Tag Archives: websites

3rd Party Plug-ins Need Responsive Design

If you haven’t seen and learned about the power of Responsive Web Design, you’re missing a great new piece of digital marketing technology.  Responsive Design throws out the idea of mobile websites, and instead builds a multi-device-capable platform around a single website.

My company offers Responsive Websites, and I’m learning that others providers are also entering this exciting space.  For our automotive dealer customers, the benefits are enormous with sites that offer better consumer experiences, improved SEO and Social capabilities, and also also easier to maintain.

The next challenge for Responsive Website Design in the automotive space is convincing our 3rd Party Plug-in Providers that they also need to embrace this technology.  I am referring to the many plug-ins for pricing, chat, online negotiation and financing that currently are built around desktop and mobile websites.  When a Responsive Website attempts to plug-in some of these 3rd party modules, the consumer experience is not always consistent, with chat or pricing windows appearing in varied styles on smart phones and tablets.

Clearly some standardization around Responsive techology is needed for 3rd parties creating website modules, and Dominion is willing to help lead this charge.

What do you think?  Any 3rd Party Plug-in providers ready to dive in?

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SEO + Mobile Websites = #Fail

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” 

― Albert Einstein

With this famous quote, Einstein got it right.  If we continue doing the same things we’ve done in the past, we are likely to fail.  Several years ago, thanks to Steve Jobs, Smart Phones burst onto the tech scene and forever changed the way we surfed the web.  Retailers responded with mobile websites, and for a short time we felt we addressed this significant change.  Only a few years ago, again thanks to Steve Jobs, Tablets appeared, and again our mobile website strategy cheese got moved and retailers scrambled.  An estimated 122 million Tablets were sold in 2012, in all shapes and sizes.  Today there are an incredible number of Smart Phones, Tablets, and now Phablets (combination phone/tablets), and they all come in different shapes and sizes.  That old strategy of building mobile websites is completely broken.  It is a 2008 solution to a 2013 problem.

I’ve written about this subject, and most who understand these changes would agree, the intelligent retailers are looking for a change.  Lo and behold, the technology gods delivered to us Adaptive/Responsive Web Technology, and we are thankful for it.  What is Adaptive Web Technology (AWT)?  AWT means that you can forget about having a mobile site, a tablet site, and your desktop site.  Instead, you have one single site that simply “adapts” to whatever device is browsing.  This adaptation includes changing the layout, navigation, reprioritizes content and changes calls to action.  Google the subject, you’ll be amazed when you see an example.

When I say “adapt”, I don’t mean redirect.  Redirects are also a 2008 solution to a 2013 problem.  Since most mobile websites are scaled-down versions of the main website, not every page on the main website exists on the mobile site.  That means if I’m surfing a dealer’s website on my desktop, find a cool Specials page and “share” it on Facebook, people on a mobile device may get a redirect that points them to the homepage instead (since that Specials page may not exist on the mobile website).  It is also very common to accidentally create “redirect loops” where users are bounced back and forth between mobile and desktop sites since the redirect code may not be updated.  Finally, you must keep in mind that having redirects on all of your pages will increase page-loading time, which hurts the user experience and leads to high abandonment rates.  Stop doing redirects…time to change to AWT.

If you’re not convinced yet that AWT is the technology of the future, would it help to know that both Google and Bing have embraced and recommended this technology?  This past summer they both said they preferred a single responsive website, vs. having both desktop and mobile sites.  Why did they make this recommendation.  A single website simply makes search indexing much more effective.  Google stated they prefer single URLs because ‘it makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content’ and that is helps ‘Google’s algorithms assign indexing properties for the content.’  Bing also agreed that there are SEO benefits for single URL: ‘You have more ranking signals coming to this URL… the vast majority of mobile URLs do not have inbound links from other websites as people do not link to mobile URLs like they link to regular web-situated URLs.’  I don’t know about you, but if it’s important to Google and Bing, then it is important to me!

