Going Mobile – Make Your Website “Mobile-Friendly”

Google wants your website to be “mobile-friendly.” But apart from keeping Google happy – and what website owner doesn’t want to keep Google happy? – there are also other reasons your website should be mobile-friendly.

Over half of all traffic to consumer sites now comes from mobile devices. B2B sites have been a little slower to make the change, but looking at a few of our clients’ sites, we see anywhere from 25% to 70% of all traffic coming from mobile.

Even at the low end of the range, that’s a big number. If people come to your website on a mobile device and your site isn’t optimized for mobile, they won’t have a good experience. They may have trouble reading content, or they may have to mess with manually making text bigger so they can read it.

Since the start of the year many webmasters have been getting messages like this one:

Google systems have tested “x” pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these “x” pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile friendly by Google search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smart phone users.

So what can you do if your website isn’t mobile-friendly?

There are a few choices. The most thorough way is to create a completely separate site for mobile that takes into account the different characteristics of mobile devices. While such an approach is the best, it’s also the most expensive. Sites aimed at consumers – especially ecommerce sites – may want to take this approach.

If your site is a WordPress site – and something like 2/3 of all websites (and 90% of our clients’ websites) are WordPress sites – there’s an easier approach.

You can switch to a “responsive” theme. A responsive theme will automatically adapt to whatever device it is being read from. It will automatically adjust text size, margins, image size, menus, etc., when being read on a mobile device.

How much effort it takes to convert to a responsive theme depends on how complex your site is — especially the home page design — and whether you have a lot of customization with plugins, etc.

There’s an old saying that the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot, because the shoemaker is too busy making shoes for other people. My personal blog was like that.

I’ve been blogging for well over a decade and the last time I overhauled my blog’s design (and converted to WordPress) was eight years ago. The site was definitely not optimized for mobile, and I got one of those notices from Google.

I finally got around to updating the site this week. It was about an afternoon’s worth of work to find the right theme, switch everything over, change out a few plugins, etc. That was for a simple site – something more complex design-wise could take substantially longer, and could require some graphic design work as well.

You can now read The Neshamah Center on your mobile device as well as your desktop, and Google should be happy with me.

Contact us if you could use some help with “Going Mobile.” And to get you in the mood for “Going Mobile,” let The Who help: