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My magic ‘5’: why you should review your website today, with a view to using HTML5

by  David Dwyer on  22/02/2018

Squaring the circle! Why we recommend and deploy HTML5 on a greater basis day-by-day

Throughout this blog, I want you to keep two words in mind: engagement and speed

It’s a sobering thought, but we now have 2-3 seconds, max, in which to grab the attention of visitors to our websites. If we don’t hook them within that sliver of time, then they’re off elsewhere. 

Never to return… in all likelihood. 

This trend goes hand in hand with the prediction that internet video traffic will account for 80% or more of all consumer internet traffic, within the next four years. 

That is simply staggering, and a trend that you cannot afford to ignore. 

It’s already changing how brands communicate with customers, and how we want to communicate with each other. 

Still not convinced? 

Over 500 million people now watch video on Facebook on a daily basis. And Generation Z, those born in the last 20 years or so, overwhelmingly prefer mobile devices for browsing – in fact, their usage time for mobiles is more than their combined use of all other devices! 

The result: short, bite-sized content is the preference, and big brands are all getting on trend.

But how to square the circle and use video to create sticky content without drastically affecting the response time of your website? Embedded video is much better than the traditional self-hosting and using an mp4 or .mov file, but will still slow your site’s response time, and that must impact your ranking on search engines.

Must it? There’s my number one reason to (re)develop your site using HTML5.

1) Extended video performance
Launched in 2014, HTML5 is only now in the last year becoming popular as it supports the latest multimedia content and gives your developer total on-site control. It natively handles multimedia content using syntactic features (<video> <audio> etc) allowing you to integrate multimedia and graphical content without using Flash, or similar third-party plug-ins. 

The result is engaging content, delivered in shorter, neater code. Handy, as Flash will be gone, totally, by 2020. 

Check this site for Fletcher Group to see the kind of enhanced user experience that HTML5 makes possible. 

Its strength in this context was recognised by Steve Jobs as far back as 2010. But it is now predicted to become the standard way to show video on the web.

A word of caution:
You need to reflect this on your site, and soon, but a lot of embedded video content can slow down your site response time – even using the HTML5 video tag. So, integrate the <video> tag with content hosted on YouTube for optimal streaming performance.

That will also help your audience figures: according to comScore, YouTube had a cross-platform reach of 42 million users in March 2017 alone, and UK viewers logged an average of 18 hours each that month! You want a slice of that.

Creating your new site in HTML5 is an investment worth making for the control and performance enhancements with video alone. But its benefits go on and on.

2) Geolocation API
Geolocation is a feature that allows users to benefit from personalised search results and opportunities such as geo-specific offers, which you can create and control if you have more than one location. 

It works using dedicated GPS hardware, or sharing where the visitor’s mobile device is by using the IP address, wireless network connection and cell tower that the phone is talking to. 

With the new HTML5 geolocation feature, APIs make the device location available to any HTML5-compatible browser-based application in an easy to code/incorporate standard. 

That should bring more relevant traffic to your site and increase revenue… improving the return on your online investment.

3) Offline browsing
The AppCache, Indexed Database API, and Web storage available using HTML5 make it possible for developers to store things locally on a mobile device, so interruptions in connectivity – inevitable if you’re on the move – will not affect the visitor’s ability to complete their task: whether that’s making a purchase, reserving an item or researching what you offer.

4) Cost-effective multi-platform development
A single batch of HTML5 code can now be used across platforms, devices and different markets, rather than going for open source solutions, particularly for mobile responsive sites. 

Because it results in lower development and maintenance costs throughout the lifetime of your website or web application, this directly benefits your bottom line – enabling you to invest that money elsewhere!

5) Impact on page ranking
My fifth and final reason to adopt HTML5 (for now) comes down to an old adage [if slightly paraphrased]… ‘Cleanliness is next to Googliness’.

HTML5 code is leaner and works in conjunction with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This combination equals Cost Effective Website Development.

CSS separates design from content, making websites easier to use and ultimately, maintain. It defines how HTML elements are displayed, using an external style sheet that enables you to change the appearance and layout of all the pages by editing a single CSS document! It can also help with download times, as the CSS is downloaded once and held in the browser’s cache. 

A developer telling you how get the best result, for less upfront cost – isn’t that refreshing?

Google does look at both web accessibility (set by W3C) and site usability for its seo results, so valid HTML and CSS are essential. 

HTML5 uses less code, which aids accessability – and W3C compliant sites should deliver a better user experience across a wider range of browsers. Your site may rank higher on a search engine because of this enhancement alone. 

While W3C validation may not be a “magic bullet” to ensure a top search engine ranking, you should take every advantage you can get; and valid HTML and CSS code are pillars of website optimisation and a pre-requisite for minimum accessibility compliance. (A legal requirement in the UK, by the way!) 

Finally, back to my big stick 
Remember the two words I emphasised at the start – engagement (for which read <video>) and speed? 

I’ve highlighted the speed benefits from HTML5’s clean and lean code; now I’ll leave you with some final thoughts around why you must not ignore the rise and rise of video.
* Using the word ‘video’ in a subject line has been shown to boost email open rates by 19% 
* Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store
* 48% of marketeers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in the next year

Here at Inspire we constantly offer pro-active support to all our clients – wherever they are based – advising them all about the online trends that can impact the return on their investment.

So come and talk to us about how we can work in partnership, to deliver a real return for you.  Call us now on 01738 700 006

Digital Trends, Disruptive not Disrupting Tech, e-commerce, Graphic Design, Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Websites, Portfolio, Responsive Web Design, Server, UI, User eXperience, UX Design, Web Consultancy, Web Design, Website Content
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