Miscellany For November
tl;dr It’s cold, we’re all over Google’s “Mobile Friendly” label, we have a new social sharing tool called Monarch, and updated software is the bomb diggity.
November is a hectic month for business. We all have to deal with early shopping weekends disrupted by ice storms, outright riots at Black Friday sales, and the ever-tricky art of convincing your clients to deliver your word of mouth advertisements during holiday dinner. For PureNyx Design, it’s also the anniversary of our biggest technology rollouts – branded multi-site networks, SSL encryption, and eCommerce support. Our work this November has focused on three areas:
Google Says “Mobile Friendly” Is Now A Thing
The days of arguing about whether your website should cater to mobile users is long over – it’s been about a year since phones and tablets captured more than half of all internet traffic. These mobile visitors search for your site much like desktop users, meaning they use Google and scan through a few search results prior to visiting your homepage. Success in capturing visitors often means having a more appealing result that your competitors – that’s why we spend so much time focusing on things like Rich Excerpts.
It’s also why we’re excited that Google rolled out a new Rich Excerpt – the “Mobile Friendly” tag. This tag is a simple text label which only appears in search results on mobile devices. It tells the user that they can expect a better experience when browsing the site on their phone or tablet, versus sites without the label. Google chooses to apply the label based on the site using mobile friendly content, having readable typography for all users, sizing properly to the device screen, and so forth.
Most of our responsive sites already met the necessary criteria, but there were a few instances where we had to tweak features to hit the mark. We’re aggressively pursuing options for improving Google’s impression of our sites because we expect them to introduce new “Friendliness” criteria and offer better positioning for sites that meet their standards. For our few long term clients that still have nonresponsive sites, we’re even offering discounted options to upgrade.
You can learn more from Google’s original post, located at: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2014/11/helping-users-find-mobile-friendly-pages.html
Say Hello To Social Sharing With Monarch
Nowadays, pretty much every website features tools for delivering social proof and encouraging visitors to share content on social media. There are some valid arguments that these tools aren’t as important for mobile users, where screen real estate is pricey and sharing processes are already baked into the device, but there are still plenty of situations where they come in handy. We almost always use social tools on our sites, and our clients generally ask for them anyway. Unfortunately, for the last few years we’ve been perpetually dissatisfied with the social tools at our disposal. We’ve employed a number of plugins and done a good bit of our own custom code, but nothing seemed quite right.
That’s where Monarch comes in. It’s a new social sharing plugin from our favorite theme library, Elegant Themes. Monarch is an extremely flexible tool for adding social sharing options within page content or as a floating sidebar. With lightweight tools for displaying social share counts and logic for determining when and how to appear on posts, Monarch handles most every need we can throw at it. It also looks great.
If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at Elegant Theme’s most recenty article about Monarch: http://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/theme-releases/monarch
Security Updates And Appalling Statistics
WordPress released a critical security update on November 20th, containing fixes for some newly discovered vulnerabilities and exploits. As is our standard, we applied it shortly after release. That might not seem like a big deal, since these updates are freely available and can sometimes be applied with just a few clicks, but a simple number tells me that what we do is unusual.
In 2014, research from W3tech indicates that 22% of WordPress sites are out of date.
There are a lot of reasons for this, ranging from simple lack of knowledge, to unsupported customizations, to a tendency toward unsustainable support models among developers. Regardless of reason, the fact remains that outdated software is both common and dangerous. Our diligence in keeping up to date is one of PureNyx’ main values.
This was one of 13 interesting WordPress statistics in a recent article at Torque Magazin: http://torquemag.io/13-surprising-wordpress-statistics/