. When you can narrow down the goals and setup you have in mind, you can more easily identify the other websites in your category to look to for inspiration. Here are twelve of the most popular types of websites you’ll see around the web. While there’s some overlap between the different categories, in general each type of website has certain goals to achieve and its own set of best practices. Which one will your website be?  

    1. E-commerce Website

    An e-commerce website is a website people can directly buy products from. You’ve probably used a number of e-commerce websites before, most big brands and plenty of smaller ones have one. Any website that includes a shopping cart and a way for you to provide credit card information to make a purchase falls into this category. If you’re setting up a website for your business and plan to sell your products through the site, then this is the type of website you need to build. There are some specific steps you have to be sure to include when building an ecommerce website, like investing in ecommerce software and getting your SSL certificate to ensure your customers can pay securely. And you’ll want to make sure your web design and copy are all crafted with the site’s main goal in mind: making sales. secure checkout for ecommerce website Ecommerce websites can be an extension of a business you already have, or become something you build a new business around.  

    2. Business Website

    A business website is any website that’s devoted to representing a specific business. It should be branded like the business (the same logo and positioning) and communicate the types of products and/or services the business offers. By now, every business out there should have a website. It’s a widespread expectation. Every potential customer you encounter will just assume that if they Google your business looking for more information, they’ll find a website. And if they don’t, it makes the business look less professional or legitimate. E-commerce websites are business websites, but it’s also possible to have business websites that don’t sell anything directly, but rather encourage visitors to get in contact for more information (a lead generation website) or come to a storefront if they’re interested in becoming customers. business website for lead generation

    3. Entertainment Website

    If you think about your internet browsing habits, you can probably think of a few websites that you visit purely for entertainment purposes. They could be humor websites like The Onion, webcomics like xkcd, or just websites with fun or interesting content like Buzzfeed. entertainment website Most of these websites do aim to make money like business and e-commerce websites do, but usually through the advertisements that show up on the page rather than through selling specific products or services. If you want to start an entertainment website, you’ve got a lot of options for formats that can take. You could make funny or informative videos, write entertaining blog posts, draw comics, or create fun quizzes. Since there are so many entertainment websites out there, you should anticipate it taking some time and work to find an audience that connects with you (and even more time and work to start making money, if that’s your ultimate goal), but if you’ve got ideas for content to create that you think people will find entertaining, an entertainment website is one of the best ways to get that content out into the world.  

    4. Portfolio Website

    Portfolio websites are sites devoted to showing examples of past work. Service providers who want to show potential clients the quality of the work they provide can use a portfolio website to collect some of the best samples of past work they’ve done. This type of website is simpler to build than a business website and more focused on a particular task: collecting work samples. portfolio website This type of website is most common for creative professionals and freelancers that are hired based on demonstrated skill and can be a more efficient alternative to a business website that serves a similar focus.  

    5. Media Website

    Media websites collect news stories or other reporting. There’s some overlap here with entertainment websites, but media websites are more likely to include reported pieces in addition to or instead of content meant purely for entertainment. This category includes sites like the Washington Post website, Slate, and Inc. news media website Media websites generally make money through either advertisements that show up on the site, subscription models, or some combination of the two. Many media websites are the online branch of media properties that often exist in other forms, like TV channels or print magazines and newspapers, but some are online only.  

    6. Brochure Website

    Brochure websites are a simplified form of business websites. For businesses that know they need an online presence, but don’t want to invest a lot into it (maybe you’re confident you’ll continue to get most of your business from other sources), a simple brochure site that includes just a few pages that lay out the basics of what you do and provide contact information may be enough for you. brochure website Brochure sites were more common in the earlier days of the internet when businesses knew they needed a website, but also expected not to be dependent on it for success. Now that the internet is such a big part of how people research and find just about every product and service they need, most businesses recognize that they need something more competitive. If you have a business and know you don’t need your website to be a marketing tool that brings in new business, you just need something more like an online business card, then a brochure website may do the trick.  

    7. Nonprofit Website

    In the same way that businesses need websites to be their online presence, nonprofits do as well. A nonprofit website is the easiest way for many potential donors to make donations and will be the first place many people look to learn more about a nonprofit and determine if they want to support it. If you have or are considering starting a nonprofit, then building a website for your organization is a crucial step in proving your legitimacy and reaching more people. You can use it to promote the projects your organization tackles, encourage followers to take action, and for accepting donations. nonprofit website Note: To take donations through the website, you’ll have to take some of the same steps that the owners of ecommerce sites do. In particular, make sure you get an SSL certificate to make sure all payments are secure, and set up a merchant account so that you can accept credit card payments.  

