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Y You Need A Responsive Website - Not An App

Posted by: Jeff Davis - 11/26/2015
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Goodbye Menu Navigation

Posted by: Jeff Davis - 11/26/2015

"Ok, grab a clean sheet of paper and let's write down everything we want in our new demo website."

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Interview With a Vampire - Actually a Digital Marketer

Posted by: Jeff Davis - 11/26/2015

Recently, I was asked to participate in an online interview conducted by Deepak Kanakaraju and published on  Here is part of that interview...  


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Turning Mirrors Into Windows

Posted by: Jeff Davis - 11/26/2015

comScore reported in June that 60 percent of all online traffic now comes from mobile devices.

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Y Mobile and Why It Matters

Posted by: Jeff Davis - 11/26/2015
“The very best marketing comes from observing consumer behavior and inserting your message into their behavior.”

Recently I reviewed the Google analytics for 22 YMCA web sites to identify consumer traffic trends for 2014.  Research from eMarketer indicates that consumers continue to move their web access device of choice to mobile (smartphones and tablets).  “ Combining online and mobile devices, however, eMarketer expects US adults to spend 5 hours 46 minutes with digital media daily this year, increasing digital’s lead over television to well over 1 hour per day.  That increase is almost exclusively attributable to mobile .

I wanted to see the impact, if any, on the traffic to YMCA websites. Many businesses are now reporting that more than 50% of their site traffic is coming from mobile devices.  It makes sense, smartphones have outsold computers since the 4th quarter of 2011 .  

These analytics covered 2.1 million web sessions from January 1st to November 23rd, 2014.  

We Are Going Mobile

  • During the first six months of 2014, mobile traffic represented 46.2% of all traffic to these YMCA websites.
  • From July 1st to November 23rd, mobile traffic represented 49.4% of all traffic, an increase of 7%.  Clearly consumers are increasing their use of mobile devices to access YMCA websites.
  • Seven of the 22 web sites already generate more than 50% of their traffic from mobile devices.
  • Based on current trends, it appears that mobile traffic will account for more than 50% of all YMCA traffic by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
Does It Matter?

What does this change in traffic mean to the “average” YMCA, if anything? This analysis includes a cross section of YMCA sites: 14 traditional web sites and 8 responsive design (mobile friendly) websites.

Mobile traffic for responsive design websites increasingly represents a larger portion of total site traffic.  Mobile traffic in responsive design sites is 46.7% of all traffic versus 45.8% of non-responsive sites. When consumers have a more engaging experience, they will visit more often and stay longer.

This may be a small difference, but the real difference comes from looking at the variances in bounce rates.

Bounce Rates
January - June
July - November 23rd

Clearly the bounce rates are lower for responsive design sites. Responsive (mobile friendly) design leads visitors more easily to the content they are seeking.  

Your website is your digital storefront and for many member prospects it is their first impression of your organization.  Upgrading your website to responsive design (or at least offering a mobile site) is no longer an option. Consumer behavior now dictates it.
To learn how to convert your YMCA site to mobile responsive, contact your digital partners at Thrive.

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Growth of Mobile Traffic in 2013

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

People are constantly on the go - which is where mobile becomes a main focus. More and more searches are done on mobile devices because of the fact that people are constantly moving. Overall mobile traffic increased by 139% in 2012. The average mobile search grew from 11% in 2011 to 18% in 2012.

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YMCA Web Presence Matters! Reason #1

Posted by: James Harsh - 11/26/2015
As I sit in front of my laptop on a Monday morning, I find myself overwhelmed with ideas to share to the YMCA community regarding the importance of promoting a digital, or online image for YMCA websites.  The reasons are many but how I go about explaining them in one article is nearly impossible.  So, it is with great excitement I present to you the first of many reasons, in a series format, detailing why a “YMCA Web Presence Matters”!  

Reason #1 - Create and Foster an Online Community

I took the opportunity to reach out to Elaine Barnard, a key member of the Lake County YMCA staff.  Elaine has been in and around the YMCA community for over 25 years.  She knows the Y mission inside and out.  I asked her, why should a Y care about its website? Rather than me translate her thoughts, I’d like to provide you Elaine’s comments.

