Google Fix AMP Reporting in Analytics

Given Google’s intent to make the internet mobile-friendly, the company has been a long time fixing the reporting feature for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Analytics.

However, the search engine giant has now announced an AMP filter has been added to Analytics so marketers can test the performance of all AMP pages on mobile devices.

Google did add an AMP filter to its free Search Console Analytics tool back in May. But strangely, the metric did not include the core results. It only reported on the lead stories that appear in the top carousel section.

Reporting on Top Stories only allows publishers to follow news stories, which made reporting on AMP pages practically useless for most marketers. The feature should yield better results now you can filter AMP article results across the board.

ampWhat is AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an initiative led by Google to speed up load times for mobile phones users. Because many mobile handsets are not typically connected to fast internet connections, wait times increase.

One of the reasons a website loads slowly is because it has too much code. Every action, feature and graphic requires a code. These are programmed using either HTML, CSS or Javascript.

Whenever you visit a website, each code has to communicate with a server. So the more codes, the longer the communication takes. Hence, websites with a lot of codes take longer to load. In essence, codes disrupt to the performance of a website and negatively affect the user-experience.

To help avoid these problems, Google initiated the AMP Project which is an open source platform where developers can access stripped down HTML codes that do not require as much communication with servers. The result is faster loading websites.

Why do you need AMP?

Google ranks websites based on a number of metrics. Some of the most important metrics are user-engagement. Therefore, if visitors to your website are not hanging round and exploring your online store, search engines will determine you are not providing a good user-experience and rank you lower in search results.

Google says that over 50% of searches are performed using mobile handsets. This means there is over a 50 per cent chance your website will be performing slowly on mobile devices. And if it is, you compromise your ability to climb search results.

Furthermore, Google plans to introduce a mobile-first search index in the early part of 2017. The new directory will rank websites based on their performance on mobile phones rather than desktop PC’s.

This news is a forewarning to online businesses to ensure your website performs well on mobile handsets. And that includes using AMP codes to ensure your webpages load promptly on mobile handsets.

The switch to a mobile-first world will be disruptive. However, online businesses have little option other than to take prompt action – otherwise you risk losing the search engine standings you have worked so hard to build.

Google’s Mobile Speed Testing Tool

Google’s obsession with mobile-friendly websites saw yet another tool added to the website testing earlier this month, this time with the launch of a new mobile speed testing tool.

Following hot on the heels of Page Speed, Mobile Friendly Testing Tool and the so-called Mobilegeddon algorithm update, the new tool on thinkwithgoogle.com checks your website for mobile friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed. Scores are marked out of 100 and given merits of good, fair and poor.

The purpose of all these Google-tools is to ensure websites are user-friendly across multiple devices. And given usability issues are used as metrics to rank pages in search engines, the results should not be taken lightly. Google does offer more detailed information if requested.

It is therefore important, that usability is considered your top priority when designing a website; from the user-interface, to navigation and how you lay out content.

As web performance improves, consumers demand websites that are easy to use and feature the information, product or entertainment value they are searching for. So to encourage visitors to explore your online business, engage with your content and become a loyal customer, your website must tick the following boxes:

bsnl-speed-test-meterFast load speeds

It is well documented that web users will only wait up to 10 seconds before they lose patience with a website that is not loading or does not allow them to scroll when the page opens. Slow load times are the quickest way to divert customers to your competitors.

Direction, direction, direction

Let’s be honest. The convenience the web offers is making us lazy. Consumers can’t be bothered to search for what they want on your website. They expect it to be presented to them.

But online businesses that have a purchasing path also need to direct customers where to go, thus your website has to include stepping stones that make it obvious where to go and what to do next.

Ease of use

From a usability point of view, web designers should think mobile first when fashioning a website. The actions users have to take need to be simple to use on a mobile phone.

That means including large buttons that can be tapped, pages that scroll vertically and images that pinch open so it can be viewed in full screen.

Simple purchasing process

Consumers want to complete tasks in the least amount of time and the least amount of clicks. If the purchasing process is too complicated, users will ditch the transaction before confirming payment.

Screen-Shot-2013-01-03-at-10.02.27-AMWherever possible, keep the amount of information you need to a minimum and offer to save bank details so customers don’t have to type them in every time they buy something.

User-experience is clearly taken very seriously by search engines and consumers –and that means web owners and web designers should be making usability the top priority before launching a website.

If your website is not performing on mobile phones, address the issue asap; especially if the majority of your visitors are mobile users.

Template Websites VS Bespoke Websites

If you’re launching a new business or giving your company’s online presence an overhaul, the chances are that you’ll be on the look out for a new, eye-catching website. An essential part of every ambitious business’ online arsenal, a sleek, slick and stylish site will help to boost your company image and tempt more customers through your digital door.

When building or commissioning a website, business owners are faced with two main choices: template websites and bespoke sites. So what exactly are the pros and cons of these two design options and which is right for your growing business?

Aesthetics – Template Websites VS Bespoke Websites

Though there are a huge variety of online templates available, pre-made sites still can’t compete with their custom cousins when it comes to looks.

If you hire an experienced, innovative and capable designer, they’ll be able to mould your site to suit you. Not only will this help your new website to reflect your brand and your corporate message it will also ensure your company aesthetic isn’t diluted by trying to make it fit someone else’s design.

In terms of back room aesthetics, bespoke sites are generally written with much cleaner code. Unlike template sites, which are often heavily edited and modified, bespoke sites are specifically written for their purpose, allowing them to perform more efficiently and reducing the chances of a technical glitch.