    8. Educational Website

    The websites of educational institutions and those offering online courses fall into the category of educational websites. These websites have the primary goal of either providing educational materials to visitors, or providing information on an educational institution to them. Some educational websites will have advertisements like entertainment and media websites do. Some offer subscription models or educational products for purchase. And some serve as the online presence for an existing institution.
    education websitecollege website

    9. Infopreneur Website

    Infopreneur websites overlap a bit with business and ecommerce websites, but they represent a unique type of online business. Infopreneurs create and sell information products. That could be in the form of courses, tutorials, videos or ebooks. Whatever form it takes, infopreneurs need their website to do the hard work of building up a knowledge brand – convincing visitors that they know enough to make their educational products worth buying – and the work of selling those products. To sell information products securely, they’ll need some of the same tools of an ecommerce website, including an SSL certificate and a merchant account. Those with a lot of knowledge products should also invest in ecommerce software to make it easier for visitors to select and purchase the ones they’re interested in. Infopreneurs normally create a mix of valuable free content and premium content they charge for. The infopreneur’s website serves as the central location for both things – the free content which serves as a marketing tool to get people onto the site, and the paid products that account for their profits. Building a good website is therefore crucial for this type of business model.

    infopreneur website10. Personal Website

    Not all websites exist to make money in some way or another. Many people find value in creating personal websites to put their own thoughts out into the world. This category includes personal blogs, vlogs, and photo diaries people share with the world. Sometimes these websites can evolve into something that makes money if they become popular enough and the person who started them wants to make that shift, but they primarily exist as a way to share your feelings, insights, and art with any friends and strangers that might be interested. personal website blog Building a personal website is easier than most of the other websites on the list since the goal has lower stakes. You just want to make it look like you want, rather than worrying about driving sales or making ad money. Some simple templates or an easy-to-use website builder should be all it takes to get something up that satisfies your desire to share.  

    11. Web Portal

    Web portals are often websites designed for internal purposes at a business, organization, or institution. They collect information in different formats from different sources into one place to make all relevant information accessible to the people who need to see it. They often involve a login and personalized views for different users that ensure the information that’s accessible is most useful to their particular needs. web portal Web portals will generally involve more complicated programming and design than most of the other websites described on this list, so make the most sense for skilled and experienced web programmers to consider.  

    12. Wiki or Community Forum Website

    Most people are familiar with wikis through the most famous example of one out there: Wikipedia. But wikis can be created on pretty much any subject you can imagine. A wiki is any website where various users are able to collaborate on content and all make their own tweaks and changes as they see fit. There are wikis for fan communities, for business resources, and for collecting valuable information sources. wiki website Starting a wiki can be fairly simple, especially if you choose to use an existing software or wiki site builder rather than trying to create the website from scratch. This option makes the most sense if you need to organize available information and resources into a central space that you want others to have access to.  

    What Type of Website Will You Create?

    Whatever type of website you choose to create, it’s important to think through what you want from it and make sure you design it based on the particular goals you have in mind. And one of the first things you’ll need to figure out before your website goes live is where to host it. HostGator has a number of affordable web hosting plans that are right for all kinds of types of websites. For more information, review the options on our website or get in touch with any questions you have. Building a website does require some work, but the benefits of having one are usually well worth the effort. HostGator Website Builder
  • How To Design A Website For A Small Business

    Monday, March 12, 2018 by
    How to Design a Website for a Small Business

    How To Design A Website For A Small Business

    As a small business owner, you've probably researched all the reasons you need a website for your business. You may also already know what your site should include: a mobile-friendly design, media elements that load quickly and look good, tools to help you get found in searches, social media tools, and tools to make selling online a snap. But unless you're in the website design business, you may not feel confident pulling these elements together on your own. Today, we'll cover the must-have elements of a good website for a small business and go over your options for creating those elements.  

