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JIM JACOBS :: BLOG

When Is A Website Not A Website?

Feb 3, 2017 | email, mobile web, responsive design, website design |

When it’s old and no one wants to read it.

Think I’m joking? I’m totally serious. It’s 2017, after all. Practically every organization, business, consultant, personality, you name it, has a website. And because it’s 2017, not 2007, it’s critical to understand today’s definition of a website. Certainly, you must have a URL (www.amazingthing.com/org/net/…), an HTML page with text and images, and a purpose and subject to express, as always. Most of us believe that having some kind of presence is better than none, in order to compel people to care about what you have to say and take an action. However, in so many cases that I see, users will flee from your email and you might as well not have a website at all.

The digital world is drastically different today than it was only a few years ago. Major changes have occurred in digital devices, software capabilities, integration between technologies, sources of information and services, what people can do online, and how people use, interact with and consume digital information. The game has changed so significantly that people can tell immediately if your digital presence is not keeping up with very current standards.


You might have a very attractive website designed 3-4 years ago that still presents accurate information for your audience in an attractive format. But visitors may  be turning away from it the moment it appears on the screen. Your supporters might receive your latest email announcement, but won’t read it when it hits their inboxes. Consumers of digital information are very demanding; their expectations are always high. Here is what’s expected now as a normal online experience:

  • A fully optimized responsive experience* across devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones
  • Responsive websites, email, blogs, online shopping and fundraising, social media
  • Usable experiences with typefaces that are large enough to actually read
  • The same for images – photos, graphics, interactive media (think maps!)
  • Just the right amount of content to find the information or capability that’s needed
  • Navigation, forms and buttons that are as easy to use as they are to read
  • And much more

The mobile web is nothing new. The original iPhone came out ten years ago! Yet, habits take time to change and it was some time before most people expected their online experiences to effectively transition from one type of digital device to another. Today, it’s the norm, whether or not your own website is seeing mobile traffic at or below the industry averages. Check out these stats gathered in a recent post by IMPACT Branding & Design:

  • Over 36% of mobile subscribers use iPhones or iPads to read email and 34% of subscribers only use mobile devices to read emails.
  • Tablet devices account for the highest add-to-cart rates on e-commerce websites at 8.58%.
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
  • Mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years.
  • 70% Of Consumers Delete Emails Immediately That Don’t Render Well On A Mobile Device

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Google serves up Mobile Search results when you use it on a smartphone and good mobile search rankings require a mobile-ready website. However, successful results require an optimized responsive experience across devices. Thanks something that Google can’t rate! At least not yet.

* Want to understand more about mobile optimization vs. mobile ready? Here’s a good place to start:
Beyond Responsive Design: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

When you’re ready to ditch your old digital assets so you can have a website again, let me know! And don’t worry, this may all be different in 3 years.

‘Nuff said!