The Search Engines also have a vested interest.  When you have both mobile and non-mobile sites, the SE crawlers are actually crawling your site multiple times, using a lot of your bandwidth, and slowing performance for your users.  Very bad.  The indexing process is also completely duplicated, since Search Engines sees an entirely new site, potentially causing duplicate content issues.  Remember, around 30% of searches today are via a mobile device, and that number is rapidly growing.  Dealers need a 2013 mobile strategy.

From the dealer’s perspective, multiple websites means multiplying the work involved to achieve great SEO.  Third party linking must be duplicated from scratch for your mobile site, and that is not likely to happen effectively since people don’t tend to link or share mobile URLs.  Whether you do your SEO internally or use a third-party, all SEO optimization effort is duplicated, increasing costs and decreasing performance of your campaigns.  Some will deal with these problems by altering the ROBOTS.TXT file to block the Search Engines from crawling the mobile site, putting priority on the non-mobile site.  They will then use redirects to send mobile traffic to non-indexed mobile site, however redirects often fail (see previous).

From the consumer’s standpoint, we would all prefer a single website that automatically adjusted to any screen size, from the smallest Smart Phone, to the largest LED television.  Consumers don’t want a scaled-down mobile site that is lacking key content, or has out of date information.  Most consumers will form their first impression of retailers based on how well the website performs on various devices.  I know if I go to a website that doesn’t adapt well on my phone or iPad Mini, I abandon and go somewhere else.

You get the picture; you need a 2013 strategy to deal with the device explosion that is going on today.  You need a strategy that makes it so that your website is immediately compatible with the new iPad Mini the day it arrives in stores.  It’s all about conversions and sales in the end, and Adaptive websites help the Search Engines find your website, improve the experience, and help get them converted.  Adaptive and Responsive website technology is that 2013 solution, and Mr. Einstein would be proud of those ready to adapt to this change!

Some Battles Ahead for Automotive Domain Names

Didn’t you think the dust had really settled on domain names (website addresses)?  Sure, there were tons of land-grabs from the mid 1990’s to the mid 2000’s, but much of that seems to be over.  Every once in a while we hear of a new dot-something extension being added, but nothing earth shattering.  Well, that is all set to change based on the new rules of the game.

Whether you have one or multiple websites for your store(s), you currently have one of twenty-two (22) Top-Level Domains (TLDs).  I’m referring to the .com, .net, .cc, and so on.  This past June, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began allowing a large number of new Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), and offered the ability to apply for them.  If a company was awarded one or more of these TLDs, they could begin to sell website URLs with the related extensions.  For instance, General Motors could secure .chevy and create websites with this extension.

However, applying for these new gTLDs was very expensive, with an upfront application fee of $185,000, and if you were lucky enough to be chosen, you would pay $25,000 each year (only one company could be awarded each unique gTLD).

On June 13, 2012 ICANN made the list of gTLDs public on newgtlds.icann.org   I downloaded this list and began to analyze it.  It was extremely interesting to review, some bids were made for some potentially great, and sometimes crazy domains.  I thought that: .APP  .INC  .LAW  and .WEB were all possible winners.  Walmart went for .George and I’ve already sent them a note asking for early registration of Nenni.George, very cool.

As expected, some of the heavy hitters in digital marketing applied for quite a few.  Among the leading applicants of course were Google and Amazon (9% of applications), but another new startup called Donuts Inc. also emerged.  Donuts seemed to come from nowhere to bid for some potentially lucrative gTLDs.  They are well funded by $100 million in venture capital and submitted a staggering 16% of all 1,931 applications.

