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The link between Google, local customers and responsive web design
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The link between Google, local customers and responsive web design

The link between Google, local customers and responsive web design

Independent businesses are thriving in Chichester!

Chichester now has over 150 independent shops and cafes as of 2019. According to a survey by Trip Advisor, 52% of UK diners were influenced by website photos and would take into consideration online presence and ability to accept reservations from their mobile phones. Presuming that this ratio of visitors to Chichester will search local restaurants and check out their reviews and website when considering where to eat, we can see how important it is to have a fully optimised responsive website which people can access on-the-go from their smart phones! It is giving your customers the flexibility to do the hard work for you, to make decisions about your business without you having to invest heavily in advertising and marketing. This basic principle extends beyond catering and retail businesses as a fully optimised responsive website with pleasing imagery will attract Google's attention, and therefore your potential customers.

An example as a customer

A recent example of when I have made a decision to use a local service based off a Google search is when I wanted to find a local business that buys and recycles old household cables. As a former composer of TV and film I had a plethora of various cables I did not know what to do with! A quick Google search from my mobile later and I found a local recycling business in Portsmouth that did just that. I was able to make my decision quickly based upon a few key points:

  • Google ranking - this business was on page 1 of my search which saved me a lot of time trawling through websites which, as a small business owner, my time can often be restricted!
  • Responsive website design - I was able to easily access and view the information I wanted from my mobile device including their services and contact information which was easily accessible on their website.
  • Local business - the business was local to me which helped make my decision in using their services. Although I did not specify my location in my search, Google does this automatically based on your device's location which is why it is important in your website copy to let people know the area(s) where your business operates.

Using Google as an agent for your business

You can view Google as a talent agent for your business online, what Google prefers will benefit you with the most traffic to your website and therefore your business. Nearly all smart phones now come with an in-built Google app. This means that now more so than ever, it's vital to make websites that Google likes, to grow your online presence and attract more customers to your website. The latest figures in for 2019 are that 55 million people out of the UK's populace of 65 million now own a smart phone. (Yes, you read that correctly!) indeed Statista estimates 94% of adults here own a mobile (an increase from 82% in 2005). So considering Google as part of building your website is now essential business strategy as the reality is, these numbers are increasing as more and more people are connected via their mobile phones online. This has been made easier with the increasing availability of 4G data service providers.

Mobile sites versus responsive websites

Before 2011, the only way you could view a website on your mobile phone was to have a 'mobile version' of the website and a desktop site which relied on a piece of coding to switch between the two. This essentially meant you had two websites to maintain, which meant twice the amount of work! Thanks to responsive website design, just the one website that will automatically redesign itself to fit whatever the screen space the user is viewing the website on. This nifty technology is something we have had a passion for at Access by Design since its release nearly a decade ago as it saves our clients a lot of hassle, as well as benefiting their customers who view their website on tablets or mobiles.

Something that we have noticed recently is that sometimes people will use “off the shelf” templates, that claim to be responsively designed but have not unfortunately been coded correctly. Google can tell almost instantly whether your website is truly mobile / tablet friendly or not and rank you accordingly. A truly responsive site will have mobile, tablet and desktop versions at the very least!

If you aren't sure whether your website is responsive or a mobile site, if your website is 'Google friendly' or if you just want to learn more, we offer a free website review service. Please get in touch if you would like to know more by following this link.

Clive Loseby

Access by Design. Award winning web design, Chichester.