With unsurpassed market share, a dominant global online advertising network, and the ability to single handedly impact a website’s PageRank, it is no wonder companies and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals are ever vigilant when it comes to any potential Google algorithm change. In fact, one of those Google algorithm changes is in the works right now and will be released this April. When it is released, it will forever impact how mobile-friendly websites are measured in online searches.
So, why is it so important for companies to pay attention to how mobile-friendly their websites are? Well, simply put, today’s customer is using mobile devices like never before. In fact, we are all constantly connected, constantly accessible and constantly searching for relevant information via our mobile devices, handheld computers and or tablets. It’s our favorite way of staying in touch with those issues, events and news items we see as most important to us.
Whether it’s staying in touch with friends and family, or simply sharing something of relevance with likeminded individuals, we are all mobile and all connected. Here are just some of the reasons why your company’s website must be responsive to today’s mobile user.
• Keeping Users Engaged: Providing engaging content is critical to keeping users engaged online. However, if you’ve ignored the mobile version of your website, then it’s more than likely that mobile users will quickly leave your website and go to a competitor’s. Time waits for no one, and in today’s online world, either your company’s website loads quickly or your visitors will abandon pursuit.
• Ignoring Your Call to Action: As a company, you must come to see your website as an extension of your sales team. In fact, an argument can easily be made that your website is your online sales funnel and one you have to optimize. However, if you haven’t optimized your website for mobile devices, then it’s all for naught. Your call to action and sales pitch won’t resonate if your customers won’t stay on the mobile version of your website.
• Accessing a Mobile Customer Base: It’s wrong to assume that mobile users are a different segment of your customer base. In fact, they are the same customers who visit your website via their desktop. The only difference is that more and more customers are now relying upon their mobile device to access the internet. You aren’t pursuing new customers. You are simply trying to keep the same ones engaged and on your website.
Google is often tight-lipped when it comes to potential changes. Instead of clearly defining criteria as to how a change might impact a website, they tend to offer small tidbits of information. Yet, in other cases, it’s all based on conjecture and rumors from multiple online sources. However, this time Google has done much more than just provide hints. In fact, they’ve been proactive by asking for input and suggestions from their own webmaster community via Twitter. Here are some of the issues you should address.
1. Decrease Mobile Page Load Times: Slow loading mobile pages do nothing more than frustrate users. Start by making sure your pages load quickly on mobile devices. If you are unsure, Google can help with its “Mobile PageSpeed Insights” section of its analytics site.
2. Videos: The videos and music on your site must be mobile-device compatible. Take the time to test all your online videos via different mobile devices.
3. Avoiding 404 Errors: Your website may not have any 404 errors, but that doesn’t mean it won’t show up as an error for your mobile users. Make sure all your redirects are working properly on mobile devices.
4. Fonts and Images: Fonts and images must be optimized for mobile devices. Your website’s font may be fine for desktops and laptops, but it’s something else entirely when you see that page on a cell phone. Having small, illegible font means your mobile users will quickly bounce off your page. That will result in a high bounce rate, which will invariably impact your website’s relevancy.
5. Improved Mobile Navigation: Your website’s navigation has to be optimized for mobile devices. It’s common to have a well-defined and easily navigable website that doesn’t transfer well on mobile devices. Take the time to review how well a potential customer can move from one portion of your website to the next.
Again, this isn’t about pursuing new potential customers. It’s about servicing a market where more and more of your customers will access your website through a mobile device. It requires a whole new approach and one that is predicated on making sure your website is as easy-to-use on a cell phone as it is on desktop or laptop.
Maybe you got into business because you were good at something you wanted to get paid for your skills and knowledge. Maybe you are out to change the world, or maybe you just want enough cash in your account for a beach house or a jet ski. Whatever your motivation, there is likely some part of you that wants – no, needs – to make that work matter. To impact your market and influence your industry.
Here are two pieces of bad news: that applies to everybody, and true success is a marathon, not a sprint. But that doesn’t mean you have to run slow. The best marathon runners can easily outpace an average sprinter. It’s all about perspective, market reality and your choices in the face of those challenges. And it’s also about finding a way to make your work matter. Here are a few ideas to hang your hat on:
Solve a problem. There are issues and problems and difficulties everywhere. Can you find a way to solve that problem in a marketable and profitable way? If so, your business plan is halfway to success. Get the right money and the right people and your odds of success skyrocket.
Focus on what you are doing. One of the biggest temptations all young entrepreneurs face is the sheer expanse of potential and possibility we see when we are young. There’s so much possible out there to attack. So … much … distraction. But if you can focus on an issue you can solve and SOLVE THAT ISSUE you can move on to something else. Just ask Elon Musk and Richard Branson.
Turn personal challenges into marketable options. Chances are,if you’re facing a legitimate problem, so are other people. If there are enough people who have a problem and you can create a solution that has value to them and offers a profit to you – whatever it is – you can be successful. Remember when maps were good enough? Well, did that stop Garmin from succeeding? Not at all … and, guess what, AAA is still out there making maps too.
While no single method can guarantee you will make an indelible mark, these triggers will get you much farther and much closer to the mark than by trying to shift the world on its axis without a lever.
Press Releases Then and Now
Here’s a headline from October 1929 from a Brooklyn Daily Eagle NY newspaper: “Wall Street In Panic As Stocks Crash.” In the 1940s, headlines reflected current events and political figures.
Press releases after the 1960s tended to rely on catch phrases and acronyms. The content of press releases changed from a regimented style utilizing the typical, “Who, What, When, Where and Why” to today’s freer style of press releases focused mainly on the subject followed by added information.
This example of press releases at present is from the New York Post’s February 2015 Business section report on the Doral Bank in Puerto Rico: The first sentence contains information about the FDIC shut down of the bank before it goes into details about the location or the amount of deposits and assets.