During my analysis, I pulled out all of the automotive-related gTLDs (listed below), they accounted for 3.5% of the overall list. In the automotive world, we also had plenty of activity, but companies seldom went for large purchases.  The OEMs naturally bought their brands, likely to begin having their dealers move to OEM-approved websites with their own custom extension.  I think OEMs will look back on this and see that it was a very smart strategic move, especially brands like Audi, Ford, and BMW since it creates a 3-4 character extension and still secures the brand well.  I personally think that George.BMW has a very cool ring to it.  As I reviewed the list, perhaps the most shocking news was the few automotive OEMs that did NOT secure their top-level domain.  Acura, Mazda, Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, Scion, Smart, and Subaru all failed to be a part of this potentially lucrative domain grab.

Time will tell how important this becomes, but as I looked at the number of major global players that took part in this, I would say this will become very big business in the future.

String

Applicant

Website

AAA

American Automobile Association, Inc.

http://www.aaa.com

AUDI

AUDI Aktiengesellschaft

http://www.audi.de

AUTO

Big Maple, LLC

 

AUTO

Dot Auto LLC

 

AUTO

Fegistry, LLC

 

AUTO

Uniregistry, Corp.

http://www.uniregistry.com

AUTOINSURANCE

Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company

 

AUTOS

DERAutos, LLC

 

BENTLEY

Bentley Motors Limited

http://www.bentleymotors.com

BMW

Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft

http://www.bmwgroup.com

BOSCH

Robert Bosch GMBH

http://www.bosch.com

BRIDGESTONE

Bridgestone Corporation

http://www.bridgestone.co.jp

BUGATTI

Bugatti International SA

http://www.bugatti.com

BUICK

General Motors LLC

http://www.gm.com

CADILLAC

General Motors LLC

http://www.gm.com

CAR

Charleston Road Registry Inc.

 

CARS

DERCars, LLC

 

CARS

Koko Castle, LLC

 

CARS

Uniregistry, Corp.

http://www.uniregistry.com

CHEVROLET

General Motors LLC

http://www.gm.com

CHEVY

General Motors LLC

http://www.gm.com

CHRYSLER

Chrysler Group LLC.

http://www.chryslergroupllc.com

DATSUN

NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.

http://www.nissan-global.com/

DEAL

Amazon EU S.à r.l.

http://www.amazon.com/

DEAL

Uniregistry, Corp.

http://www.uniregistry.com

DEALER

Dealer Dot Com, Inc.

Home

DEALS

DotDeals Inc.

http://www.radixregistry.com

DEALS

Sand Sunset, LLC

 

DEALS

Top Level Domain Holdings Limited

http://www.tldh.org

DODGE

Chrysler Group LLC.

http://www.chryslergroupllc.com

DUNLOP

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

http://www.goodyear.com

FERRARI

Fiat S.p.A. (“società per azioni”)

http://www.fiatspa.com

FIAT

Fiat S.p.A. (“società per azioni”)

http://www.fiatspa.com

FIRESTONE

Bridgestone Corporation

http://www.bridgestone.co.jp

FORD

Ford Motor Company

http://www.ford.com

GMC

General Motors LLC

http://www.gm.com/

GOODYEAR

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

http://www.goodyear.com

HONDA

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

http://www.honda.co.jp/

HYUNDAI

Hyundai Motor Company

http://www.hyundai.com

INFINITI

NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.

http://www.nissan-global.com/

JAGUAR

Jaguar Cars Limited

http://www.jaguar.com

JEEP

Chrysler Group LLC.

http://www.chryslergroupllc.com

KIA

KIA MOTORS CORPORATION

http://www.kia.co.kr/

LAMBORGHINI

Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

http://www.lamborghini.com

LANDROVER

Land Rover

http://www.landrover.com

LEXUS

TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

http://www.toyota.co.jp

LINCOLN

Ford Motor Company

http://www.ford.com

MASERATI

Fiat S.p.A. (“società per azioni”)

http://www.fiatspa.com

MINI

Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft

http://www.bmwgroup.com

MITSUBISHI

Mitsubishi Corporation

http://www.mitsubishicorp.com

MOPAR

Chrysler Group LLC.

http://www.chryslergroupllc.com

NISSAN

NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.

