First, I want to tell you about the recent Google update on April 21st that probably a lot of you heard about. That was just a couple of days ago, as I record this.
Yoast reports that he is already starting to see some data that indicates that this is a big update, that they are heavily weighting this mobile factor with regard to website ranking. It’s something that you need to know about. It’s pretty simple from what we know about it right now to take care of it, at least for first order, but let’s talk about what it is and what you need to do about it.
If you’ve spent time with Google Analytics, if you’ve been in this for any length of time at all, you probably realize that more and more it is becoming true that people are accessing your website through some kind of mobile device, whether it’s an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy, an iPhone 6, or whatever it is. Those users are coming to you.
If you’re not used to this, if you simply installed Google Analytics on your website, after a period of time when it collects some data, it will tell you what the user agent is that’s coming into your site. That’s a fancy word that talks about what the website browser is and you can tell from that whether it’s a mobile device or not. Google will tell you all of this information through Google Analytics.
If you’re not running Google Analytics on your site, I highly recommend that.
Back in the old days when I was doing all kind of different promotion techniques for websites, sometimes we would have discussions about whether or not it was cool to have Google Analytics hooked up on your site. After all, if you’re trying to trick Google and then you give them data about your website, they’re going to find you easier. At least that’s what we worried about. We don’t worry about that anymore. All of the techniques that we’re talking about on this show are white hat, so we don’t fear Google Analytics. We install it and we use the data.
One thing the data will tell you is your website statistics will show that a lot of your visitors are mobile. That makes sense, right? We all have these fantastic mobile devices. I personally have an iPhone 6 Plus, it has a large beautiful screen and it’s with me all the time. While I prefer my Macbook for browsing, that’s not what I carry around with me all the time. My iPhone is always with me, so a lot of times I’m pulling up websites on my iPhone.
I usually prefer the normal website, I don’t like a mobile website. If you’ve noticed (and you can try this out on Amazon) most of the websites that you go to will change depending on whether you’re on a mobile device or a PC. There are two approaches to this.
One approach is this idea that you have a separate website for mobile devices. It used to be a lot of times you’d even be transferred to a separate domain; you would go to something like mobile.whateverwebsite.com or m.thewebsite.com, and that website would be designed specifically for mobile.
More recently what we’ve seen are websites that change their theme for mobile. They’ll swap out to a mobile-friendly theme. And there are plugins that do this for you. The most famous one is the WP-Touch plugin for WordPress where you can just install this plugin, it’s highly configurable. It will essentially swap out your theme for a mobile-friendly theme whenever it detects a mobile device.
I think the more sophisticated approach that people are using now is this idea of responsive design. You can usually tell if a website has a responsive design. If you’re on a PC or a Mac and you take your browser and you move the edge from left to right, go from a wide window that you’re looking at the website in and you go left and get narrower, you’ll see the website change. On an old school website stuff would run off the screen and it wouldn’t look right, it would get squinched or you’d have to scroll left to right to see the whole website. In a mobile responsive design what you see is the website actually changes dynamically bit by bit so that whatever is presented on the screen is reasonable.
In the case of blogs, a lot of times what you’ll see in responsive design is the header will change as you collapse in and make the screen smaller and smaller. If it’s a two column page it will go down to one column and that one column will actually look reasonable in the narrow window. That’s responsive design.
So three kinds of websites that you might run across; old school websites that look horrible on small screens, not so old separate theme websites where you have either a separate website all together or a theme that is separately being displayed to mobile devices, and then these fancy new responsive designs.
Google has decided, and I think correctly, that they recognize a lot of the traffic that is hitting Google search is actually coming from mobile users and they want to service those mobile users in a reasonable way. Returning a mobile user a result that is not mobile-friendly doesn’t make sense for Google.
Remember, you’re not Google’s customer and the searcher is not even Google’s customer. The advertiser is Google’s customer. In order to make money from advertisers they need lots of searchers, so Google is highly motivated to give the best results possible from search. Since they know a ton of traffic is coming from mobile, they’ve decided that they need to present a reasonable result to all of these bunches of mobile users.
