One size site gets top marks from Google

By Imran Khan

The award-winning firm’s bid to create the perfect “one-size fits-all” website is being held up as an example of best practice by the world’s biggest search engine.

Google is using Baines & Ernst’s site, built using responsive web design (RWD), as a case study to highlight how successful RWD can be.

The responsive website automatically shrinks or expands to suit the viewer’s screen and can detect whether the device is a mobile, tablet or laptop. So its template, images, layout and content visibility are never impaired. Making it totally user-friendly. It also harnesses dragging, swiping and other gestures recognised by touchscreens.

Baines & Ernst saw its mobile conversions soar by 51% after launching its savvy new site. Conversions are measured when a user contacts the company to make an enquiry. On mobile devices pages per visit increased by 11%, while the average length of stay rose by 30%, and mobile bounce rate registered an 8% decrease. Qualitative research also revealed that visitors found the experience easier and more enjoyable.

We are always striving to improve communications and make it easier for our customers to get the right financial help when they need it, which is why we’ve invested in the technology to make it as easy as possible for people to find the right solution.

Our main focus was to deliver a consistent user experience across all the devices so our potential customers can find the right information on any screen. We are delighted that Google created the case study. They were genuinely impressed by our quick adaption to create a mobile version of our site. We were one of the first companies in our sector to do this.

While many businesses rely on multiple versions of their website to cater for different screen sizes, RWD means you only need one. It enables you to layer everything on to a single file of HTML content, which means load times may be reduced and users can share and link to content.

Established in 1996, Baines & Ernst is a leading provider of debt solutions in the UK and uses its website to tell consumers about the financial solutions available to them.

The site is very important as many consumers do not have deep familiarity with financial solutions, so our online presence exists in large part to help users understand our products.

Baines & Ernst realised that mobile usage was rising when Google Analytics data revealed that more people were accessing the company’s website via smartphones.

The decision to launch mobile-specific search advertising was made in late 2011. This incorporated both site links and click-to-call functionality. Positive results led Baines & Ernst to invest in a mobile-optimised site, which launched in the second half of 2012.

While this helped provide a better experience to the growing number of mobile users, the forward thinking firm realised they could do more. After extensive customer research using focus groups and surveys, they invested in RWD, while refreshing their content to make it short and easy to understand.

We like to keep our content as fresh, relevant and as balanced as possible, so we’re constantly updating it. Therefore, having two sites to update just wasn’t efficient.

Note

To read the full Google, case study, visit: http://www.google.com/think/case-studies/baines-and-ernst-responsive-web-design.html  

About the author

Imran Khan is Head of Online at Baines & Ernst.

Baines & Ernst is a UK-based financial solutions company that is part of the award-winning Paymex Group. Established in Manchester in 1996 as a specialist debt management company, Baines & Ernst provides services including Debt Management Plans, IVAs and Debt Relief Orders that have been specifically designed to help people get out of debt. The company is a member of the Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) and follow its Code of Practice as approved by the Trading Standards Institute. Company accolades include Debt Management Provider of the Year Award Winners at the Insolvency and Rescue Awards 2010 and 2011, 2012 and 2013 finalists.

http://www.bainesandernst.co.uk/

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