Responsive Website Design for Today’s Market

Responsive web design refers to creating Internet content that is not only accessible but optimal when viewed by many different devices, be they laptops, smartphones, tablets, or the next new gadget (i.e. Google Glass). The proliferation of mobile devices has made this the standard expectation in the industry – customer attention and interaction now depends on it.

Responsive Website design

When a user views your site on their smartphone, will they be confronted with a distorted portion of a huge image? Will they be able to push the little buttons with their fingers, or use menus easily? Did you take into account that one popular device that needed some special optimization attention?

The Problem

In the absence of responsive web design, if an industrial marketing business wants their site to be easily accessible from desktops and mobile devices they need to create a separate version of the site for each platform. This means maintaining two versions of a domain, two versions of the content, two versions of the design, etc. Start adding different devices with different requirements (iPad, Xbox, Samsung) and the process quickly spirals out of control.

Two of the most pressing problems facing the responsive website design community are converting older sites to become responsive, and dealing with the massive amount of new devices constantly flooding the market.

So, how are web developers ensuring that their designs are responsive and always look beautiful, no matter the platform? Pictures and videos need to be sized appropriately; buttons need to be big enough and spaced far enough apart to be pressed accurately with fingers; resolution needs to be adjusted to fit screen size and connection speed; orientation needs to be accounted for, if the user might hold their phone upside-down or sideways.

Three Key Concepts

Experts agree that there are three key concepts involved in a responsive design process – media queries, fluid layouts, and fluid images.

  • Using media queries to detect device specifications – Different devices have screens with different heights, widths, resolutions, and aspect ratios. Media queries can be used within CSS3 to adjust for these factors and display properly sized content. Here is a code example, used to create a stylesheet with a maximum horizontal resolution of 720 pixels.
  • This code will ensure that the stylesheet is only loaded on devices with the maximum horizontal resolution specified.
  • Using a fluid grid to create a responsive layout– Proper use of media queries will give you the information you need to create a responsive design, but you will still need to do something smart with that information. Fluid grids let you specify the maximum size of a grid which will automatically resize to fit into a smaller frame. If we want our 720 pixel-wide grid to dynamically adjust to smaller screens, we will create a relative measurement for our grid that will be appropriate for any screen.

To do so, we can take the default font size for browsers (16 pixels) as one em (a unit of width) and divide our grid width by that amount. So, 720 pixels divided by 16 pixels = 45em. We can then use the following code to create a responsive grid with a maximum width of 45em, ensuring that the layout always looks good up to 720 pixels wide:

#container {
position: relative;
max-width: 45em;
margin: auto;

  • Using fluid images for perfect sizing – This is much like the previous point. Image sizes can be set to percentages of the total grid, meaning that they never grow bigger than their allocated proportion of the grid. If we have an image that is 360 pixels wide, for example, we know that it should never exceed its native resolution and only ever take up 50% of the total layout space. To create responsive images by setting image width as a percentage, we can use the following code:

img {
max-width: 100%;
width: 25%;

Combining these three techniques can provide a wealth of opportunities for creating responsive website designs that are dynamic and prepared for any platform. These clever methods let you write one set of programs to be used in multiple applications, instead of wasting your time writing the same code over and over for different devices.
So, are you doing everything you can to create responsive web content that looks great from every angle?

Posted in: General Marketing, Mobile

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Information Marketing for Profit in Industry

The internet has forced companies to rethink ways in which they deliver their products, services and pricing.  Although many high value service providers do not post their pricing as a matter of strategy; most don’t do so because their services are tailored to the specific needs of a project. But what happens when you introduce information marketing to that service provider who can then begin charging for the exact reason they don’t post pricing; Specialized knowledge.

Businesswoman drawing diagram on a natural background.

However, in most cases due to the vast numbers of service providers available, it is very difficult for a company to differentiate what they can offer.   Competitors that do not have the necessary skills in-house can very easily freelance the expertise in order to provide or match the service offerings of others in their market or industry.  Established companies can experience a ceiling on their pricing as a result.

