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Insights into the Online World

Thanks to phablets, tablets, phones, computers, dual-screens, game consoles and e-readers we have more than just one way of browsing the internet. Responsive Web Design is about making your site look good and providing the user a great experience on every device and screen size. Here are 8 signs that it’s time you invest in responsive web design.


1.) You Can’t Use Your Site On Your Phone. 

If you can only see a quarter of your website at a time, it’s not mobile friendly. Anyone attempting to use your website most likely won’t be able to find what they’re looking for, and they definitely can’t use the navigation to see your contact information. For those familiar with web design best practices, this seems like an obvious sign to invest in responsive design. Those doubting the need to access a website on a smartphone can look at these statistics compiled by mobiForge


  • 25% of overall search queries are now on mobile devices
  • 58.7% of smartphone users and 73.9% of tablet users access search
  • 42% of calls to businesses are driven by mobile search
  • 80% of local searches on mobile devices turn into purchases



2.) Mobile: Yes. Desktop: Yes. Tablet: Maybe? 

You’re using a phone or your computer and your website looks and works great, but look at it on a tablet and you’ll be constantly zooming in saying to yourself, “What is this, a website for ants?!?” With phone sizes increasing drastically and tablets coming in full and mini versions, the target screen display sizes are always changing. The wonderful part of responsive design is that you’re building one structure and then styling it to make it fit for every screen size. No need to develop and update separate mobile and desktop sites, just one set of content adjusted to work for every tablet, phablet, and phone screen.


3.) Your Site’s Getting Less Traffic Than It Used To. 

Google started considering mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in April of this year. What does this mean for you? If someone uses their phone to search Google for your keywords and your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will lose ranking to other sites that are optimized for viewing on a mobile device. This shouldn’t affect your ranking for someone viewing your site on a desktop computer, but since 25% of search queries are done on mobile devices it’s a huge drop in traffic for your website. If you’re unsure how your website performs, check how Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test


4.) You Lose All Of Your Key Info On Mobile.

While you website may appear on a small device clearly, you might have a lot of unnecessary content to dig through in order to get to the key information the user is looking for. The average person only spends 15 seconds looking for information on your site. That means that if they can’t find your phone number, hours, or whatever they came looking for they may go back to their search and move on to the next result. Having a responsive design enables you to choose which information and what order you want a user to view for each screen size. On a small screen there’s a limited area to display your information to the viewer and you have to be conscious of what brought them to your site in the first place.


5.) Your Site Takes A Long Time To Load. 

In reality we usually only wait 2 seconds, maybe 4 seconds if we know we have a really bad data connection. This can lead to people abandoning your website because they didn’t get the service they wanted. Load time has also been a factor in Google search ranking since 2010. As we covered in #4, a responsive site allows you to trim the amount of content displayed to the viewer. Having the ability to limit the content on a mobile device can help you eliminate the excess items that may increase your site’s load time.


6.) You Liked Your Website, But Now You’re Thinking BIGGER. 

You used to like your website, but now you have a bigger monitor and want to take advantage of that empty space you see on the side. Responsive design isn’t just about mobile. Most websites that were built in the last 5 years have a fixed width and work just fine. Once you see it on a larger screen you may realize how much real estate you could be capitalizing on. One of my constant resources that has taken advantage of this is Smashing Magazine. By adjusting the position of their navigation, they developed an immersive experience for a visitor who is using a larger screen size. Just because your site works on a standard screen, tablets, and mobile, doesn’t mean you’re taking advantage of responsive web design. 


7.) Your Competitors Are Investing. 

When looking for a new business to work with, be it needing a new water heater, insurance, or purchasing a home, a quick Google search is my first stop to get a good overall impression of the company. Even if your company is in the top three search results for your category, a poor online experience can easily translate into a missed or negative experience with your company. It may even cause a client who was recommended to your company to go with your competitor whose website was optimized for a mobile experience.


8.) You Want To Reduce Maintenance Costs. 

If your website is aging, you might be feeling the effects of technology developing at a rapid pace. A Flash banner that you may have been excited about when you first constructed the site won’t work on mobile or tablets, and that’s as much as 60% of all internet access. While your skilled development team can certainly keep your website running, it will likely have the stability of a patched tire - it will hold air for a while, but soon you’ll have to refill it and patch it again. All of those patches add up in cost and you may reach a place where it can’t be mended anymore. The development of a responsive site allows you to build a site better equipped to handle the ever changing world of technology and cuts down the cost of site maintenance.


If you think that you’re ready to invest in responsive design, give us a call. We’re happy to help figure out the best solution for you, whether it’s converting your current design or building a new online experience.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a well known, yet often misunderstood topic.  As someone who works on SEO for multiple clients daily, I have come across various myths and misconceptions of what it is and how it works.  Before you can really understand SEO, you need to understand search engines.  

The goal of a search engine is to provide users with the most relevant and accurate result related to their search.  Good SEO implementation accurately describes the information contained in your website.  Poor SEO misleads search engines, and users, into expecting one “thing” and getting another when they click on your result.

To set the SEO record straight, here are the top 8 most common SEO myths I have encountered in my time in the industry.

