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Why You Must have a Mobile Friendly Website in 2017
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The use of smartphones and tablets for accessing the internet is consistently increasing. What does this mean for your business?

As we all know more and more people are using their smartphone and tablets to explore the internet for everything from shopping, to news to cute cat pics.

If you’re not convinced of the popularity of mobile, I’ll let the numbers tell the story. As of the end of 2015:

“68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45% among adults… smartphone ownership is nearing the saturation point with some groups: 86% of those ages 18-29 have a smartphone, as do 83% of those ages 30-49 and 87% of those living in households earning $75,000 and up annually.” October 2015 report from Pew Research Center

Why A mobile-friendly Website Is Important for Your Business

Google is well aware of the mobile use trend and has decided to create an entirely new search index that is focused on mobile search in the coming months  - if you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of this effort, check out the entire article.

One of the key factors that Google uses to determine if a site is mobile-friendly.  

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There are two strategies for creating a mobile-friendly Website.  

The first strategy is to have a site that is responsive.  

A responsive site means the code on the site is created to sense and respond to the size of the browser viewing the site and present a site that is optimized for the browser.  

In a responsive site, the information will look different than on a desktop.   With a mobile responsive site, the pages will look slightly different on different sized screens (such as phones, tablets, and other mobile devices).

This is because the browser window sizes are different and the site responds by presenting the content in a way optimized for that device. Simply put, you can't view information the same way on phone screen as you can on a laptop. A responsive site compensates for this and adjusts the screen so a viewer can see the information in the best way possible.  

This is a good strategy for most sites as the maintenance effort is lower once the site is created (you only have to maintain one site).

The second strategy is to build a mobile dedicated site that is written specifically for smartphones.  When someone visits a site with a dedicated mobile site, the visitor will be redirected to that mobile site.  

This is a good strategy if your business has an offering that appeals to mobile users and you have the resources to maintain two sites.  

Of course, if so much of your business is from mobile users you should consider creating an App, but that is a much larger investment in time and funds.  

Both strategies have their pros and cons, but they are done well they will both get you where you need to be in regards to being mobile-friendly.

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How To Determine if Your Site Is Mobile Friendly Enough

Google has taken steps to help website owners improve their website so that they are not broadsided by this focus on mobile sites.  Here are some of the steps Google has taken.

1 - Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) project 

This is an open source project that aims to make loading content to mobile better for everyone. The goal is to be able to load mobile optimized content to your site once, but have load instantly and look great on all devices.

2 -Page Speed Insights

Google has created a tool to measure if a website is mobile-friendly in regards to the content and speed of the mobile site.  

Before I give you the URL for the tool, do not panic if your site has a very poor score (you receive a score between 1 and 100 and you want to be closer to 100).  There are strategies that can mitigate a low mobile score.  

Ok, now that you have promised not to scream when you see a low score, here is the URL - https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Screenshot 2016-12-10 at 7.29.12 PM.png

If you notice, they have a new mobile test you can “try out.”  To me this translates as “try out our beta product.”  If you try out the tool and you get a nice green like this click on the “submit to Google” link to add your mobile site to their index.  

It doesn’t indicate if your site is being added to their new mobile index, but it cannot hurt to submit your site if you receive a good rating.  

Note:  If your page is https make sure you include that in your URL on the new testing tool.  A word of warning, I received a robots.txt blocked message when I just typed in our URL and submitted it without the protocol information (i.e. “breezyhillmarketing.com”).  

I was successful when I added the Https:// (i.e. https://breezyhillmarketing.com) so make sure you include the HTTP:// or Https:// before your URL).

If you received a low score here a few strategies to help increase your score.  

I listed the alternative starting with easiest first leading up to most complicated and time-consuming:

  • If you received a low score because of your site’s speed, then you can contact your hosting vendor and see if they can help you out.
  • If the hosting vendor cannot help then check with your website vendor (assuming you have one) and send them your test results (just copy and paste the URL from the Google Tool after you run your test and ask them how you can make your site mobile-friendly.  
  • Contact a few web design/build companies and tell them you need a site that is mobile-friendly and see what they say.
  • Create a new website on your own using a service like SquareSpace (full disclosure, Squarespace is one of the platforms we use to design and build sites for our clients).  
  • Squarespace allows you to create a site that is fully responsive and can be fast if you build your site with speed in mind.

Note: there are companies that make dedicated mobile sites.  I have mixed experience with them, and the process of getting mobile traffic to redirect to a dedicated mobile site can be complicated to set up, so I didn’t include them as one of my strategies.

 

Why is SquareSpace Such A Great Choice for Your Website?

Five Things We Love About SquareSpace for Web Design

In summary, if you don’t have a mobile site it isn’t the end of the world - yet! 

If you start planning now, you can prevent any hit to your organic rating and maybe gain some ranking on your competition that didn’t read my post (poor them...not).

Please comment below with any questions, and I’ll try to respond quickly.

Cheers,

Jeff 

Breezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont web design company. We build beautiful, optimized websites for our customers in Vermont and throughout the greater United States. We also specialize in marketing strategy, inbound marketing, and social media marketing.

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