    1. Overall Design or Template

    The first and most important element for effective small business websites is a design that works well on all types of devices, especially smartphones. That's because most online searches happen on mobile devices now, and Google is in the process of rolling out a new mobile-first index that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in search results that websites that aren't mobile-friendly. For a small business website design that meets mobile-first standards, you can hire a designer, if you have the funds and the time to wait for a custom-built site. You can also shop around online for a mobile-optimized template you can adapt to your needs. Or you can use a website builder that comes with a library of mobile-friendly templates to ensure your site works well, even if you choose another look for it later on. hostgator website builder themes While you're looking at mobile-friendly templates, keep in mind that there are certain pages and sections that customers expect to find on every business site. These include your home page, a contact page (although you should include contact information somewhere on each page of your business site), an about us page, a portfolio if you sell services, and an online shop page if you sell products. To simplify and speed up your site creation, look for a website builder that has pre-built pages and sections you can tailor to your business needs.

    2. Multimedia Elements

    These days, pictures are probably worth more than a thousand words, because smartphone users would rather browse images and watch videos than try to read lots of text on a tiny screen. When they're properly formatted, tagged, and optimized, images and videos can help your site rank higher in search results so more prospects come your way. And a custom favicon (that little image at the top of the browser tab, like the wee Snappy on the tab you're reading right now) not only helps your business with branding but also makes it more useful as a bookmark or toolbar icon for your frequent customers. website favicon You can find downloadable tools and WordPress plugins to help you with tasks like image optimization, schema markup, HD video embedding, favicon design, and more. If you decide to use a website builder, those tools will already be baked in and accessible in one place, ready to use.

    3. Get Found and Track Your Performance

    Images and mobile-friendliness aren't the only elements your site needs to rank well in search results. There are a number of SEO best practices your business website should follow, like using the right keywords and other metadata to help local shoppers or prospective clients around the country find your business easily. How will you know how well your SEO is working? That's where Google Analytics comes in. Tracking the performance of your posts, social media campaigns, keyword search results, and more is critical to getting the most from your business website. Google Analytics Acquisition Overview As with the other elements of your site, you can take on these tasks one by one, using resources like Google Analytics Academy to walk you through the steps you'll need to follow. You can also find WordPress plugins to help you with SEO and analytics, or you can use a website builder to save time by providing all those tools.  

    4. Social Media Tools

    Social media is important for reaching new customers, establishing your professional expertise or product awesomeness, and making sales. Many small business owners start out ambitious and motivated and end up overwhelmed by their social media programs, because it can feel like a full-time job to manage your social media posts, comments, offers, and sales. It doesn't have to be that much work. To get the most from social media without focusing on it constantly, get the right tools. If you have the budget, you can hire a social media manager to handle your posts and responses for you. A less expensive option is to use a third-party tool like HootSuite or Buffer to post your content on your channels at pre-set times, although it will still be up to you to load those links into your schedule. There are also plugins that will optimize your website posts to display well on different social media platforms. Buffer social media automation The simplest solution is to choose a website builder that gives you all the tools you need to handle your social media program. A good site builder will make it easy for site visitors to follow you, share your content, and buy your merchandise while they're on Facebook.

    shopping cart cta

    5. E-commerce Tools

    For online retailers, e-commerce tools are the main reason for having a website. These include your online store, an inventory tracking system, an easy-to-use shopping cart, popular payment tools like PayPal and Square, and a way to run promotions with coupon codes. You can add the elements you'll need one by one and follow the integration tutorials for each one, or you can use the suite of e-commerce tools provided by your website builder to get your shop up and running faster.  

    Design Your Small Business Website

    Designing a website for a small business takes some time, research, and experimentation to get things set up just the way you want them. With an all-in-one service like the HostGator website builder, you can spend less time working on your small business website design and let it work smarter for you. HostGator Website Builder
  • B2B Website Best Practices

    Monday, March 12, 2018 by
    B2B Website Best Practices

    Important B2B Website Best Practices

    Selling B2B presents some unique challenges:
    • You’re often selling products that are less fun or interesting than a lot of B2C products, but that serve a practical purpose.
    • You may have to reach and convince multiple contacts in different positions at the companies you work.
    • And especially for high-priced B2B products, you have to expect the decision-making process to take some real time and work.
    Your website can’t do all those jobs, but it can do some of them and make others easier. It’s one of the best tools you have for connecting with customers and effectively communicating what your business does to them. Chances are, your website has a lot of work to do for you. Make sure you get the most out of it by following these key B2B website best practices.  