I think another thing that is true is websites that are being actively maintained by people who care about them are going to respond to this kind of change in the marketplace. If it’s an old junky website that hasn’t been updated for two or three years and the owner no longer cares about it, that website is not going to be responsive, it’s not going to have a mobile-friendly theme. I think a secondary consideration for Google is probably this idea of being able to weed out some older websites that are no longer being properly maintained.
I can tell you that getting to mobile-friendliness is going to be a huge big deal for giant corporate websites that have legacy designs and hundreds of thousands of pages. If you’re listening to this podcast, that’s probably not you. You probably have a website with 10, 20, 30, or 40 pages, or you’re thinking about building one, and you need to know what to do if you’re facing this algorithm change.
The first thing that you need to do is go to the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool that Google has published and it will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly. Actually, what it tells you is if the page that you offer it is mobile-friendly. If you give it your homepage, it will tell you that. If you test a couple of other pages on your site it will tell you page by page, URL by URL, whether or not the result at that URL is actually mobile-friendly.
If your site comes back as mobile-friendly because you’ve installed a responsive theme – a lot of the Genesis Themes and these other high end themes that we recommend on the show are already responsive – you’re set, you’re done, and you don’t need to do anything.
If it comes back as not mobile-friendly, you really have two options, an easy and not-so-sexy option and a sexy option, but the sexy option sometimes is not so easy.
The first option is to install some kind of plugin that makes your site mobile-friendly. The one that is most famous is WP-Touch. I’ve used that for a long time on and off for various purposes on various websites. It’s very easy to use, it has been used by probably hundreds of thousands or millions of webmasters since its introduction, it’s been for a long time.
The other plugin that you can use that works really well is the JetPack option for mobile sites.
What both of these plugins do is recognize the fact that the requested view of your website is coming from a mobile device and they put a mobile theme on top of your content. They take your images and as best as they can they render a mobile-friendly version. Essentially they’re substituting a separate theme for your website for that viewer.
That works fine and it does satisfy this thing that Google is looking for. If you’re looking to avoid Google’s penalty, this will work fine for you. If you need a quick option one of these two plugins will be fine for you today.
That’s not really going to look fantastic. It’s not going to have your look and feel and branding that is on your main site. What you end up with is a desktop site that looks one way, probably fantastic because you’ve spent so much time optimizing it, and a mobile site that just really doesn’t look at that great, it’s kind generic looking. WP-Touch is highly configurable and you can work on that to make it a lot better.
The sexy option that’s a lot more work is to have a mobile responsive theme. Changing themes on your website may be a huge big deal. You may need a designer, you may need to do all that customization work that you’ve already done to get your current theme to look great, you may need to do that all over again.
For me, changing themes is a really big deal, but I’m having to do that on LateNightIM.com, so I have my guy working on a new theme that is completely mobile responsive. It’s a big deal and basically I’m going through something similar to what Pat Flynn went through about a year ago, or maybe almost two years ago now, on Smart Passive Income; redesigning the site, bringing it up to best in class standards, including responsive design. I’ll be working on that probably through the summer as we get all of that worked out and tweaked up. I’ll keep you apprised of how that goes. It’s an interesting process.
The reason that my site was maybe less mobile-friendly than it should have been back when we made the change several years ago was that we stayed with the Thesis platform and at that time it wasn’t responsive, so that’s an issue for me now.
If you have simple affiliate websites that you’re looking to covert, maybe you five or 10 of them. I had five or six affiliate websites that when I looked at them they failed the Mobile-Friendly Test. I experimented with both WP-Touch and the Jetpack plugin for mobile-friendly sites and I kind of liked the results of the Jetpack plugin, it was simple and clean. I will tell you that I think you’re probably going to find that these mobile plugins for affiliate sites really aren’t well optimized in general for conversions. You’ll have to reconsider what’s above and below the page fold for most mobile devices. There are lots of conversion things that you’re going to need to consider.
