28 10 2010
Do you know how you could make your blog or website more appealing and usable to your visitors today?
It’s quite simple – make it mobile-friendly.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been finding it increasingly irksome to navigate or even just read web pages on my mobile phone. The text is tiny, the buttons and links are too small and the page takes an age to load.
Sure, they weren’t designed to read on the phone, so I should cut them some slack, right?
Well, maybe last year, but frankly it’s about time everyone got on board this train, as it ain’t stopping.
Let’s take a quick look at a couple of numbers. There are now 7.1 million people in the UK accessing the internet via their mobile devices, with 46% of users accessing mobile media daily.
That’s a lot of people. So right now, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing a great opportunity, and hindering your visitor experience. Oh and those numbers are only set to get bigger.
So what’s the problem?
Most of my blog reading is done on my phone. I read posts when I’ve a spare moment – usually via Twitter. There are essentially two problems I frequently face:
1) Slow pages - If a page is slow to load on my phone (quite possible depending on 3G or WiFi) then I might skip it and move on to the next article.
2) Readability – If the normal desktop webpage opens up, it’s going to need some work on my part to read it. I’ll probably give it a chance and zoom in to read, but it’ll need to be a good article to keep me squinting until the end.
The problems aren’t just affecting your existing readers either. You’ve got Twitter and Facebook Like buttons on your blog and web pages, right? Smart move, that’ll help your readers share your content their networks. However, consider this – both Facebook and Twitter users are prolific mobile consumers (Facebook have 150 million active mobile users). So when they share your link and their equally mobile-enthused friends access your site via their mobile Twitter clients or Facebook apps, what kind of mobile experience are they going to get?
Given the meteoric rise of mobile use, it should be a no-brainer to fix this today.
You’re not alone
Its not just small blogs or website that are overlooking this aspect of mobile; some of the big names are too. To illustrate this point, I took a small sample of sites from my Twitter feed. There are some notable names in the No Mobile list, ironically, several of which, frequently dedicate significant screen space enthusing about the fast adoption of mobile.
Interestingly, these brands may have a separate mobile site. However, if they have, it didn’t detect my device, so you have to bear that in mind when you investigate a solution for your site.
|Mobile Friendly? NO||Mobile Friendly? YES|
So how do you make your site mobile friendly?
I’ m no expert on the technical build side of things (check this great post from Inspiration Feed for a list of companies that are), so lets just focus on two simple solutions:
WPtouch for WordPress
If you run a blog on WordPress you’re going to laugh at how simple this fix is going to be. Simply install the WPtouch plugin. It will detect when a visitor accesses from a mobile device and will serve up an iPhone-style interface. Its very quick to load and simple to use. With WPtouch this is no excuse for a WordPress blog not to be mobile friendly in less than 2 minutes.
(I use WPtouch on all my blogs, works a dream)
If you want to build a mobile site you can hand code it all yourself or you can use a product such as MoFuse to do the work for you. A smart suite of tools, MoFuse lets you easily adapt your desktop site for mobile use. It includes a WYSIWYG editor (no need to learn HTML), Google Checkout, Form Builder, Image transcoding (to resize images for mobile), Google Maps, Store Locator and Mobile Analytics. Importantly, it also enables you to sync your content from your desktop site via RSS feeds.
I’d recommend you implement a mobile friendly site as soon as possible, as the number of mobile internet users is only set to rise. Check your analytics before and post-launch to monitor the impact of the change. With a better user experience you should see an increase in visits and / or time on site as visitors read further through your posts.
Happy mobile reading!
02 01 2010
And that was 2009.
Hopefully yours was a good one, it certainly was for me. On reflection, much happened in 2009 – both from a personal and web perspective. So much, in fact, it’s hard to imagine it all happened in just 365 days.
I felt like I learnt a lot this year. Much of which, I can say was due to Twitter. On the 5th of January 2009 I wrote my first blog post, entitled ‘What’s the point of Twitter?‘. I’d heard about it, wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it, but thought it was worth a go for a month. I never looked back and now check it at least a trillion times a day via my laptop or iPhone.
Twitter gave me access to the minds of brilliant people. Particular favourites being Chris Brogan, Brent Payne, Brian Clark, Lisa Barone, Scott Stratten and Steve Rubel. I’ve learnt a tremendous amount from them all (many thanks!), impacting my day job and the handful of personal endeavours that have spawned over the year. It’s been an incredibly enriching experience.
It makes me very excited about the prospect of 2010 – what on earth will we learn and acheive this year?
As we close the book on 2009, I’d like to thank everyone that has read my blog this year (or at the very least, come looking for images to re-use). It’s been a very enjoyable experience – one that I need to dedicate much more time to this year.
For one final look at 2009, I’d like to share with you the Top 10 It’s Digital Marketing posts this year. Enjoy!
1. Twitter Statistics: UK traffic increased 22-fold in a year (24th June)
3. 10 Insider Tips to win a Search Agency pitch (2nd March)
4. Ryanair: Cheap flights and cheap service (24th Feb)
5. Building an App for Twitter (2nd July)
6. 10 Signs you’re addicted to Twitter (25th March)
7. Social Proof: The wisdom of crowds (15th Sept)
8. To find a job think like a SEO (13th Feb)
9. Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll: Google Maps Mashup Style (23rd Nov)
10. Social Media Innovation (9th Oct)
Have a happy and prosperous 2010 everybody!