    1. Keep Your Design Clean and Focused.

    If you try to stuff too much into one page on the site, it gets confusing. A clean design is both nicer to look at and makes it easier for your visitors to find the information it’s most important for them to see. If you don’t have a good designer on staff and don’t have the budget to hire a professional, that’s actually not a problem these days. You can get really far with a good website builder and by using pre-made templates. These are already designed by skilled professionals who have an idea of what works best in a business website, so it gives you a head start in getting your design right. Website builder templates

    2. Have a Consistent Color Scheme.

    It can be jarring to encounter entirely different colors moving from one page to the next on a website. Your brand may already have a set color scheme you use for things like your logo or promotional materials. If you do, stick to that for your website. If not, take time now to figure out the color scheme you want to use for your brand moving forward and make sure every page on your website makes use of those colors. It will give people a unified experience across pages and provide a visual shorthand for how they think about your brand.  

    3. Emphasize Your USP on the Homepage.

    We’ve already established that you don’t want to try to do too much on the homepage (or any one page), so to use that space wisely, you have to figure out the most important information that you want every person that visits your website to know. This is your unique selling proposition (USP): what’s the primary benefit your product offers? For HostGator, it's powerful web hosting: clear value proposition on website homepage for b2b For B2B brands, your USP probably has something to do with helping businesses make more money, save time, or do their jobs better in some tangible way. Figure out the main reason your customers buy your product and use that to determine the messaging to put front-and-center on your website. All the detailed information you have about the features you offer or the specifics of how your products work can go deeper on the website for people who decide they’re interested in learning more.  

    4. Create an Intuitive Site Structure.

    Everyone who visits your website should have an easy time figuring out what’s on it and how to find the information they’re looking for. The way you accomplish that is by making sure you design it with an intuitive structure. For smaller websites, this is usually simple enough: your menu will include your homepage, about page, and a page for each product or product category. For larger ones it can get more complicated and you’ll want to think through now how best to organize all the pages your website is likely to have over time. Your goal should be for a user to never be more than three clicks away from any other page on the website. That keeps navigating your site manageable for visitors.  

    5. Use the About Page to Humanize Your Brand.

    You know intuitively that you relate better to people than you do brands. Your website visitors do too. No matter how much work you put into building up your brand, at the end of the day, your customers will have an easier time caring about the people behind the logo. So give them a chance to see who you are on your About page. Your other pages should be more focused on your brand and product messaging, but the About page gives you a chance to introduce your team. Share pictures of the people behind the brand and some information about each of them. It doesn’t all have to be business related either – Jan in accounting could share that she’s a dog person and super into Star Wars. That alone probably won’t get someone to choose your product, but knowing they have something in common with the people behind the brand can help make them feel connected to the brand and more likely to want to work with you than a competitor that feels more distant.  

    6. Make It Mobile Friendly.

    Over half of all internet use now happens on mobile devices. People are increasingly using them for business tasks along with games or other fun browsing. That means your website has to be accessible for users that visit it on their smartphones. When working on your design, make sure you test out how it works on mobile as well as desktop. Are the buttons big enough to easily click on with your finger? Is the font easy to read? Is the design responsive (meaning you get the same content and visuals, but they change to look good on each device you use)? responsive web design If you’re using a website builder or template, look for one that’s clear about being mobile friendly. (Note: all of the templates in HostGator’s website builder are!) And if you hire a designer, be clear from day one that the mobile experience of the website is a priority.  

    7. Use Graphics and Video to Bring Your Product to Life.

    This is particularly useful if you sell something like a software product that’s hard to describe fully in words. Screenshots or videos that show how the product works and what it does can be useful for helping visitors visualize what they’d be getting. Many people are visual thinkers who will appreciate your website more if it helps them learn things visually as well as through the wording you choose.  

    8. Minimize Jargon.

    Speaking of wording, avoid going too deep into industry-specific terminology. If someone outside of your industry wouldn’t understand the language you’re using, then it’s probably best to find another way to say it. You want everyone that comes to your website to be able to understand what you’re saying. Jargon can both make you sound out-of-touch (or like you’re trying too hard) and potentially alienate visitors that don’t understand it.  

    9. Make CTAs Clear and Easy.

    Your website will probably have a few main goals – things like:
    •      Get visitors to get in touch for more information
    •      Get visitors to sign up for our email list
    •      Get visitors to start a free trial
    •      Get visitors to purchase our product
    Your website should be designed so that the steps you want your visitors to take should be extremely easy for them to do. If you want them to contact you, don’t hide your contact information on a page that’s difficult to find - put it on every page of your website in a spot that’s easy to see. For each page on the website, figure out which action you most want your visitor to take and design the page in a way that emphasizes that action and makes taking that step especially easy.  