You can instrument Google Analytics with goals and things that will help you understand what traffic is converting for you. Are you converting your mobile traffic to sales, are clicks to affiliate sites, or are you converting your desktop traffic? That’s something important to understand as you go through these theme redesigns and make changes to your site. Are you monkeying around with your conversion rates because of the way you’re presenting information to the user?
For example, let’s say that you have an affiliate webpage and just above the fold on that page you have a graphic that people have been clicking on and that graphic is leading to a conversion on some other website – say it’s a great ad for some Amazon product and people have been clicking on that and going to Amazon. When you squeeze the screen down if you go mobile, that may push that graphic way below the fold and you may suddenly find yourself in a situation where those same visitors are not even scrolling down far enough to see that graphic. Those are the kinds of things that you need to worry about when you make these conversions.
I think the first thing is go ahead and make the conversion, make Google happy, show that your website passes their Mobile-Friendly Test, and that should help you deal with what is being considered a very large update to the Google search algorithm.
Now I want to tell you this story about what happened in January and where I’ve been. Not so much that part of it, not so much the excuses for why I have a podcast in January and then not another episode until April in a year where I said, “This is going to be the year where I get really serious about podcasting.” I’m still saying that, by the way, and we’ll talk about why.
I want to talk about what happened to me. I’m in this mastermind group – and I hope at some point you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of situation. This is a group of people that I know, like, and trust, and that I admire. Every one of the guys in this mastermind group that I’m in (we call it The Green Room) I know, like, and trust them, and I admire them, I look up to them even I think is the right thing to say.
We’re talking about guys like Cliff Ravenscraft, who I consider a close personal friend, who is just an inspirational character and someone who I consider a dear friend. Pat Flynn, who is simply amazing and one of the hardest working guys in show business, who I’ve been around since he started. Michael Stelzner, who is running this ginormous business that he built with his own two hands, a guy of straight talk and integrity. Leslie Samuels, a guy over at Become A Blogger who has this amazing, infectious enthusiasm that makes you want to get up and dance every time you talk to him, he has this effect on people and he’s able to change their lives in that way. Then there is Ray Edwards, the newest member of the group, Ray is a special person and I was privileged to meet him face-to-face at Social Media Marketing World.
One of the things that is really amazing about Ray that has always impressed me is he is unashamedly Christian. If you go to his podcast and listen to it, he actually does a podcast that’s not too different than mine in many ways, he’s trying to help people with business issues, but he has the integrity around his own values to help people spiritually as well, he has a spiritual section to that podcast.
One of the things that I really admire about that is that his podcast is completely true to exactly who he is. Imagine my dismay, surprise, and shock, and trepidation and fear when I walk up to these guys at Social Media Marketing World a couple weeks ago and one of the first things Ray says to me is, he looks me straight in the eyes and he says, “Mark, I need some technical help. There must be something wrong with my feed, it’s not downloading your podcast. I haven’t seen anything since January, I know the problem must be on my end.”
Immediately I knew I was had. Here are these guys all standing around – Cliff, Mike, Leslie, and Pat all standing in a little circle – and here’s Ray just giving me the business over this thing. I knew just based on that that I would be back on the mic.
More than that, I figured this is an opportunity, because this is not the first time that this has happened to me. And I know for a lot of you out there that this has happened to you where you’ve made a resolution at the beginning of the year, you haven’t followed through on it, and by the middle of the year so much time has gone by that you’re really kind of in give up mode.
I’m going to encourage you not to give up on those New Year’s resolution. I’m going to tell you that only one-third of the year has gone by and two-thirds of the year is yet to go. Even if you don’t meet this thing that you said you were going to do until next April, maybe you’ll get back on track and do it by end of the year but even if you’re a few months late, how happy will you be to have finished that?
