accelerated-mobile-pages

The Accelerated Mobile Pages project says it has made its stripped-down superfast mobile pages even more versatile with the ability to support forms in AMP HTML.

AMP uses a simplified version of HTML to provide pages faster than usually possible on mobile devices – where speed matters most to users. However, the format offers limited features compared to full-fledged web pages. Until now, one of those limitations was the lack of ability to include forms.

Now, AMP users can include everything from the standard e-mail address capture form to more complex forms or even interactive polls. In addition to making it easier to communicate or gain information from your visitors, the support for forms can help with allowing customers to select colors or other details on e-commerce product pages.

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As the AMP project says in its announcement, support for forms “enables building experiences ranging from a product color picker on an e-commerce detail page to an email field to capture newsletter signups to an interactive poll to engage readers within an article.”

If you want to start running your own AMP pages to deliver content faster to on-the-go users or you want to start adding forms to your already existing accelerated mobile pages, check out the AMP project’s official guides and documentation.

You can also see live examples of what the forms may look like on your site at AMP by Example.

The AMP project says it plans to continue to expand the functionality of AMP pages and AMP forms based on user feedback, but the overall focus is still on providing functional and engaging web pages to users as fast as possible.

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Does it seem like your ‘Contact Us’ page never actually leads to contact with customers or interested consumers? These days, every business with a website has a contact page, but few are putting the time and care into these pages that they invest in other areas of their site.

I couldn’t count the number of stylish and modern websites I’ve found with contact pages that look weeks or even years old. Sometimes the web design looks distinctly dated, like a forgotten room in a house that has since undergone numerous renovations. Even more worrying, some businesses forget to update their contact information after address or phone number changes.

Any of these issues can deter potential customers from contacting you or purchasing your products or services in the blink of an eye. The good news is, they are also easily fixable. Today, I wanted to offer you some quick ways to turn your ‘contact us’ page from one of the least effective pages on your site to a consistent source of leads and customer engagement.

Be Consistent

The most important factor when listing your contact information anywhere online is consistency. Your business name, address, phone number, and all other contact information should be exactly the same whether they are on your contact page, Facebook, or Yelp. Not only does it provide huge SEO benefits, but showing consistency and a clear identity for your business helps build trust with consumers.

Try Some Variety

Just about every ‘contact us’ page lists a local address and phone number, but often there isn’t much else on the page. While these are both important, you are also missing out if these are the only ways you are encouraging consumers to contact you.

Potential customers aren’t always in a place where they can easily make a phone call and they are not always able to make it out to your physical location. Instead, they may want to drop a quick message to you over Facebook or Twitter. Providing many different ways for your customers to contact you will make you seem more available and allow more people to reach out when they need to.

Show Some Personality

The biggest problem with the vast majority of contact pages I see are that they are just plain boring and tell nothing about who you really are. If someone comes to your ‘contact us’ page, they are looking to learn more about you. If your page is just a simple list of email addresses and phone numbers, you are missing a huge chance to build your brand identity and reinforce who you are.

Don’t Ask Too Much Too Quickly

Some contact pages include forms which ask for small amounts of user information. These can be helpful for keeping messages organized, but being overzealous can drive people away. Your contact page isn’t necessarily the best place to build your email list or ask for detailed user information. Test out shorter forms that ask less of customers initially or make signing up for email subscriptions optional. Otherwise you may find your contact page is actually pushing interested people away.

For far too many businesses, a contact page is treated as an afterthought when they should really be a priority. They are one of the most important pages on your site and act as a foundation for you to start building a relationship with consumers. If you want to really start hearing from consumers, invest time in your contact page to turn it into a page that is as welcoming and informative as the rest of your site.

It may seem like everyone is online these days, but somehow some businesses still don’t have websites. Your business might even be one of them.

If your business has gone this long without a website, you probably have your reasons. You may think you don’t have the money or you simply don’t need one. Neither of those is correct.

A website is a fundamental part of running a business in 2016 and many consumers won’t consider purchasing from a business if they can’t find information about them online. That’s true even for brick and mortar stores. In this connected age,people will even Google stores from their parking lot to make sure the trip inside will be worth their time.

Rapid Web Launch put together an infographic breaking down every reason you might have for not having a website and why it is wrong. I know you’ve gone this long without one and your business may be doing fine, but there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting one set up today.

Check out the infographic below or at Rapid Web Launch.

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While loading speed is a crucial issue for most mobile internet users, Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Algorithm” isn’t currently using it as a ranking factor for mobile pages. However, that is likely to change when Google releases their next mobile-friendly update.

According to reports from the recent Search Marketing Summit in Sydney this week, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes confirmed Google would be including page speed as a factor in the next mobile update. But, it may be months until that update arrives.

The inclusion of page speed seems like common sense. The majority of mobile users are likely to leave a page if it doesn’t load within five seconds, and some are even more impatient. From Google’s perspective, including page speed as a factor means they are more likely to help users find a site they will be happy with on the first click as often as possible.