    10. Perform A/B testing.

    It’s always hard to guess at what people will respond to. Once your website has launched, the best way to know what’s working is to test it out. A/B testing lets you see how people respond to design changes or different wording. You can figure out if one style of a CTA button consistently works better than another, or which of two headlines gets the most clicks. Over time, you can make changes to your website that improve the results you get and collect a lot of valuable data on what works to make your future website changes and marketing campaigns stronger.  

    11. Create Original Images.

    Images are an important part of a solid B2B website. They influence how visitors interact with your website and how effective your messaging is. Research shows that people are 80% more likely to read content that shows up alongside an image (or a few) and 64% more likely to remember the content they read. It’s pretty easy to find cheap stock images online, but there’s a real value to taking the time (or hiring someone) to create original images on your website. Original photography performs better on websites than stock photography and original illustrations and animations can be a way to further differentiate your brand.  

    12. Have a Blog.

    The downside of blogging is that it’s something you have to continually do – you can’t do it once and be done. But the upsides of blogging (when done well) make the work well worth it. Having a blog on your B2B website:
    • Improves your SEO
    • Gives you a way to reach and interact with more people in your target audience
    • Gives you a space to answer FAQs (making the jobs of your sales and customer service teams easier)
    • Helps you build an email list
    • Positions your brand as a thought leader in your field
    Adding a blog to the website can do a lot for your marketing and online visibility. Most B2B websites will significantly benefit from adding a blog to the site – just as long as you stay on top of it and make sure your posts are of a high quality.  

    13. Pay Close Attention to Analytics.

    Google Analytics makes it easy for you to track how your website is performing over time. You can see how much traffic you receive, how often the people who come to your site stick around (rather than abruptly leaving), what links they click on, and which pages are the most popular. You can even see data on who your visitors are in terms of demographics and other online interests. All that data is helpful in making sure your website is doing its job and figuring out what to change if it isn’t. Every website owner, and especially every business website owner, should get in the habit of checking web analytics regularly and analyzing what the information is telling you.  

    What's Best for Your B2B Website?

    B2B websites have some particular challenges, but following a few best practices can help you make sure your website reaches the right people with the right message to help you gain new customers. HostGator Website Builder
  • How To Make A Website Mobile Friendly

    Monday, March 12, 2018 by
    How to make a website mobile friendly

    How To Make A Website Mobile Friendly

    In 2016 for the first time, mobile internet usage surpassed computer usage. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone paying attention. Mobile device use has been on the rise ever since Apple released the first smartphone and mobile devices have become such a regular part of everyday life that we all expect to see people looking at their phones every time we leave the house. For website owners, this shift in how people interact with the web isn’t surprising, but it does increase the urgency you need to have in making your website mobile friendly. If your mobile visitors currently don’t have a good experience when they land on your website, you’re driving away a huge portion of your potential traffic (and hurting your search engine rankings in the process). You’ve heard it before by now, but we’re saying it again. You have to make your website mobile friendly. But knowing that’s something you need to do and actually knowing how to do it are two different things.  

    10 Steps to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

    Here are a few steps you can take now to make sure your website works as well for your mobile visitors as it does for your desktop users.  

    1. Make Your Website Responsive.

    A responsive website includes all the same content and information on any device you access it on, but it changes the way it’s displayed and arranged based on the size of the device screen. This is the best option for making your website mobile friendly, because you’re not limiting the information your mobile visitors can access – they still get all the same content the rest of your visitors do. And responsive design is also good for SEO. Google has said it’s their preferred format for mobile websites. Building a responsive website isn’t for beginners though. You’ll either need to hire a professional to help, or look for a website builder that includes mobile friendly templates. If the main thing that’s been keeping you from making your website mobile friendly is not knowing how to do it yourself, squash that excuse and get it done.example of responsive design

    2. Make Information People Look for Easier to Find.

    Some people who browse the web on their mobile devices don’t mind taking some time to browse or read content at the same pace they would on a computer, but others want to find the information they need as fast and as easily as possible. Think about the information that people on mobile devices are most likely to be looking for when they head to your website and put that somewhere obvious and easy to find on the mobile homepage. Also consider the FAQs people most often look for when they visit your website. It might not make sense to put all the answers front and center on your mobile homepage, but you should make them easy to find and navigate to on a mobile device.  