Put Your Network in Place

However, businesses that have an industrial marketing network in place are at a distinct advantage in managing through pricing challenges.  Marketing for manufacturing, in some cases, works no different than any other business in that there are individuals who cannot afford to work with a particular business although they might want to.  Depending on the nature of the business that a company is in, opportunity routinely exists to take the expertise that companies cannot sell to businesses in project work completion, and instead package it and sell it as education/training. (Dramatic Music) Enter Information Marketing.

The existing industrial marketing network mentioned above that might be interested in training and information will consist of:

  1. An active (SEO) search engine optimized campaign to attract those who are interested in what the company offers,
  2. A following of industry related contacts from conferences, trade publications and educational content delivery
  3. A contact database of prospects, former clients and current clients
  4. A following based on social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn

Companies with this framework in place already have a potential client base for their information products.

Why is this important?

Why is this aspect of business worth pursing? Knowledge and expertise more than service delivery is the chief component of a business that providing a true sustainable competitive advantage.  It is the unique character of the knowledge pool within a company is what sets it apart from others.  While it can be to the company’s advantage to give a fair amount of this knowledge away so that a company and its executives can be positioned as experts in the industry; it can also be lucrative to take some aspect of the knowledge and provide it to companies that need information more than they need service.

Thinking in this vein is very important because it provides access to a competitor’s client base without necessarily having to offer the same bundle of services.  Additionally, while training is easy for others to copy and offer through their own venue, the expertise isn’t easy to duplicate.  There will always be some aspect of information that can be offered that is unique to the talent pool of a company’s staff that cannot be offered elsewhere.  How then can a company cost effectively bundle this information together without taking their focus away from their core product and service offerings?

Companies can offer the following information bundles and packages for sale to interested buyers:

  1. Self Published/Commercially Published Books
  2. Audio/Video Training (Online/Offline)
  3. Conferences (Online and Offline)

In effect, information marketing provides companies with the option of being able to make an offer of some kind to everyone in their marketing funnel.  While offering information products should not preclude a company from providing free training, it can supplement their earning capability by positioning themselves as consultants in addition to service providers.  This will help them to offset some of the lag time between a project’s start and its corresponding compensation.
So then how does a company begin building a structure to package information to market to its network?

  1. Take note of the expertise that the company has
  2. Survey the network to find out what they want to learn and what training they are already paying for
  3. Based on this information determine if the expertise can be offered with existing staff
  4. Add industry expertise from outside of the company, freelancers for pay, industry professionals for exposure
  5. With this information, decide on the most cost effective way to deliver the information
  6. Test the product on a segment of the company’s network and gather feedback
  7. Make suggested changes and offer the product to the entire database
  8. Recreate the information in the two additional forms from Step 3
  9. Offer the other forms to the company’s network
  10. Repeat the process for those problems that industry managers and executives are willing to pay for be trained for.
  11. Develop a referral and affiliate system offering sales commissions to those who bring new clients to this part of the business

The key component in the process is to survey those who are already purchasing information and follow the trend to figure out what can be immediately offered.  This method is advantageous because it can provide visibility in markets that the company was unable to compete in otherwise.  It will also provide new visibility to the business in areas where their pricing was too high for those who may have wanted to work with them.
Most importantly, information products offer an excellent opportunity for companies to showcase their expertise to future clients. Often those who experience a business’ philosophy in training will come to understand that their best course of action is to hire the authors of the information to carry out the process instead of trying to implement it themselves.

Is your business being paid for its expertise or only paying for it?

Posted in: Content Marketing, Industrial Web Marketing

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Improving Website Conversion Rates

Improving website conversion rates is the enhancing the process of converting your visitors from passive readers to action-taking people. Marketing for manufacturing depends on it.

improving website conversion

  1. Having a better website conversion rate does not mean you are definitely above your competition, it only means you are effectively meeting your industrial marketing objectives.
  2. The more successful your web conversion rate, the more popular your industrial marketing site will be to visitors and other sites, increasing your link exchange. The search engines love links and will bring more traffic to your site.

The problem with website conversion rate is the fact not everyone understands how to do it properly. The needed tools are not in place. The objectives are either unclear, or not being implemented properly.