It also makes sense considering Google introduced their version of Accelerated Mobile Pages recently.

Want to know how your site stacks up in terms of page speed or other mobile friendly factors? Google has also released updated versions of their mobile-friendliness and page speed tests for both desktop and mobile in one place.

The new tool, available here, combines all the free site evaluation tools Google offers in one easy-to-read report. You can also get a more extensive report emailed to you for deeper analysis.

Your homepage is the face of your business. It is the first thing most visitors see when they visit your site for the first time and it is where you make your first impressions. If you already have a solid homepage with killer copy, that can be great news. But, there is a good chance your site is missing one of the several things users expect to see when they come to your site.

Having a homepage without critical features and elements is a bit like having a mouth full of broken, chipped, and missing teeth. No matter how hard you try to smile and make a good impression, a lot of people are going to be put off.

While dental work can be costly and painful, fixing up your homepage doesn’t have to be. HubSpot put together an infographic – seen below – detailing 12 features and elements that are absolutely critical to have on your homepage, and the majority are easy to implement without needing to call in the pros.

 HomepageInfographic

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Do you remember the very first time you ever got online? You might remember the lovely screeching tones of dial-up modems or possibly waiting ages for pages to load, but do you actually remember how the internet looked? (f you don’t, the web site for the movie Space Jam is the closest thing to hopping in a time machine you could ask for.

In an age when online style trends come and go with increasing frequency, it can be easy to forget just how far we’ve come. At the outset of the internet there was no “flat design” or “parallax scrolling.” There weren’t even any images!

In the 25 years since the launch of the World Wide Web we’ve come a long way. The way sites are designed and created has been altered completely to grant designers near infinite freedom with their own webpages, but time has also taught designers that less can be more.

In this infographic, AmeriCommerce explores the exciting history from 1990 to today. You’ll see all the old trends you used to love (and loathe), and you might even learn something new about the technological advances that have facilitated the advancement of the internet to where it is today.

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Google has been emphasizing the importance of mobile design and usability over the past year and now the search giant has added mobile usability reports to Webmaster Tools. Many believe this could be a sign that Google may be making mobile usability a ranking factor sooner rather than later.

The tool is intended to show whether your mobile site has any of the common usability issues that degrade a user’s mobile browsing experience.

Currently, the tool included specific errors for showing flash content on mobile (which can also result in a warning on mobile search results for your site), missing viewport meta-tag for mobile pages, improperly small fonts which are hard to read on mobile, fixed-width viewports, content not sized to viewport, and clickable links and buttons spaced too closely together.

John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst team based in Zurich said they “strongly recommend you take a look at these issues in Webmaster Tools.”

Of course, Mueller could simply be encouraging this because it improves user experience, but there is strong evidence to suggest Google will eventually make mobile user experience a ranking signal within search engine algorithms.

You can see an example of the reports below:

Mobile Usability Reports

Adobe Flash and mobile devices go together like oil and water. Since the release of the first iPhone it was clear that Flash, Adobe’s multimedia based web site technology, would not be coming to cell phones any time soon.

Years later, after the release of several generations of smartphones and the release of tablets, and it is even clearer that Flash is all but dead and will never be a part of the modern ‘device agnostic’ approach to web design. Unfortunately many webmasters still use it.

flash-serp-note-border-300x107That may not be the case for long, as Google has stepped up their fight against the technology. Google announced that starting today they will be warning mobile searchers when the search engine’s algorithms detect a web site is not supported on the device they are using due to Flash.

Rather than outright omit sites utilizing Flash from the search engine – which would garner heavy criticism – those using smartphones and tablets to search may see a warning that allows the user to attempt to view websites using Flash or to look for alternate search results.

The warning reads “Uses Flash. May not work on your device. Try anyway | Learn more.”

It seems pretty unlikely that many users will choose to press on knowing that the site likely won’t work for them.

In lieu of using Flash, Google highly recommends updating to HTML5 and upgrading sites to support that technology because it works in mobile devices and desktop browsers alike.

Google’s Keita Oda, Software Engineer, and Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst said, “fortunately, making websites that work on all modern devices is not that hard: websites can use HTML5 since it is universally supported, sometimes exclusively, by all devices.” Google simultaneously launched two new resources to help webmasters make the upgrade:

  • Web Fundamentals: a curated source for modern best practices.
  • Web Starter Kit: a starter framework supporting the Web Fundamentals best practices out of the box.

HTML5 has been called one of the most important web design languages in history, and some go so far as to call it nearly perfect. But, as you’ve probably guessed, a fair amount of that was hyperbole and overstatement. HTML5 has some great benefits, but there is no such thing as an ideal design language. This infographic, designed by Kony, breaks through the gimmicks and PR to examine the real pros and cons of HTML5, as well as the current and projected trends to come.

HTML5 Infographic