If you traveled back in time, to a year before 2015, you would see that the mobile browsing experience was far from enjoyable. Most websites were designed for desktop browsing, so they didn’t display properly on mobile devices. That’s why you had to use your fingers to make sections of the website bigger or smaller. Even doing that, it was hard to browse the web on a smartphone.
Thankfully, those days are gone, and mobile-friendly websites are part of the standard browsing experience. It goes beyond keeping up with standards, though. If you don’t have a responsive website, you’re missing out on your share of traffic.
Let’s look at why mobile responsiveness is so important, and learn how to check your site and make changes as needed.
Mobilegeddon – The Update That Changed Everything
Google has long been the digital marketing gatekeeper. Companies and marketers know they have to comply with Google’s strict standards, or no one will see their sites.
Google’s main goal is to provide a good experience for users, and it constantly updates its algorithm to accomplish that. That’s why Google instituted a major change to its mobile ranking algorithm in 2015. Coined “Mobilegeddon,” the update changed website development and mobile browsing
With the update, Google now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites. Sites formatted for desktop browsing are buried in the search results when people search on mobile devices. Early on, that might not have seemed like a big deal. However, mobile browsing is becoming more and more common. In fact, mobile browsing has made up around half of the global web traffic since 2017. That means if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you could end up missing out on half of your potential traffic.
Your head might be spinning a bit with this information. First, let’s take a closer look at what mobile responsiveness means and how you can make sure your site is ready. Then let's find out what you can do to make changes if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.
What Does Responsive Mean?
Responsive website design allows you to create a single site for desktop and mobile users. If you have a responsive website, a system will determine the type of device each visitor uses. Then, the system will reformat the website to display on the device. This ensures that the site is easy to view and use, with clickable items enlarged and easy navigation options.
Mobile responsiveness provides a seamless user experience between desktop and mobile versions of the site. Plus, having a responsive website will help you rank in search results. That’s why mobile-friendliness is a major factor in search engine optimization (SEO).
How to Make Sure Your Site Is Responsive
You know that mobile responsiveness is important, but how do you make sure your site is mobile-friendly? Fortunately, there are tons of free tools you can use to ensure that you have a mobile-friendly website.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is one of the most accessible (and easiest to use) tools out there. You just need to paste your URL into the toolbar, and it will analyze your site. Then, you’ll find out if the site is mobile-friendly. If it isn’t mobile-friendly, the tool will tell you why. You might discover that the text is too small, the links are too close, the content is wider than your screen, or you haven’t set the mobile viewport.
Responsinator is another useful tool. Simply enter the URL into the search box, and then it will display your site on different devices. You can scroll down the page to see how it looks on each device and easily identify any needed changes.
How to Improve Responsiveness
First, follow Google’s recommendations for improving mobile responsiveness. Once you take care of those items, your site should move up in the rankings.
Don’t stop there, though. If you want to improve mobile responsiveness, you also need to optimize your page loading times. Page load times are part of the mobile experience, so you can’t have a fully optimized website until you take care of any issues.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights for this. If your load times leave something to be desired, you can take several steps to fix the problem.
First, you need to focus on optimizing images. If your images aren’t optimized for mobile, it will take your site way too long to load. Tools such as Adaptive Images detect screen sizes and resize images.
Also, you need to consider the website hosting plan you use. If you use a shared hosting plan, your site shares bandwidth with other sites. That can lead to slow load times. Switching to a dedicated server can speed up load times considerably.
You can also increase your page load speed by:
- Caching your web pages
- Enabling browser caching
- Removing unnecessary elements in your code
- Using a content delivery network
- Deleting unnecessary plugins
Examples of Mobile-Friendly Sites
Before you make changes to your site, it’s a good idea to look at examples of mobile-friendly sites. Then you’ll know what direction to go in when you design your site. Shutterfly has one of the best mobile-friendly sites out there. The site has large buttons for easy mobile browsing, gorgeous images that still manage to load quickly, and seamless navigation.
Etsy also stands out when it comes to mobile-friendly websites. The search bar and thumbnails make it easy to find what you’re looking for when you visit the site. It’s also the ideal size for mobile shopping.
These are just two of numerous well-designed, responsive websites. While the sites differ, they all have two things in common. They are easy to navigate, and the necessary information is just a click away.
Get Help With Mobile-Friendly SEO
Mobile responsiveness is one of the keys to your online success. However, it’s also time-consuming and challenging. If you don’t create a mobile-responsive site that meets Google’s standards, you’ll end up getting penalized and won’t reach your target market.