In the spirit of collaboration and taking a break this summer… Rachel Durkan, the owner of Paradigm Marketing and Design, is the Summer Thought Leader and guest blogger for this week! Read on to get some great insight from Rachel into what really matters if we want our websites to thrive.

What Matters Most When You’re Building Your Website?

By: Rachel Durkan

Owner of Paradigm Marketing and Design


We work in an environment where people get their news from Twitter, Facebook, and other snippets of reality in the form of social media. There are apps that make our personal and professional lives more convenient from shopping to research to accessing information, to playing games, and more.

In other words, we are constantly browsing something new every few minutes. It is safe to say that our attention spans have shortened over time. Today, the average internet user has an attention span of only 7 seconds – shorter than a goldfish.

What Does This Mean for My Website?

The importance of having a website for your business is a well-known fact. In addition to this, the speed and “design experience” are equally important due to society’s attention span, or lack thereof.   Visitors are expecting a quick, easy to read, easy to engage with and easy to understand website. So it is not enough that you have a website, you need to have a website that is quick to load, and communicates your value propositions, service offerings, and a call to action immediately.

In addition, users are now turning to their mobile devices and tablets at an alarmingly high rate.   It turns out that 80% of users browse the Internet on their mobile devices. That’s a 600% increase from 2008 to 2015, making a responsive design critical to a site’s success.

Why Build a Mobile-Friendly Website?

A website is viewed one way on a desktop or laptop, a different way on your mobile device, and yet a different way on a tablet such as an iPad. Due to the overwhelming majority of users who browse the Internet from their mobile device, it is important that your business’s website is mobile-friendly for viewing.

What does this mean? A conventional website is built between 800 to 1200 pixels wide. This is just the design and the size of your website. But, that is too many pixels to fit on a small mobile screen.  Smartphones have a screen size that can fit around 300-400 pixels, while a tablet can fit 600-800 pixels.

If you’re viewing a website that hasn’t been optimized for the mobile device, then everything is going to look small on the screen. In order to zoom in, a user has to “pinch in” in order to zoom in and out to view the part of the webpage that they need to see. Unfortunately, if a user must pinch to view a website at a size they can read and view, then they won’t be able to view the entire webpage on one screen.

With new technology, we can now create mobile-friendly websites that don’t require this “pinching in.” In other words, websites have the ability to “respond” to the fact that someone is using a mobile or tablet browser by presenting a design that conforms to the device it is being viewed on. These new sites are referred to as “responsive”.

Because Google Says So

Another important reason to have a mobile-friendly website is the fact that Google requires all websites to be mobile-friendly.  In an effort to boost mobile-friendly sites on mobile searches, Google released a significant mobile-friendly algorithm, commonly referred to in the industry as “Mobilegeddon,” on April 21, 2015. But they didn’t stop there. If a mobile website is not easy to use and navigate and does not load quickly, Google will penalize it by ranking it lower on mobile searches.  If your business counts on Google searches to gain new leads, then you must ensure your website is responsive.

How to Ensure You Have a Responsive Website

We encourage you to test your website on all devices (phone, tablet, desktop, etc) and browsers to ensure it is appearing optimally across all platforms.  However, if looking at the same site on multiple screens seems daunting to you, we recommend using the “Responsinator“.  This tool allows you to view your site rendering across multiple devices at once.

Remember, your website is often your business’ first impression to customers and prospects and the most critical component of any marketing plan. In today’s digital world, you can’t execute a successful marketing strategy without it, and it should be a company’s first primary marketing investment.


Rachel Durkan is the founder and owner of Paradigm Marketing and Design which provides full service marketing and branding support including strategy development and execution, and creative services.

Rachel launched Paradigm initially as a website design/development agency but quickly identified a need in the mid-sized market place for comprehensive marketing support services. Paradigm is unique in that it integrates a client’s entire marketing strategy to be cohesive and ensure that each marketing initiative (brand development, website design, communication initiatives, etc.) supports the strategic plan to produce a long term return on investment.

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