Public relations changed to adapt to the public’s desire to get to the heart of a news or press release quickly. Public interest in press releases demands a format that meets with the public’s scanning style of reading and selecting keywords quickly.
Social Media Changes Press Releases
Depending on the venue used to announce press releases, there’s a need to format public relations and press releases to conform to demands of search engines and social media like Twitter. A press release in 2015 is formatted to include keywords users access via search engines quickly. Keyword use in press releases is the mechanism that creates faster online visibility. Use of unique keywords in headlines and content increases traffic to a website. Press release content needs to contain sufficient quantities of keywords without appearing “stuffed” and/or difficult to read. For Twitter, for example, the amount of content is limited by the number of words allowed in a “tweet.” In this example, hash tags often are an identifying link to the content of the press release. The hash tag becomes a preview of the content.
Capturing Public Attention
The other part of a case study of the state of the press release in 2015 is that the ability to capture public attention. It’s more difficult than in the past due to greater competition for media visibility. With an increased number of media outlets, online and social media venues, press releases must offer instant news with lightening speed.
One of the primary dictums of any profession that deals with large numbers of people is to know your audience. It is common for groups in charge of essential social structures to change suddenly and drastically. Although there are important surface differences that may occur in any “changing of the guard,” the structural similarities often overwhelm the disparities. By careful attention to what changes and the nature of what stays the same, it is possible to direct a message to an important audience with great specificity.
The recent turnover in the United States Congress is a wonderful example. There is no need to dissect the specific ideological differences between this Congress and the last one, although they are very significant. It is more important, from a public relations perspective, to note that this has occurred before and will again. For reasons that are poorly understood, the party of practically every two-term President has lost control of the Congress in the second midterms. The only exception known occurred in 1946, under Harry Truman. This fact is so well known in American and other two-party political systems that it is almost axiomatic.
This demonstrates that in the case of Congress, change is the only constant. Therefore, one of the first tasks for any public relations strategist is to eschew excessive identification with any one faction. Although they may sometimes ascend, it is virtually certain that they will fall out of favor. As pilots say, “Takeoff is optional, landing is mandatory.” Therefore, any excessive allegiance to one temporal faction has the possibility to severely damage all efforts in the future. This is as equally true in politics as it is in the business world.
It is also wise to address public relations attempts to the structure of the job, instead of the particular inhabitants of a particular position. Democrats, Republicans and Independent politicians all have very different worldviews and ways of processing information. However, it is almost universally true that they are ambitious, organized people with an interest in understanding the world around them and a job that puts them in contact with the public on a regular basis. This means that, no matter what the political persuasion of the specific person in question, they will want practical information, hard facts and polls that show what percentages of people hold a particular opinion. They will want to hear about things that have direct application to the problems before them. Within that framework it is possible to convey a great deal of public relations information.
Interest groups may benefit from studying the language of the incoming group. It is often helpful to note key terms and phrases and try to work them into presentations. There are always ongoing dialogues within any given social group, and people who speak to the specific concerns of that group in language they find comfortable and familiar will almost always find a more receptive audience. However, people find it easy to detect when someone tries to use unfamiliar jargon in order to fit in. It behooves anyone with interest in lobbying or delivering public relations information to discuss the concerns of their audience, but in their own terms and with their own authentic voice.
The most important principle that can be conveyed is the importance of research. Knowledge and familiarity will unfailingly open communications between disparate sets of people. The better that a lobbyist knows the people that they need to talk to, the better they will be able to talk to them. Knowledge will allow them to prepare information more fully, to anticipate specific concerns and to have intelligent answers ready for pertinent questions. Their message will be amplified by their ability to speak more clearly.
Everyone wants to know the “secret” of business success. Guess what, no matter how many self-help books you see and how many “how to” articles you read, there really is no “secret.” However, there are some behaviors that can help you become more productive, more respected and more successful. Yes, “behaviors.” These are things YOU must do. Frequently and with excellence. Your results will depend almost entirely on how well and how consistently you perform these behaviors. So, if you aren’t willing to “do” in order to “become” just stop reading now. Go do what you always do and wake up exactly the same tomorrow. Or not…it’s entirely up to you.
First, no matter what the issue is, before coming to anyone with the problem, consider it yourself and develop a working solution. If you are working with a team, don’t fall into the role of “support” staff, unless that’s where you want to stay. You need to be seen and understood to be a problem solver if you ever want to be given more responsibility than what you are currently entrusted. And, if you are already a leader, it can pay to listen to your subordinates, but never depend on them entirely to turn problems into successes. They are looking to you for leadership, and that includes having a direction in mind before you start moving.
Next, own it. Whatever “it” is at the time. A problem that needs to be solved, a success that needs to be shared or a process that needs some guidance. If you are involved, you need to BE INVOLVED. Be obvious, be present and be impactful. If you are not contributing you are either part of the problem or, at best, getting in the way of a solution. Stop simply recycling oxygen and get in the game!
Finally, be time conscious. People have things to do, so if you are interacting in a business scenario, you need to be brief and be impactful. Then get on out of there. Say or do what you need to say or do, and be sure to do so in a way that makes a definitive positive impact on whoever. Then leave them be. You should have stuff to do too, right? And even if you do not value your own time, make sure “they” realize you value theirs.
Again, this is an incremental process that should be accompanied by specific, short and long term goals. This is not some random or ephemeral “idea” of success. This is a plan, and one that will require both commitment and follow through.
Who is Ronn Torossian:Ronn Torossian 5WPR CEO, Founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, Author of best selling PR book 'For Immediate Release' and a frequent contribituor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything PR and more!
Ronn Torossian at the NY Observer
Ronn Torossian at Everything PR
Ronn Torossian at Wired Innovation Insights