  1. “SEO only applies to websites”

    You may not realize that images, products, events, and even locations can be optimized to appear highly in search engine results pages.  Optimizing the different elements of your website makes it easier for search engines to locate and index the information searchers are looking for.  This gives you a two-fold advantage when trying to rank for certain terms: you make it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for which makes them more likely to put you at the top of their list, and it and creates more opportunities for your business to appear as a result because more of your information is easily crawled and indexed.  
  2. “SEO Keywords are all that matter for rankings”

    Google rarely explicitly confirms or denies what factors are taken into account when ranking a website.  The most notable instance where Google has spoken up is the Keywords meta tag.  Early versions of search algorithms used the keywords meta tag as a ranking factor for search results.  Over time this method was phased out because webmasters would take advantage of this knowledge and include terms that did not accurately represent the content of their website.  In a post on the official Google Webmaster Blog from September 21st, 2009, Google stated that their search algorithm “disregards keyword metatags completely”. 
  3. “Search Engine Optimization is a fad”

    Since search engines have been around, SEO has been what some see as a necessary evil.  As long as businesses have websites and want them to be found by potential clients SEO should be a requirement of any successful online marketing plan.  Why design and build a website you love, if no one will find it?  Which leads me to the next myth.
  4. “Web design has no effect on the organic SEO of your website”

    User experience has always been important to the design of a website.  The issue here is often that the website was built for the site/business owner and not their end client.  Designing a website with clear navigation, specific calls to action, and an easy to use interface create an enjoyable user experience, and lowers bounce rate (the percentage of users who view only the landing page of your website and leave almost immediately).  Users who enjoy using your site are likely to spend more time there, and view more pages overall - both factors that we at Modern Earth Web Design have found increase website rankings in search results.  
  5. “Anyone can implement SEO on a website”

    Implementing SEO on a website requires many things.  An understanding of code and how a website works, a strong attention to detail, and patience will benefit the person doing the actual implementation work.  There are so many small elements that make up the larger task that is implementing SEO on a website, an inexperienced person can easily miss several of these key elements.  

    Most importantly an understanding of SEO, and the desire to implement SEO properly will benefit the website owner and end user.  Marketers with an interest in providing a good service to their client know the frustration that comes from a poorly optimized website.  With all the information that is available online about SEO, and both the financial and time investment made in the design and build of a website, the reasons to leave your website un-optimized website are few and far between.
  6. “There’s no wrong way to optimize a website”
    SEO falls under two categories: White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.  The later, as you may have guessed, is the wrong way to optimize a website.  Similar to a crash diet with fast results, the Black Hat method is not sustainable.  It may provide a quick boost in rankings, but after this brief period Search Engines catch on to the sneaky tactics and just as quickly penalize the website - often removing it from search results entirely.  Black Hat optimization methods like hidden text and keyword stuffing also negatively affect the user experience on a site.  Spammy looking content is a big red flag for users and will cause them to quickly bounce from your website. 
  7. “A good SEO provider will guarantee results”

    The exact elements of the Google Search Algorithm and most other search algorithms are unknown.  As such, any reputable SEO provider will never guarantee specific results.  Algorithms constantly change, and search result rankings fluctuate from week to week, day to day, and even user to user.  
  8. “Organic SEO is a “set it and forget it” thing”

    Search Engine Optimization is like a living, breathing thing.  Ranking factors and algorithms can change, as do search trends and user behavior.  Depending on your business, the search terms that are important to you will change from year to year, or season to season.  As a benchmark, we at Modern Earth Web Design recommend reviewing your SEO strategy every 6 to 12 months.   

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding organic SEO and all the moving parts that make it work.  I hope this post has given you some insight into the value that an investment in SEO implementation on your website can bring.  If you’ve already invested in SEO but aren’t seeing the results you would like, contact us today for a free SEO implementation review of your website and to discuss how Modern Earth Web Design can help improve your rankings.


Yesterday, it was once again my privilege to speak to participants of the YMYWCA Self Employment program on how to launch and market their new business ventures online. I visit the YMYWCA offices several times a year to speak to each group of new entrepreneurs who are starting up businesses here in Manitoba.

In addition to the 7 deadly sins of web design, I also talk about how to use social media effectively, as well as the value of search engine optimization. There is the occasional misconception that because Winnipeg is a small market, a website doesn’t have to be optimized – that there are few competitors (especially if we are counting bricks and mortar locations that do something similar). So I spend a bit of time explaining the benefits of optimization, the key things to look for when being quoted for an SEO project, and why being fully SEO’d for Winnipeg as a key term can help bring their business to the top of local search results.

It’s always a pleasure to hear about the great new business ideas that are being prepared for launch. On behalf of all the Earthlings, we wish each participant much success. We understand the challenges of growing a small business – and it’s great to see this new start-ups joining the Manitoba economy.

If you would like to have someone from Modern Earth speak at your conference, workshop, or other event, or arrange a training session for your team on social media, blogging for business or online marketing, we’d be happy to talk to you to see what might be a good fit for your event and your budget.

Call me at 204-885-2469, or email me at susan@modernearth.net.