You may think that once a website is built, it just works regardless of what browser you are viewing it in. Not necessarily true. Building a website that looks and functions consistently on multiple platforms and multiple browsers can be a very arduous task. Many designers build sites on a given platform but may not be viewing the site or performing extensive quality assurance testing for multiple platforms and browsers. If this is overlooked, you can run the risk of having a certain percentage of your potential visitors having a bad experience when they view your site. You always want to try and make a good first impression with visitors and try to make your site as universally available as possible. The challenge is to continually keep up with all of the new versions of browsers and new operating environments out there.

Before launching a site for our clients, the Digital Dogs team completes comprehensive quality assurance testing to make sure the site is functioning properly for a large variety of common platforms and browsers such as Macintosh Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox and Google Chrome. We also work closely with our clients to find out exactly what functionality is needed on the site, who is your audience, what devices will they be using, etc.  If you need your website to run on specific mobile devices, iPad or specific tablet computers, it’s best to let your web developer know this information up front. It may require additional development time to enable the functionality you have on your full-version website to work on these other devices. Don’t assume that it will work on everything.

If you’re like me, you might also find it interesting to look at current technology trends. Here are some web browser, operating system and smartphone market share stats.

According to W3Counter (, here is a breakdown of the current Web Browser Market Share data:
• Internet Explorer (35.1%)
• FireFox (26.1%)
• Chrome (20.9%)
• Safari (6.0%)
• Opera (2.4%)

According to NetMarketShare (, this is the breakdown of Operating System Market Share:
• Windows (86.57%
• Mac (6.04%)
• iOS (3.27%)
• Java ME (1.11%)
• Linux (1.04%)
• Android (0.97%
• Other (0.65%

According to nielsenwire (, latest smartphone market share numbers are as follows:
• Android OS (36%)
• Apple (26%)
• RIM Blackberry (23%)
• Windows Mobile (9%)
• HP WebOS (2%)
• Symbian OS (2%)
• Windows Phone 7 (1%)
• Palm OS (1%)

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At Digital Dogs, we’re regularly asked to review websites and put together recommendations for SEO campaigns. While oftentimes a website could benefit from updating its look or even re-structuring the site’s architecture, the issues are typically minor enough that they won’t prevent an SEO campaign from being successful. If the website owner has the funds to update the website, we’ll recommend those changes. If the owner is on a tight budget, we can typically work with what’s currently in place and still get good results for the client. However, sometimes we encounter websites that need some serious work done to them before implementing SEO.

Here are a few reasons you should update your website before investing in SEO:

1. Your website only has 1 or 2 pages

Maybe you just want to keep your company’s message simple and uncluttered. That’s great, but you could still probably do the same with some more pages on your website. From the perspective of a search engine, a website with only a few pages is weak, especially when compared to a competitor’s website with hundreds of pages. Think of it in terms of football – if you’re choosing a defensive tackle, are you going to pick the scrawny kid who can be blown over by a gust of wind? Probably not, and Google won’t either. If you’re website is on the scrawny side when it comes to content, it’s time to start beefing it up by adding more pages about your products or services. Adding a blog and regularly updating it is also a good idea.

2. Your website looks like this:

Let’s be honest – if you’re website looks anything like the above one, people will run away screaming. Or, to be more realistic, they will click the Back button and look for a website that isn’t stuck in the ‘90s. While an ugly website can rank well in the search engines, the money you spend on SEO won’t provide a good ROI if people are so turned off by your website’s looks or usability that they immediately leave. The money invested in an updated web design will cause your SEO dollars to be more effective and will eventually pay for itself.

3. You have a splash page

The main issue here, as in the above one, is usability. You don’t want to make visitors go through multiple steps just to get to your website. Many people will see the splash page and, before it can completely load, they’ll leave and go to another website. In some cases, splash pages are set up in such a way that the search engines can’t access the interior pages of the website, thereby impacting your site’s rankings and visibility. There is good news, though. This issue can be resolved fairly painlessly – just have your designer or webmaster delete the splash page. Consumers will be able to immediately access your website, and you’ll probably see improved stats for visitor interaction on your website.

The above are just a few reasons why you might need to update your website before investing in SEO. Other issues can also come up, and heeding your SEO consultant’s advice regarding such matters will help you get the most for your money. If you’re a small business owner, you might initially be turned off by the price tag for updating or redesigning your website. However, by ignoring your website’s problems, you’re turning your back on potential customers, which can impact your wallet much more deeply in the long run.

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