In today's world your site must be mobile-friendly

Is Your Site Really Mobile-Friendly?

Websites used to be simple, right? Write your copy, grab your pictures, optimize the site, publish, and away you go, never to think about those pages again. Today, however, this antiquated system very rarely produces any positive results.

Undoubtedly, many factors and facets come into play when creating a modern website. And we’re not talking about fancy graphics, cool Flash clips, top of the line themes, or even industry standard plugins. We are specifically targeting the types of technology that are used to move around the internet.

As explained elsewhere, the internet is not a means to get somewhere anymore. It is a destination and the way you get to the destination has changed. Whereas a few years ago, many people had home computers in the form of large desktop systems, nowadays, people are connected around the clock through handheld gadgets and gizmos that accompany them everywhere.

Smart phones, tablets, and other devices are the normal way to interact today. The old-fashioned style websites are not going to retain the interest of individuals who are quite eagerly willing to move on to the next piece of information. So, how do you discourage users from leaving your site immediately? How do you encourage the behaviors you require to make your website optimally productive?

The answer is in “Responsive Web Design” (RWD). The website design standards of 2013 must be applicable to all devices. Up until now, though, there has been plenty of misconception surrounding what a responsive design should be. Further, bad information is distributed at breakneck speed regarding website design.

To dispel some of those misconceptions, let us clarify what responsive design is not:

  • It is not simply a conversion of your old site.
  • It is not about adding a line of code to make the site fit into the screen of newer devices.
  • It is not about making the website work for mobile only. In fact, mobile encompasses many designs.
  • It is not about adding a new site or page for every instance of device available.

Contrarily, responsive design is using media queries through CSS3 and HTML5 to direct the site to view correctly for various resolutions, numerous operating systems, and diverse screen sizes.

Viewing Your Site Must Be a Pleasant Experience for Visitors

Most users do not wish to scroll sideways to find information, and often they do not wish to scroll down. They want the required information upfront and center. They want to be able to navigate the site clearly without obstacles.

Likewise, the intent is not to make the old site work in the new medium. You cannot force three or four columns of content into a mobile or tablet screen. The issue is not about resizing, but rather more precisely about offering the right content for the designated screen.

What is key to understand in today's online environment is that the web is dynamic and users flit from one area to another. In fact, areas which are not always websites, but rather, communities or destinations. They don't surf and buy in the same manner as they used to.

  • They might buy because someone sent them to the product from their Facebook page.
  • They might buy because they saw a positive review on Amazon.
  • Price might be the determining factor, since they have a nice price comparison app on their phone.

Potential buyers do not necessarily go to the corporate website to get their buying information or to make their final purchase decision. Other factors now continually impact those decisions.

What all this means to you, as a website owner, and what is key to the successful creation of your online presence is the fact that the internet is a “living entity”. It changes, morphs, evolves, and basically moves from one existence in the morning to another entirely different identity in the evening. Therefore, your online presence must respond to the needs of today's growing internet generation. The design must fit the medium AND, at the same time, the site itself requires continual updating.

Without getting too technical, you will find that our website designs are completely HTML5 and CSS3 compliant.

IMPORTANT: As of April 21, 2015, "Google Search will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in Google Search results. Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results optimized for their devices."

The above quote is from Google themselves (https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/6196932) and what it says is that mobile-friendliness is now a significant ranking signal and if your site does not pass Google's Mobile-Friendly test, it will not be indexed in the Google Mobile Search (which is now separate from Google standard SERP).

However, even though you may think your site is mobile-friendly (i.e. your theme or webmaster told you it was), this is not an automatic pass from Google. For that you also have to pass their own mobile-friendly test.

UPDATE: As of 2021 Google have completely switched over to Mobile-First Indexing.

Check your own site here (opens in new window)

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Without a doubt, to be relevant on the internet today and to ensure that your site is found in all the search results - not just the standard results for computers - your site must be constructed on a fully flexible responsive design framework. It needs to be accessed by your own clients and prospects and must be available to be seen in a meaningful way, on all devices.

Finally, when built, the site framework must have the capacity to further expand and automatically build out, as you add more content over time, and as online systems get more complicated.

If you would like a full professional analysis of your site, please contact one of our specialist consultants for further details.

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