    3. Don’t Use Flash.

    Flash largely fell out of favor years ago because it’s bad for SEO. It can slow down a page’s load time and there are a lot of browsers and devices where it just doesn’t work at all. Neither Android nor iOS devices support flash, so if you build a website that depends in any way on the experience of a Flash animation, your mobile users will be left out. At this point, it’s best to scrap the technology altogether on your website and find a strong web design that works without it.  

    4. Include the Viewport Meta Tag.

    The viewport meta tag is an easy way to control how your website shows up on mobile. If your page opens up as the same width on the small screen of your phone as it does on your desktop, you’re going to have to do some awkward scrolling from side to side to read each line of text and see the different sides of the page. The viewport meta tag tells browsers to fit the width of your page to the screen of the device type the visitor is coming from. Adding this it to your html is pretty simple. Just paste this onto the html for each page: <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">  

    5. Turn Autocorrect for Forms.

    Something it’s easy not to think about is the little ways autocorrect can make a user’s interaction with your website more inconvenient. If you have forms on your website that ask for name or address information, one small way you can make providing that information easier on your mobile visitors is to turn off autocorrect for each form field, otherwise their phone will try changing their name or street name to more common words and slow down the process of filling out your form. In the input field, make sure you include autocorrect=off in the html.  

    6. Make Your Button Sizes Large Enough to Work on Mobile.

    It’s easy enough to click on a button of just about any size with a mouse, but when you’re trying to “click” with your fingers on a small smartphone screen, small buttons are hard to deal with. And that’s especially true if there are multiple small buttons close to each other – pressing one while trying to press another will cause real annoyance for your visitors. The best way to save your visitors from this frustration is to use bigger buttons. Any time you add a button to your site (and for all those already there), take some time to test them out yourself on however many mobile devices you can scrounge up amongst your employees and family. Make sure selecting each button is reasonably easy on all the devices and, if it’s not, update it so that it is. mobile friendly button size

    7. Use Large Font Sizes.

    Reading on a small screen is that much harder if the font is tiny. It’s best to use a font size of at least 14px on your webpages, but go ahead and test out how that looks to see if going bigger could be better here. It’s also best to stick with standard fonts. Any font your visitor’s browser might need to download will slow down how long it takes your website to load, which is bad news on mobile.  

    8. Compress Your Images and CSS.

    Speaking of site loading time, you always want your site speed to be fast. But if anything, that speed is more important on mobile. That means another good step for making your website mobile friendly is to compress anything that takes up a lot of space now and slows loading time. That probably includes your high-resolution images and your CSS. By compressing them, you can ensure they load faster without negatively affecting the quality of what people see on the site.  

    9. Allow an Easy Way to Switch to Desktop View.

    Some of your mobile visitors may actually prefer to see the desktop version of your website instead (especially if you go with a mobile version of your website rather than a responsive site). Make sure you give them a way to do that if it’s their preference. You want your visitors to be able to interact with your website in the way that makes the most sense for them.  

    10. Regularly Perform Mobile Testing.

    The best thing you can do to make sure your website’s mobile experience is a good one is to regularly test it out yourself on your mobile device. Every so often, pull up your website on your phone and tablet and spend some time browsing to see if anything’s hard to see or difficult to do. Ask your employees to do the same, and consider hiring users to do testing as well (since they’ll be seeing it all with fresh eyes).  

    Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

    Even if you get everything right today, the way mobile devices look and work will continually change and today’s mobile friendly website may not still do the job tomorrow. Keep testing, keep tweaking where needed, and continue to think about your mobile users as a priority and you should be fine. HostGator Website Builder
  • What Is A Mobile Friendly Website?

    Monday, March 12, 2018 by
    What Is a Mobile Friendly Website

    What Is A Mobile Friendly Website?

    Spend some time researching how to build a website and you'll see terms like mobile-optimized, mobile-friendly, and “mobile first.” Mobile is a hot topic in website design because we do most of our searching and a lot of our shopping on our phones now, but most websites were built with desktop users in mind. Mobile users need sites that work well on small screens, use touch controls, are easy to navigate, and load fast. What does your site need to be mobile-friendly? Let's go over the basics.  

    What Does a Mobile-Friendly Website Look Like?