Today, building relationships isn’t limited to connecting to people in person.  Millions of people plug in every day and Y’s need to be there.  An August Harvard Business Review article about the death of marketing explained "Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews."
When we connect to people online, it’s our opportunity to not only build relationships, but also build a reputation . . . prove we are experts in the community.  This won’t happen magically.  It requires a commitment, strategy and planning.  Our online presence needs to be more than electronic bulletin board for posting events, promoting programs, announcing closings and cancellations.  It’s our opportunity to tell REAL stories, share healthy recipes or simple exercise routines, speak to busy families, tell people what makes us different and PROVE THAT WE'RE MORE THAN A GYM!

Elaine has many good points, and what I like about these points, they are from her perspective.  A view from the inside of a YMCA, not James Harsh the Web Solution Sales guy.  The Internet is always on, your members and prospective members are looking for information at all hours of the day.  Inbound 2012 states “89% of people in the US search online before they make a purchase, even when the purchase is made at a local business”.  That’s an astounding amount of people!  What is your website saying to them?  Is your website easy to navigate?  Does your digital image look professional?  Is a visitor “invited” for a free trial?

Not only are these web visitors on their desktop and laptop, but many are accessing your site on their mobile phone.   Inbound 2012 provides us with another interesting statistic, “2014 is when mobile Internet usage is expected to surpass desktop Internet usage”.  This boggles my mind but I would agree as I use my iPhone more and more to search the web.  Does your website load properly on a mobile phone?  Or, is it just a micro version of your full website that is impossible to read or navigate?  Google states that 9 out of 10 people take action when searching from a mobile device.  If your website is not mobile-friendly, you can say goodbye to that potential member or lost parent trying to find the swim meet from their mobile phone.

There is not much I can add to Elaine’s points above.  Elaine is the expert.  You are the expert.  You know the YMCA mission.  The challenge is to transfer everything you know and do into the digital world.  If you don’t, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “you will die”.  Sorry to be so blunt, but that is the truth.  The way we do business has forever changed.  And, if you dive into a bit, you won’t be scared because what you will find out is that the ones “who care, are the ones that will win on the web.”  This also comes from Gary Vaynerchuk, social media trailblazer.  The days when doing the right thing for your customer and truly caring about your customer are back.  If this doesn’t fit perfectly into the YMCA mission, then I am not sure what will.  

YMCA web presence matters!  Your website should be the foundation of all your marketing efforts.  What is your website saying about you?
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QR Codes: How effective are they?

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

QR codes have grown in popularity since their major debut back in 2011. They are showing up at Starbucks, on popular magazines and department stores. In a article by Matt Wilson: 

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Be A Mobile Friendly YMCA Part 2

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

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Be A Mobile Friendly YMCA

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

The world is turning to mobile and we all need to stop, take a few moments and try to access our own websites for mobile usage. On average our team sees statistics that reflect 10% + of a YMCA website’s traffic viewed on a mobile device. Sometimes as high as 20%. This means that 1-2 people for every 10 are on a smartphone or a tablet.

Take a moment and go to your YMCA website on your mobile device. How does it look? If it’s not so good maybe it’s time to start planning to be “mobile friendly”.

Here are some things to consider......
    •    By 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than their PCs to get online (Gartner, 2010; Google Mobile Optimization Webinar 2011; Cisco, 2011)
    •    71% of users expect a mobile site to load as fast as a desktop site (Compuware, “What Users Want From Mobile”, 2011)
    •    57% would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site (Compuware, “What Users Want From Mobile”, 2011)
    •    79% prefer mobile sites for product reviews (Adobe Systems, “Adobe Mobile Experience Survey” 2011; eMarketer, 2011)

As a YMCA you can take this slowly. First put together a plan of action - here is a quick list..

1. Review your website statistics. Identify the top 5 most visited content areas.
2.  Rank them from 1-5.
3. Create a budget to work with to convert your site to be mobile ready. $3500 is an average figure you can usually get a strong first generation mobile site built for.

Once you have these steps taken care of you are ready to dive into creating a mobile site and stay ahead of the curve.

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