Functionality – Template Websites VS Bespoke Websites

There’s no denying that advanced template sites come with a range of impressive plugins and add-ons. Though these can help to make a site more suitable for your needs, they are unlikely to work exactly as you want them to. This can become frustrating, especially if you need your site to perform specific functions or work in a particular way.

Bespoke sites on the other hand can be carefully crafted to suit your needs with special features developed and incorporated to make your site work for you.

Versatility – Template Websites VS Bespoke Websites

Bespoke websites are as versatile and as flexible as the web itself. Limited only by the know-how and imagination of your designer, bespoke sites can be built to do almost anything.

As your business’ needs change, the site can be adapted to fit your requirements, ensuring that your online presence evolves and develops in line with your company.

As templates are more rigid in design, they are by nature less versatile. If your company changes direction, focus or image, adapting your template site to reflect this could be a challenge.

Cost – Template Websites VS Bespoke Websites

As template sites can be built quickly and with minimal technical know-how, they are very affordable. However, if your site doesn’t do what you need it to, is difficult to use or glitchy to navigate, your customers could chose to shop elsewhere, leaving you out of pocket in the long run.

To find out more about bespoke web design or to start a brand new project of your own, take a look around our site or get in touch with a member of the Clockwork Moggy team today.

 

Biggest Web Trends of 2015

Biggest Web Trends of 2015 – Single Screens, Scrolling and Saying Goodbye to Chrome

With everything in the world of the web moving so quickly, keeping up with the latest fashions, trends and innovations isn’t always easy. Things that are new and exciting one day are yesterday’s news the next and sites that haven’t been updated for a year or two can begin to look very dated very quickly.

To make sure that your website, app and other online trappings look as fresh and as vibrant as possible, we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest and best web trends of 2015 for you to feast your eyes on.

No Chrome

When talking about web design, the term ‘chrome’ refers to all of those containers, borders, headers and footers that can be found encasing many a web page. Recently, designers have begun rejecting this standard format, opting instead for cleaner layouts and less visual clutter.

This crisp look is ideal for a number of contemporary sites and helps to focus the user’s eye on the content displayed. Sleek and slick, sites without chrome are perfect for retailers, bars, cafes and any business that wants to get their message across with minimal fuss.

Single screen layouts

isurfnl-2

The majority of the sites that you visit on the web will have at least one column down the side and will often have a vertical or horizontal menu somewhere on the page.

Single screen layouts on the other hand are unadorned, with a single background image or piece of text adding impact to the design. This minimalist looks gives sites a more televisual feel and is perfectly suited to businesses that want to create a strong brand identity and company aesthetic.

Websites built for scrolling

The mobile internet has already had a big impact on the world of the web with more and more sites responsively designed and optimised for users surfing from their phone or tablet computer.

As increasing numbers of people use their thumbs instead of their track pads or mice, websites will begin to be designed with thumb scrolling in mind. This means that targets (the links that you want to click on) will be further apart and often individually positioned on the page, making it easier for mobile users to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Big backgrounds

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 13.09.46

The use of big, bold images and videos on websites has been on the up for several years now. What we’ve seen a lot of in 2015 is the use of photos, illustrations and videos as the sole background of websites.

A fantastic way to give a site a huge amount of visual impact, big backgrounds are sure to have a big impact throughout the coming year.

If you want to make sure that your site is up to date and ready for the now, the nearly now and what’s next , get in touch with the team at Clockwork Moggy today.

2015 – a Gigantic Year for Google

– from Alphabet to Algorithms

With well over a billion unique visitors using Google every month, the search engine is by far the biggest in the world, eclipsing Bing, its closest rival, which sees just 350,000,000, unique monthly visitors – almost a third of that of the front runner.

As a result, the entire online world hangs on Google’s every move and the ripples from even the smallest changes and updates can be felt in every web design office, graphic design studio and marketing agency on earth.

So with its three big changes this year, the internet giant really had the ever changing world of the web talking. Impacting everything from web design and branding to company structure, these changes have made 2015 a gigantic year for Google and an important year for everyone who works online.
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Algorithms

Google started its year as it meant to go on, announcing big changes to the criteria that it used to rank websites.

Nicknamed ‘Mobilegeddon’ the updates, which came into force on April 21st, meant that Google would begin to favour websites that were optimised for the mobile web.

This has lead to the redesign of thousands of sites, with webmasters looking to make pages easier to navigate, faster to load, responsive and generally simpler and more enjoyable to use from a mobile device.

Alphabet

After keeping the digital world on its’ toes with their updated algorithms, Google then proclaimed that it was changing its name – sort of.

August 10th 2015 saw Google announce that it was creating a new public holding company called Alphabet. With the URL abc.xyz, the new company would own many of Google’s subsidiaries including Nest, Calico, Google Ventures and Google X as well as Google itself.

The move is meant to make Google’s operations cleaner and more accountable while allowing its subsidiaries to focus on pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation, all without putting the web giant at any risk.

Logo

Just a few weeks after the advent of Alphabet, Google was at it again and proved their penchant for change, this time by giving its internationally recognised logo a facelift.

In line with modern wed design trends, Google has removed all unnecessary flourishes from its logo, muted its trademark colours and flattened its formerly 3D font.

Though the new logo has provoked Marmite-esque reactions across the world, the design does reflect contemporary web design, with many brands replacing their flowery fonts and intricate etchings with cleaner, simpler and more eye-catching alternatives.

From its algorithms to its image, Google has made a lot of changes in the last twelve months. And with digital design, online trends and technical innovation moving faster than ever. And this pace of change shows no sign of slowing in the immediate future.

To make sure that your website is up to date and ready for the today, tomorrow and beyond, get in touch with the team at Clockwork Moggy and we’ll help you give your brand the contemporary touch.

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