02 07 2009
On Monday 15th June 2009, Jobsite launched it’s Jobs by Twitter service – a simple but innovative service to help jobseekers find a new job by providing personalised job tweets via Twitter.
The key component of that sentence is the word personalised. The fact that you can specify the jobs you receive makes it different to the majority of the Twitter based job services available today.
Jobs by Twitter has been a bit of a pet project for me over the last couple of months. This is how it came about…
In the beginning
Well, I have to admit I wasn’t much of a fan of Twitter until recently. I couldn’t be bothered to update my Facebook status very often, so didn’t see the point of a service where it appeared you could ONLY update your status and nothing else.
So I certainly wasn’t an early adopter of Twitter but I was definitely Pre-Oprah. Once I started though, it didn’t take me long to get hooked. I wasn’t interested in reading what people had for breakfast, I wanted knowledge and I found that by following the right people I had access to topical and relevant information that would benefit my work.
The massive growth of Twitter attracted would-be entrepreneurs and eager developers to the API like prospectors in a gold rush. The urgency to get the product to market meant that for every good application launched, there seemed to be a handful of half-baked or bad ideas.
The recruitment industry quickly embraced the Twittersphere as a new frontier to mine untapped passive jobseekers. Many new services sprung up, such as JobAngels and Twitjobs, both embraced by the media for their innovation and/or timeliness in this economic downturn.
Since those early days (January 2009!), a flurry of recruitment services have appeared, the vast majority sharing one common approach – the jobs feed. Essentially, these services tweet a volume of vacancies out to their list of Followers with links back to their websites. There is little targeting involved, beyond perhaps a feed defined by a sector or location (or both), i.e. IT jobs in London.
Whilst this may generate some applications, I can’t help feel a little frustrated and disappointed with this lost opportunity. The internet is a fantastic place, home to amazing experiences built on incredible technology – surely we can do something a little more targeted and personalised for the individual than a one-size-fits-all feed of jobs?
Joining the dots
Mahalo Answers describes itself as a ‘knowledge exchange community on the web’. It enables its user base to ask and answer questions. The element of the service that interested me though was its Twitter account @answers. If you’re a Follower of @answers, you can type a question into your tweet box on Twitter and Mahalo will tweet back any answers it receives from its community.
Mr Tweet, meanwhile, cites itself as ‘your personal networking assistant’, enabling you to discover new people of interest by providing recommendations based on the people you currently follow on Twitter.
The two common elements between these services are 1) they are personalised, based on interaction with the individual and 2) they use an off-Twitter website to assist in the personalisation.
Once I connected these two dots together a little light bulb went on above my head and a new product for Jobsite was born.
It’s all about you
Tell us what type of job you want and we’ll send you those that match. You won’t have to waste time sifting through jobs that don’t match your skill set, jobs that aren’t in the location you want to work in or jobs that don’t pay the salary you’re looking for.
That statement was written for the Jobs by Twitter service, but the sentiment can be equally applied to any of the products we build at Jobsite. It’s an approach we try to take with everything – how can we make it super targeted and relevant for the individual so that the process becomes easy and less frustrating?
With that in mind, I couldn’t bring myself to launch a simple jobs feed on Twitter; it had to be a little more special. It had to be based on search criteria relevant to the individual.
Like Mr Tweet I looked to Twitter for information. Each Twitter account has the option to feature a Bio (about the person) and their Location. I thought that this could be a good place to start with personalization. If we could gleam some personal info from this we could make some basic assumptions about the types of job that would interest the user (this logic works perfectly well for someone who states their job title, specialism or interests in their Bio, though we haven’t yet found a solution for the person who described themselves as ‘Eater of Souls’).
The other issue to overcome was that of privacy. You can’t hide the fact that you are following someone on Twitter, but we wanted to at least keep the details of the types of job (and salary) you’re looking for private. We also didn’t want to send out hundreds/thousands of personalised job tweets that would appear in the stream of every user – kind of negates the point of personalised tweets if you have to wade through everyone else’s to find yours.
The answer to both points was Direct Messaging. Communicating directly keeps the content of the message private and stops us spamming our Followers with irrelevant content.
Keeping it brief
One of the benefits of working with talented and creative people is that the ideas come from all directions. Conscious of the need for short URLs I had asked our analysts and developers to integrate with a service such as bit.ly or tinyurl.com. Their response was “why don’t we build our own?” A good question.
Apparently, it’s not that hard, so I took their word for it. I was too busy trying to think of a really cool, relevant – and of course, very short – domain name for it.
It made sense to keep it Jobsite or jobs related. I got hold of a list of all my country level options and began to scour the choices. The problem comes with getting hold of the extension you want. In many cases your business needs to be physically established and registered in the country.
I struck gold with the Bahamas. Their extension is .bs and they allow overseas companies to purchase their domains. So I registered myjo.bs – rather fitting for a personalised job service, I thought.
All systems go
The new service has been live for just over a fortnight and we’ve just broken the 500 mark in Followers. It’s early days yet and we know there is more work to be done to refine the service but we’re optimistic about its future.
Since launch, we have received positive feedback on the service and it is hoped that this, along with increased promotion, will increase our Follower count (and their subsequent job applications) over the coming months.
Aside from its potential for being a good source of new jobseekers, the project was a good opportunity to continue our journey into the world of social media. I anticipate social will play an increasingly important role in recruitment over the next few years, so it’s important to get in there now, to understand the environment and community by listening and participating and to identify our role in this new future.