Is your website mobile friendly? What are you waiting for?
Think of how you use your mobile device to conduct research. Your potential customer is also seeking answers to questions and quite often, they’re doing it from their mobile device. Consider this: More than half of American adults own smartphones and one-third own tablets, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project—and more and more of these consumers are using their devices to go online. A mobile-friendly website can boost your business’s sales: According to Google, 67 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a business if it has a mobile-friendly website.
As of April 21, 2015 Google plans to adjust their algorithm so that mobile friendly sites will now rank better than those that are not, especially on, well…….mobile devices. Google’s move makes perfect sense as more and more people are using their mobile devices to perform searches, contact businesses and even shop. Personally, I use my mobile device constantly for quick research, finding local businesses and to look up information more frequently than my laptop or iPad as I have my phone with me at all times, so it is easier to access.
Why is Google Pushing Mobile Friendly Sites?
Google is all about improving user experience. Browsing a clunky, non-mobile-friendly website on a small cellphone screen does NOT make for good user experience. There is nothing worse than zooming in to make the text and links large enough to fit onto my screen only to click on something else by accident. It’s very frustrating, isn’t it? But remember that Google users are also your potential customers. So the easier you make it for them to find the right information on your website and fill out that contact form, the better for your business.
What does this mean for your business?
One thing, if you want to be successful – your site needs to be mobile friendly. If it will affect how visible your company is to potential customers, there is absolutely no reason not to invest in a mobile friendly website in this digital age.
For most websites, it won’t necessarily be a huge investment, especially if your site is built on WordPress or another CMS. However, if your site is dated, with old code, then it could take a lot longer and it may be worth redesigning it as mobile friendly from scratch. If your site uses flash or is built entirely in flash, forget it. You need a redesign right away to compete with other companies in your niche that use standard web infrastructure. Plus, why is your site still in Flash??
How do I know if my site is mobile friendly?
Here are ways you can test if your site is mobile friendly.
1. Open your website on your own mobile device or tablet. Do you have to zoom in to see any of the content? If you do, your site was not built to be responsive, which means the size adjusts to the dimensions of the screen it’s being viewed on. Responsive is also Google’s preferred way to handle mobile sites.
2. Do a search for keywords that you normally rank for on Google while on your mobile device. Do you see the “Mobile-Friendly” tag next to it? If so, then Google has labeled your website as mobile-friendly and you will be okay.
3. Use Google Developers Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. This handy tool analyzes your website and lets you know if your site ranks well for mobile searches. The tool also displays a screenshot of how your site appears on a mobile device.
Not mobile friendly? Follow these tips to make your site more mobile friendly.
So you went through the previous tests and have found out your site is not mobile friendly and the code isn’t too old then there are certain steps you can take to bring your site up to being mobile friendly.
1. Begin with the basics. Smartphone users are typically looking for directions, hours and contact information. Put that information at the top of your website’s home page, where it’s easy to find, along with a link to your address on Google Maps. Include a “click to call” button on every page of your website so customers on the go can contact you easily.
2. Limit images. Too many images, or images that are too large, will take a long time to load on a mobile device. It’s OK to use images, but use smaller sizes and compress the images so they’ll load quickly on a mobile connection.
3. Design for touchscreens. Smartphone and tablet screens are harder to use than using a computer mouse. Make sure that buttons and links are big enough to click on easily, and add plenty of white space around them so users don’t accidentally hit the wrong link.
4. Limit the amount of text users must enter. Lengthy forms on a smartphone or tablet can be frustrating to fill in. It’s recommended to use dropdown menus or a list of choices so users can tap a selection rather than type in information.
5. Cut down on content. On a small screen too much text can result in tl;dr, (too long; didn’t read). Users don’t want to read a lot of words. Streamline your content so they can get the key points of your message quickly.
6. Simplify site navigation. If your website has a lot of menu options or tabs, consolidate them into a shorter list of navigation options for your mobile site. Focus on the choices mobile users are most likely to care about—for instance, they don’t need to see your restaurant’s “About Us” page, but they do want to see the “Menus.”
7. Make email messages mobile-friendly. In a Constant Contact study, 80 percent of smartphone owners say it’s extremely important that emails be readable on a mobile device, and 75 percent say they are “highly likely” to delete an email if they can’t easily read it on their smartphone. Consider using an email marketing provider like Constant Contact, which has templates already formatted for mobile devices.
8. Think mobile when being social. Four in 10 social media users regularly access social media from their mobile phones, the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports. Keep posts short so customers can quickly enjoy them on mobile devices.
Mobile is here to stay and Google pushing mobile friendly sites is only going to make it more important that you make your site mobile friendly.
UPDATE March 2017
I recently came across an educational website for web beginners with in-depth online guides together with downloadable PDF’s, video tutorials and web development resources in order to help newbies establish an online identity. They’ve also covered the creation of mobile-friendly websites.
You can check it out for yourself at https://firstsiteguide.com/