I have 11 things that I want you to consider, I’ll call them steps for getting your resolution back on track. I did a lot of research on this to understand what the New Year’s resolution gurus, or goal gurus like Michael Hyatt, have to say about what you do in these situations. In pulling all that together I came up with these things that helped me and I think they’ll help you too.
The first thing is I think you need to spend some time considering the root cause. Why is it that you haven’t stuck with the goals that you said you were going to stick with? What caused that? Have you been spending too much time playing softball? That’s one of my excuses that I’ll throw out there. That’s not the real excuse, though.
You need to really take some time to be introspective and consider the root cause and try to figure it out. Maybe it’s important for you to eliminate that root cause. Do you have some fear of failure or maybe even of success that is holding you back? Do you not have the resources that you need? What is the issue? That may lead you to some action that you need to take to remove that barrier.
The second thing, and the second most important on the list, is and then leave it alone. Forget it about it. Those months between January and March are gone, you’re not going to get those back. Beating yourself up about the fact that you didn’t do what you said you were going to do is not helpful. It’s useful to acknowledge the fact that it happened, to understand why it happened, to recommit yourself and maybe take some steps to keep it from happening again. Just dwelling on the fact that you’ve not done exactly what you said you were going to do and labeling that as failure is not good. So thing number two is just leave the past in your past.
That allows you to get to thing number three, the most important thing in this list. You need to reassess why you have the goal to begin with. I will you tell you this is the single most important thing behind goals. I’m sure Michael Hyatt would back me up on this. You absolutely need to understand why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing. A lot of times your issue may be that your why isn’t enough to get you over the finish line.
If you’re trying to lose 50 pounds and it’s not really for you, it’s for someone else, your chances of being successful are not going to be nearly as good as if you’ve internalized that as your goal, you want to lose 50 pounds because you want to be there for your kids in 20 years, you want to look good for yourself, or whatever your reason is. Having goals for someone else or an insufficient why is not going to get it done.
We’ve talked before about from and to motivations – are you running away from something or are you running towards something. A lot of times it’s going to be a lot more powerful if you’re running towards something. Running away will oftentimes get you started, but getting across the finish line you really need to understand why you’re doing this, what you’re running towards, you need to know that.
Once you know why you’re doing this thing, I think the fourth thing is to reassess the goal. In my case, my goal was to have 50 podcast episodes of this show by the end of the year. That’s one per week-ish. Guess what? Twelve weeks are already gone, so I’m basically 10 episodes behind, maybe 12 episodes behind. Is it still reasonable to do 50 episodes?
Well, now it’s a lot harder because in order to get to 50 I’m going to have to do more than one per week on a couple of occasions to make that happen. But, I’m still committed to that goal. So in my case I’ve reassessed the goal and I still want to do it. I know my why for this and I know the goal that I want to keep.
I think the fifth thing is cash in on accountability. Go after some accountability that you invested in back in January when you told people that you were going to do something.
Let me tell you what the deal is with Ray and The Green Room guys. I wrote this stuff down, this stuff is written down. These guys, as much as they love me, they’re going to give me a hard time over this kind of thing if I don’t execute. They’ve been pretty kind to me so far, but you can leverage that kind of accountability. If you’ve told people what you’re going to do, give them permission to bug you about it and ask you about it and hold you accountable.
Number six goes along with this, reinvest in this accountability. Let people know that you didn’t do it, but you’re still planning on doing it, you’re restarting and that you need their support. Declare those intentions, reinvest in accountability, own the state that you’re in right now and get people to help you get out of this state.
Number seven is now that you’ve decided what you’re going to do, make sure you have a clear plan. For me and 50 episodes that means having show topics ready to go, show notes, understanding when those episodes are going to be released, and basically having an editorial calendar that is very specific for the podcast. That’s something that I’ve been working on since I talked to Ray.
Make sure that you’re ready to go. One of the things that you may have identified back when you were considering the root cause in step one is that you didn’t have a clear plan. If that’s your problem, after you have this accountability sorted out, you definitely need to get those details very clear. Make sure that you understand what needs to happen and when with regard to the goal.
