First let’s examine what’s happening.

Did you know that 68% of people check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up?

They’re either catching up with friends, on social media, searching for a product/service, reading an article or watching youtube – mobile devices are at the centre of our lives. I have to admit, that the first thing I reach for in the morning is my iPhone!

Smart marketers know that this trend will continue and that in order for them to keep their brand top-of-mind, they need be aware of the do’s and don’ts of web design.

If a website is older than 3 years, it’s probably time for a new one. If you’re using large popups moments after someone lands on your page, you’ll need to change that strategy. If you’re website is not mobile friendly (aka responsive), you definitely need an upgrade. If you happen to have banner ads on your website, it’s time to step out of yesterday and into today.

Some folks get a little frustrated with Google, their rules and how they rule the internet overall. It’s important to understand that Google’s goal is to try to create the best possible user experience. This means they’ve had to come up with ways to weed out websites that are misleading, phishing or spammy in nature, and render honest, hard working websites that follow best practices. In order to do this, Google has a series of ‘ranking signals’. Ranking Signals, also called ranking factors are the characteristics of a website that determine the position in the search engines.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘algorithm’; signals form the algorithm of a search engine. No one knows the exact algorithm Google follows to decide how to rank a website but we do know a few things for sure.

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Five things that will definitely sink your website:

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1. If your website isn’t mobile (aka responsive), you’re missing out BIG TIME. People are spending great amounts of time on their mobile – According to emarketer.com, US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 35 minutes per day on mobile devices in 2018 and by 2019, mobile will surpass TV. Websites must render properly and google is monitoring this. If you’re website doesn’t pass their Mobile-Friendly Test  your website will not rank as high as your competitors

2. Placing large pop ups on your website is an absolute no-no!  95% of people really hate pop ups and Google Cracked Down on Pop Ups in 2016.  Google will penalize sites with intrusive interstitials (aka pop-ups), which they have described as anything that obscures the main content during the user accessing a page. We do use a small pop-up (as you likely noticed), and as long as they don’t cover a major part of a page, they’re safe.

3. Messy Design. There’s nothing that will repel a visitor quicker than a messy design. We did a search online and found the website you see next to this paragraph … would you take it seriously? Now, clearly, that’s a pretty extreme case of messy but it makes the point that a website that isn’t well thought out and designed, is not going to get you anywhere… no matter where Google ranks it.

4. Not having an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) installed will not help your website’s performance and this will only get more and more relevant. Security is a priority for online business and even though installing an SSL is currently a “lightweight signal”, it will become more important as browsers tag sites that are ‘Not Secure’. Google says that they would “like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web“.

5. Content is king. Even if you have a great design, no pop ups and an SSL installed, if you’re content isn’t well written, you’re sunk! This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a professional writer (although that can be incredibly helpful), but it does mean that you need a fair amount of good content that is relevant to your business/industry throughout your site. It also means that a website with FRESH content (blogging) will do better than a website that stays stagnant. Do not underestimate the power of your content… for your website, social media, blog and newsletters… it all matters!

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