Is My Website Ready For a Mobile World?
Why is a mobile friendly website important?
First, consumers are increasingly using smart phones and tablets to search for information online. According to Google, the majority of visitors coming to any website today are likely using a mobile device rather than a desktop computer.
Second, Google has announced that sometime in 2018, it will switch to a mobile-first index. What that means is that Google will determine a website’s rank in search engine results based on the quality of the mobile version of the site instead of the desktop version. Google will crawl your mobile site and determine if its performance and content provide a good user experience. If your website doesn’t, other sites will be ranked higher than yours.
Is your website mobile friendly?
If you don’t know for sure, Google offers this easy to perform test:
What is a mobile friendly website?
A mobile friendly website is easy to read and use on any type of device, whether desktop, tablet or smart phone. The user doesn’t have to pinch or zoom in order to see the content. Users find pinching and zooming a frustrating experience, and they are likely to click away from your website, unless it’s mobile friendly.
Even if your website is mobile friendly according to the above test, you’ll also want your website to be as mobile optimized as possible. Mobile optimized sites can be easily navigated on even the smallest of screens.
Following are some ideas that will help you have the most mobile friendly, mobile optimized website possible.
Choose a responsive website design
A responsive website uses the same underlying code, regardless of the user’s device. In other words, there aren’t different desktop and mobile versions of the website – just one. A responsive website design is Google’s recommended option. If you like the website you already have, often a web developer can transition your current website to a responsive site, while keeping its overall look, number of pages and content.
Make sure your website loads quickly
Today’s visitors expect a website to load on a smart phone in one to three seconds. That’s pretty fast! After that, according to many surveys, visitors will simply close the browser tab. If your website doesn’t load quickly enough, a trusted web developer can be instrumental in making your website fast.
Make sure your website is legible on small devices
It makes sense that if your website text isn’t easy to read on a smart phone because you’ve used very small fonts, users won’t be able to read your content. Similarly, you’ll want to be careful of any buttons or checkboxes. Both should be easy to read and use. Interestingly enough, according to a recent study on shopping cart conversions, while many consumers may use a mobile device to find what they want, they often switch to a desktop to actually make a purchase, so they can enter payment information on a larger screen.
Many websites present a pop-up window that asks you to do something, for example, subscribe to a newsletter, or answer a question. Pop-ups on a small mobile device screen are especially annoying to users. In an algorithm update in January 2017, Google indicated that mobile websites with annoying pop-ups might suffer a penalty in rankings. If your website uses pop-ups, beware.
The percentage of searchers who use mobile devices versus desktops varies by industry. If you want to know your own website’s mobile versus desktop search ratio, you can find that information in your Google analytics data. Your website first needs to be set up to collect that information.
If you would like a professional review of your website and find out if it is mobile friendly, I offer a complimentary 30 minute website strategy session. I would love to hear from you!
Carolyn Kohler is an SEO writer who specializes in helping businesses get found online. Her company is Website Wordsmith, and she is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.