We all know the marketing powerhouse that is Search Engine Optimization. Within that sphere, there’s no bigger juggernaut than Google, owning over two-thirds of all web searches in the United States. But how far does Google’s influence reach?
Quite a bit it seems.
We’re very proud to announce the launch of Dr. Chang’s redesigned and rebranded website for Advanced Bariatric & Surgical Specialists. The new website combines Dr. Chang’s bariatric surgery experience with his general surgery services and the latest surgical treatments for GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. You can visit the new site here: Advanced Bariatric & Surgical Specialists
Hackers struck again – this time targeting the cheating website Ashley Madison. The personal, and very damaging, information of over 35 million people was exposed on the dark web (and now universally searchable). And while this revelation may feel more like karmic justice than a scary breach, it does show how our information is vulnerable to attack, even with all the assurances of secure websites. Web developers have a choice when approaching the security of their websites.
We are very excited to announce the launch of Dr. Peter Mofrad’s Washington Heart Rhythm Associates website. Dr. Mofrad has put together a heart rhythm resource with excellent written and visual content. Our goal was to present this resource in the most user-friendly chassis with responsive functionality for ideal user experience on mobile devices. Please visit the Washington Heart Rhythm website
We’re very proud to launch the redesigned Academy for Addiction Professionals website with responsive/mobile capabilities. Having workied with the Academy for over 6 years, the website has gone through several iterations, each time increasing in size and scope. The latest redesign coincides with the Academy’s launch of their Professional Development programs for addiction counselors. Please visit the Academy’s website here.
Content Management Systems (CMS) have revolutionized the DIY web presence. With a robust CMS, making updates in-house is a breeze, saving money and allowing for a more nimble interface with customers. Global updates can be performed far more easily versus changes to individual pages throughout the site. Further, content management systems offer a plethora of interactive features such as blogs, calendars of events, e-commerce platforms and much more. Most of these “plug-ins” are thoroughly tested and updated regularly.
However, with their rise in popularity, there has been a commensurate increase in the number of CMS providers. Costs range from free to jaw-dropping, each with its own set of features and solutions.
With advances in technology and simplified platforms, the template website has not only become more attractive but also more cost-effective. This is especially true for small businesses that do not have the budget to spend on major projects involving their web presence. Let’s explore the pros and cons of template design versus a custom-made, unique website built from scratch.
While a template website does offer significant cost savings, customers must remember that their website is much like a storefront. Getting people to the store and converting them into customers is the purpose of any successful commercial site. Template websites often do not allow for the creativity necessary to attract and convert new customers. They may end up being online brochures, which while effective, may not be ideal. Further, because many template services are do-it-yourself, you may spend a great deal of time and effort to develop a website that may not adhere to best practices. Custom websites, on the other hand, when created by legitimate and knowledgeable design firms, have experienced designers that know current trends and create a relevant conversion tool.
Mark April 21 On Your Calendars
In a move that is highly out of character, at least when it comes to their search algorithm changes, Google recently announced that the landscape of mobile search will be changing – quite dramatically it seems. To this point, desktop search was largely correlated to mobile search results, even if the websites being shown were not necessarily mobile friendly. In their quest to constantly improve user experience, it seems that Google will now promote mobile friendliness as a mobile search ranking factor.
It makes a lot of sense.
April 21 marks the changeover. What the ultimate consequences will be, we don’t yet know. It will be big, though. It stands to reason that a usable website would be a major criterion for good search rank.
Do You Need A Responsive Website?
The short answer is probably not. Google has advocated for responsive websites because ultimately, they do offer the best user experience across multiple mobile platforms. However, responsive websites are not the only way to present content on a mobile platform. Traditional mobile websites should perform just fine as long as they stay within the guidelines outlined by Google. Plus, there is no evidence that mobile search results will be device-specific.
So What To Do Next?
Google has already started notifying website owners that their websites are not mobile friendly through Webmaster Tools. Site owners can also use Google’s own scan to ascertain what, if any, issues their website may have. This tool can be found here https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Make a point of checking the mobile friendliness of your website. If it does have a mobile website, but does not conform to Google’s new criteria, it should be fixed fast. Should the website have no mobile features at all, now is the time to retrofit. For surgeons and hospital programs, even if the statistics are not readily available, one could safely assume that at least 30% of site traffic is coming from a mobile platform. That makes it all the more important to get started on these critical upgrades to your website sooner rather than later.
Choosing a hosting company may seem easy enough – after all there are hundreds if not thousands of hosting companies out there. For less than $5 a month you can usually find unlimited disk space and bandwidth with 99.9% uptime – what more do you need? It turns out, quite a bit more, actually. It is, in reality, very difficult to find a reliable, fast host at reasonable costs. As a company that considers hosting a key part of our offerings, we encounter similar challenges and it’s become harder to make a recommendation when customers want to sign up for hosting themselves.
The effect of poor hosting is significant. Not only does a slow website cause degradation in the user experience, but it may, now or in the future, affect search engine ranking. After all, search engines are all about providing the best user experience and convenience.
All of us here at Fortris take the relationships we build with our customers very seriously. We don’t measure them in months, but rather years. As such when we hit a milestone such as this – five years of continuously serving one of our customers – it’s a big deal!
In October of 2009, we were introduced to Advanced Surgical Associates and Dr. Muhammad Feteiha. Since then, we have worked on their weight loss surgery and general surgery websites, their Search Engine Optimization and Social Media efforts. Our goal has always been to offer ASA and all of our customers exceptional value and design. 2014 marks a particularly productive year as we have launched new designs for both surgical programs as well as responsive design for the weight loss surgery division.
Having relationships like the one we do with ASA is what keeps us excited about our work each and every day. We look forward to many more years of working with Dr. Feteiha and his colleagues.