This is a very important piece, because if you know what you need to do next that eliminates a lot of the excuses. You can have a very broad, general, high pie-in-the-sky plan, but really ask “what am I supposed to be doing today?”
Right now in Dallas, Texas it’s Friday night, what am I supposed to be doing? I’m supposed to be in front of the mic recording. When I’m done recording, what am I going to do next? I’m going to edit. I know when I need to have this podcast episode done and what the show title is of the next one and when that needs to be recorded. Get to that very detailed level of a clear plan and that will help you.
Item number eight is maybe you’re having trouble finding the time. Block the time. If you have something you want to do, block the time on your calendar. I’m trying to remember where I picked this phrase up from, “Treat that appointment with yourself like you booked an airline flight.” I’ve heard this idea from several people. There are things that we just don’t miss, like doctor’s appointments, but even more than that is airline flights.
How many times have you gone crazy rushing to the airport to make sure that you didn’t miss an airplane flight? That’s exactly the kind of accountability that you want to have. Block that time on your calendar and make sure that you’re working towards your goal like it’s a flight at the airport.
When you have the focus and you have the plan, make sure that you’re focused on the things that you can actually do. A lot of times we focus on the things that we don’t know how to do. We’ll talk about how there’s this barrier and that barrier, “I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to use this piece of software.” Let’s don’t focus on that part. Let’s focus on the stuff that we know how to do.
When we get to the part where we don’t know exactly what to do, there are all kinds of resources out there that you can lean on. So number nine definitely is focus on the thing that you can do, don’t worry about the future thing that you don’t quite know how to do yet.
One of the things that I learned from Jason Van Orden and Jeremy Frandsen over at Internet Business Mastery is this idea of just in time learning. When you get to step 17, that’s when you worry about step 17, don’t worry about it while you’re on step three.
Number 10, and I think this is a good check, make sure you have the right environment. Are you able to work in a place for whatever it is that you’re doing? If it’s a podcast, do you have the right set up, do you have the right gear, do you have the right kind of place where you can go to get this stuff done? Is environment part of the problem? Are you having trouble finding time to get alone? Make sure that you’re in the right environment at the right time.
Do you need to be creative? Do you need a quiet environment to be creative? Maybe you need to change your schedule to get your environment correct. That would be item number 10, make sure that you check your environment and that your environment is conducive to the attainment of your goals.
Number 11 is just the fantastic one; just frickin’ get started. Stop making excuses, stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop wallowing in self pity over the fact that once again this year you didn’t do what you said you were going to do, just like every other New Year’s resolution that you’ve ever made. Get off your rear-end and go get something done.
If this speaks to you, if you are that person, I want you to go to the comments at LateNightIM.com/088, leave me a comment and let me know what it is that you’re planning on doing. I want to be part of your accountability and your success. Declare your intentions to me in the comments on the show notes.
I can’t wait to hear what you have planned once you get through these steps of considering the root cause, leaving the past in the past, reassessing your why, reassessing your goal, cashing on the accountability that you invested in at the beginning, reinvesting in accountability and re-declaring your intentions, get into the details of a very clear plan, blocking time on your calendar and having good schedule habits, focusing on the things that you can do instead of the things that you don’t know how to do, getting in a good environment, and getting started. Those are the things that you need to do to get restarted.
If you do that now, for the rest of the year, when we get to December you’re really going to like the results. I want to hear about it at LateNightIM.com/088.
Wrapping Things Up….
That wraps it up for this week. I will be back probably sooner than in a week. We’re going to have a few extra episodes here and there, because I am committed to this goal of 50 episodes in 2015. We’ll be on a little bit of an accelerated schedule. Right now I’m kind of thinking about staying on the Thursday release schedule, but trying to throw in an extra episode once in awhile. I haven’t got that part of the very detailed plan figured out yet, but watch for me.
I’d love to hear your feedback. Tell me what you think in the comments.