    Let's focus first on the way a mobile-friendly site looks, because visitors will decide at a glance whether they want to stay on your site based on its appearance. There are four basic elements a good mobile-friendly template or custom design will include:

    1. Responsive Page Display

    Responsive design is the foundation of a mobile-friendly website. Without it, a smartphone or tablet user who visits your site will see a miniaturized version of your desktop site, which means they'll have to scroll vertically and horizontally to find anything—and that means they'll just leave and go somewhere else. A responsive site design, whether custom-built or based on a template, automatically displays your site properly on whatever type of device a visitor is using, whether they're using it in portrait or landscape orientation.

    2. Readable Fonts

    Mobile friendly templates will include fonts that are easy for mobile users to read, but you may want to play around a bit with the fonts, especially if you have a logo that uses a particular typeface. Sans serif fonts with clean lines are generally the easiest to read on mobile devices, where glare and screen size can make serif fonts and novelty fonts like script hard to see clearly. And go up a size on your fonts—no one wants to try to read tiny text, even if it's sans serif.

    3. Proper Text Formatting.

    Keep your blocks of text short and break them up with headlines and bulleted lists when it makes sense to include them. It's hard for our eyes to track close-together lines of text on small screens, so big paragraphs make it more likely that your visitors will lose their place and get frustrated.

    4. Optimized Media Display.

    Test your images, infographics, and videos to make sure they look right on phones and tablets, without requiring users to scroll or resize their display to see your media.  

    What Does Mobile-Friendly Navigation Mean?

    Once your mobile visitors arrive, how will they find what they need? Mobile friendly navigation factors in the hardware and user-interface differences between desktops and mobile devices.

    Think Touches and Taps Rather Than Mouse Clicks.

    Websites designed for desktop users are easiest to navigate with mouse clicks, not swipes, taps, and touches. There's no mouse on a smartphone, so you'll need to give mobile users a way to navigate using touch controls.

    Reduce the Need for Data Entry.

    Trying to type on a smartphone keyboard is just the worst. Between the tiny keys, random auto-corrects, and auto-fills that may or may not populate fields correctly, it's something most mobile users prefer to avoid. Voice-to-text isn't much better, and it's not always an option (say, on the train during morning rush hour). Organize your mobile site so people can find what they need without having to type in the search field, or contact with you without filling out a contact form.

    Shorten the Distance from Point A to Point B.

    Flat site architecture is your friend, because it helps mobile shoppers find things on your site without having to tap through too many layers along the way. A retailer that does this well is 6pm.com. Their store contains a vast number of items, but the mobile site's menus and filters are easy to access, so it only takes a few taps to go from the home page to sandals in my size. The mobile site also offers visitors the option to download a lightweight (17 MB) app, which offers a modular menu design that's easy to read on a phone.
    example of mobile friendly website with flat site architecture that's easy to navigate  example of mobile friendly website with flat site architecture that's easy to navigate  example of mobile friendly website with flat site architecture that's easy to navigate

    How Fast Does a Mobile-Friendly Website Need to Be?

    Faster is always better. A mobile-optimized template or design that streamlines the number of requests a user's browser makes to load your site, plus a web hosting service that loads your pages fast, will go a long way toward making your site more mobile-friendly. Want to see how your site fares now and track improvements? You can use Google's PageSpeed tools to compare how quickly your site loads on mobile and desktop devices. There's also a Mobile-Friendly testing tool that evaluates speed plus other elements. Both of these tools give you a list of tips to make your site faster and more mobile-friendly, along with links to resources to help you make those changes. Want to really speed things up? An accelerated mobile page (AMP) is a lightweight app-like tool that's easy to build and use. The AMP was created to help solve the problem of laggy load times on mobile devices, and if your current mobile site isn't performing well on Google's page and mobile tests, an AMP may be the answer.  

    How Does a Mobile-Friendly Website Help Your Business?

    All the work you put into making your site mobile-friendly can pay off in the form of more business. Google says that 94% of American smartphone users “search for local information on their phones,” even if they have access to a desktop. And when people are searching for local businesses, they're usually ready to make a purchase. By making your site easy to find and easy to use on mobile devices, you're more likely to earn their business. To rank well in local searches, claim your Google My Business listing and make sure you're following other SEO best practices.  

    Build Your Mobile-Friendly Website

    Get started on your mobile-friendly site today with the HostGator Website Builder. Choose from over 100 mobile-friendly templates! HostGator Website Builder