http://www.nissan-global.com/

RACING

Black Orchard, LLC

 

RACING

Premier Registry Limited

 

RACING

Uniregistry, Corp.

http://www.uniregistry.com

RAM

Chrysler Group LLC.

http://www.chryslergroupllc.com

SMART

Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART)

http://www.smart.com.ph

SUZUKI

SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION

http://www.globalsuzuki.com

TATA

TATA SONS LIMITED

http://www.tata.com

TATAMOTORS

Tata Motors Ltd

http://www.tatamotors.com

TIRES

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC

http://BridgestoneTire.com

TIRES

Dog Edge, LLC

 

TIRES

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

http://www.goodyear.com

TOYOTA

TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

http://www.toyota.co.jp

VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen Group of America Inc.

http://www.volkswagengroupamerica.com

VOLVO

Volvo Holding Sverige Aktiebolag

http://www.volvogroup.com

YOKOHAMA

GMO Registry, Inc.

http://gmoregistry.com/

     

Missing:

   

Acura

   

Mazda

   

Mercedes

   

Rolls-Royce

   

Scion

   

Smart

   

Subaru

   

Mobile Websites are Dead

Wow, now that is a shocking headline to read, eh?  What kind of idiot would say that mobile websites are dead?  We all know that mobile Internet use across the U.S. (and the world) is growing extremely rapidly.  In fact, many studies agree that Internet use on mobile devices will exceed desktop use within a few years (already happened in India in Spring 2012).  Global mobile web traffic now stands at 10%, and is quickly increasing.  And don’t only think about Smartphone usage, since 29% of U.S. adults now own a tablet or eReader.

So with all of this growth, why would I be telling you that mobile websites are dead?  Because I actually mean, separate mobile sites are dead.  Technology now exists that allows you to have a single website that “adapts” to whatever device the user is browsing on.  The technology is appropriately named, Adaptive Web Design, or Responsive Web Design.  The good news is, well there is quite a bit of good news that I will outline in this article.  I’ll summarize by saying, your website strategy just got a lot more simple.

First I would like to briefly explain the two terms mentioned above, because they are slightly different.  Responsive web design is sites that can stretch and rearrange themselves based on the width of the browser rendering the site.  Adaptive web design first starts with Responsive design and then adds the ability to selectively add, change, or delete functionality based on a user’s capabilities.  So the Adaptive design starts with the ability to shrink the design of the website to match the smartphone or tablet that is being used, and then also tweaks the menus and content to match the user’s behavior.  For instance, tablet users may want shorter menu choices, and the ability to finger-swipe pages.  Smartphone users might want even shorter menus, and the ability to click-to-call, get driving directions, etc.

When I first learned of this technology, and that it was now being offered in the automotive industry, it blew me away.  How simple!  One single website to manage, drive traffic to, maintain consistent content, and strategize around.  It confirmed my enthusiasm this summer when both Google and Bing began officially recommending Responsive Web Design for SEO in their Webmaster Guidelines.  Specifically, Google said they prefer a single URL since it “…makes it easier for users to interact with, share, and link to your content…”  Bing also agrees and adds, “You have more ranking signals coming to this URL…” since “…people do not link to mobile URLs like they link to regular web-situated URLs.”  Clearly the two Search giants are telling you that for optimal SEO, Mobile Websites are dead.

How about the challenges we all are familiar with, maintain multiple websites?  If you have twice as many websites, you now have twice the work involved in maintaining and promoting these multiple sites.  In their guidelines, Bing adds that it is less work (for you the dealer), “…updating and maintain a stand-alone mobile-focused website.”

A single Adaptive website keeps your Internet Manager focused on a single site, removing the distraction of spending time with a separate mobile site.

As we all know, there is a tremendous amount of change occurring in the technology arena.  This is one change that we all should embrace, as it actually makes our lives easier!  Keep your eyes and ears open for more on Adaptive and Responsive web design, please let me know if I can help you with any questions on this new technology.