Your website conversion rate may be lower than anticipated due to:

  • Visitors do not trust you or your site. They feel uncomfortable doing business with you.
  • Visitors have concerns about your products, services or other offerings.
  • Your site is not user-friendly. It causes more confusion and frustration than desired.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your website conversion rate. These include:

  1. Utilize a number of trust factors throughout your pages. Visitors must feel comfortable with you and your company.
  2. Develop a variety of useful tools that enhance your industrial marketing merchandising.
  3. Make your website as user-friendly as possible to enhance your visitor’s experience.
  4. Analyze each page and determine which is meeting your objectives and which is not.
  5. Know what your objectives are. What action do you want your visitors to take?  Do you want subscriptions? Product purchases? Appointments? Once you know your industrial marketing objectives, you can implement behavioral targeting.

Implementing a Solution for Higher Website Conversion

  • Industrial marketing means you must focus on your trust factors. Display third-party accreditation on your home page and throughout your site. Clearly list your terms and conditions. Develop a contact us page and reveal your physical address, phone number, fax number, and other pertinent information.
  • Marketing for manufacturing means staying current with your merchandising offers. Use price competitiveness, product relevancy, introduce irresistible product offers, utilize clear product descriptions, consider free delivery to increase conversion rate, maintain proper inventory and use images.
  • Develop a user-friendly site by avoiding mistakes such as poor grammar, spelling and punctuation. Make certain your links operate. Be sure your pages download quickly. Test each sales step in your conversion funnel.
  • Start using a “multivariate testing” tool, such as Google Website Optimizer, to simultaneously test numerous variables. You can determine which images and pages draw attention, which headings work and other relevant information.
  • Use behavioral targeting to improve your website conversion rate. Analyze your page data to determine where to place targeted and relevant ads at optimum times throughout the call-to-action process.

Are you improving your website conversion rate?

Posted in: Industrial Web Marketing, Website

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The Fine Line Between SEO and Spam

What do penguins and pandas have to do with SEO?

spam seo

In 2012, a ton. Google frequently updates its algorithms to ensure that spam websites do not take away from the quality of search results.  Panda and Penguin are the names given to their two algorithm systems to determine spam. So, with all these updates, how do you ensure that your SEO tactics keep up and don’t inadvertently land you among the 3.1% of websites labeled as spam? These insights will get–and keep–you on the right path to successful SEO with Google, no matter what types of changes the make to their methods.

So what are these algorithms looking for?

The Penguin algorithms differ from Panda by doing a more rigorous job at targeting over optimized anchor text, low quality links, and keyword stuffing, while Panda focuses promarily on lack of content. According to Google, regarding Penguin:

“Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.”

The most recent updates to Penguin and Panda are Penguin 3 and Panda 20, which continue to develop new ways of tracking spam via sparse content, content farming, and low-quality links and link-spamming.
How can I avoid being affected negatively by this?

By following the Google webmaster guidelines, you can easily avoid being picked up as spam. Some specific things to avoid include:

  • Keyword stuffing. The more you try to squeeze in those keywords, the more Penguin will be likely to consider your site to be webspam. Instead, focus on high-quality articles that have rich content.
  • Low-quality article marketing. Put your best foot forward. Again, ensure that the quality of the information on your website is good. Sub-par articles that are repetitive and don’t deliver useful information do not reflect favorably.
  • Black-hat webspam. These deceitful tactics never fail to mark webspam. Instead, use white-hat. These are search engine optimizers that improve your website’s usability and help create better quality content.
  • Keyword stuffing in internal and external links. Manipulative linking and “link farming” will not positively affect your optimization. Creating link networks is deceitful and largely frowned upon. Include links where they are useful and make sense, but don’t try to trick search engines with off-color techniques. Be honest.

By putting a strong emphasis on delivering quality information rather than compromising content with an overload of keywords, you are setting your website up for greater success with not just search engines, but with potential clients, as well. As Google’s algorithms get more complex, they are more closely mimicking human responses. This means that if search engines think it’s spammy, so will your visitors.  If your site is suffering from any of the aforementioned tactics, take time to rework your content as soon as possible to ensure your traffic is not sacrificed and that you are getting the greatest success possible on the web.

Posted in: General Marketing, Industrial Web Marketing, SEO

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