We live in a fast-paced world where continuous technological advancements make all kinds of information easily accessible and available. The desire for instant gratification leaves people constantly hungry for more information and more services, regardless of their location or the type of device they use.
Businesses today must offer customers a seamless mobile experience. A mobile-friendly website can positively impact brand image and sales. What’s more, in 2015, Google started requiring webpages to be fully optimized for mobile use to rank well on mobile search results. Here’s how to ensure your website is accessible on mobile platforms so you can please both the leading search engine and consumers.
If your website is unprepared for mobile-first indexing by Google and other search engines, it will have some serious ranking problems. No matter how stylish and awesome your landing page is, it means little if it’s not optimized for mobile. So how do you convert a website so it’s mobile friendly?
A mobile version of your site can be developed by reorganizing your desktop content elements into mobile-friendly ones. In this case, you’re going to deliver a responsive web design that matches the desktop version. Follow these steps to create this new site design.
When choosing a website template or theme, look for one described as mobile-responsive. E-commerce website builders such as Squarespace or Wix have mobile-responsive themes that are easy to customize. You can also find mobile-responsive themes using WordPress, either through the content management system itself or by using Google to search for “responsive theme + WordPress.” Consider these top website builders and design services before deciding which template to use.
If your current website theme is nonresponsive and does not have a mobile-friendly option, try adding the following code into the
<head> tag of your website pages.
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>
Try this code on a few pages to see if it automatically changes the width of your webpages to match the smart device being used. If not, or if you have a complex website with many separate pages, you may consider updating your template to a mobile-friendly one instead.
Once your site is mobile friendly, you will need to tweak your main page (and subsequent pages) by removing excess content. For example, if you run a salon, the main page of your mobile site should have a simplified form to make an appointment. Other information, such as services, prices and gallery photos, should be on separate pages so as not to conflict with the primary form.
On a desktop website, it may be fine to have several photos, text or forms on one page, but on a smart device, too much information can deter visitors from completing the main task. A simplified main page should emphasize the most important call to action to convert viewers.
The faster your mobile-friendly website can load, the better. Embed videos by hosting them on a third-party site, compress images and dial-down custom CSS code. Slow websites don’t score as well in search engine results pages, which means your competitors can rank higher than you on platforms like Google.
Chances are people are using touch on mobile devices to click buttons, links, etc. Using thumbs instead of a mouse can create unique challenges when designing a mobile-friendly website. These tips and tricks will help.
Lastly, always test your mobile-friendly website regularly to make sure it performs the way you want it to. Running A/B tests and using Google’s free tester for mobile sites can help you stay ahead of your competition.
A mobile-friendly website is also referred to as a “responsive” or “mobile-compatible” website. It means the site is easy to view, use and navigate on a smartphone or tablet. As people gravitate toward their smartphone or tablet for ease of use and portability, they tend to favor mobile-friendly websites that adapt to touch controls and smaller screen sizes.
A responsive, mobile-friendly website means a smooth experience from the user’s perspective. It’s accessible by the same address as a business’s desktop URL and contains the same content, but it adjusts to the reader’s device, providing an uninterrupted user experience. [The best web hosting company can keep your website functioning on both mobile and desktop.]
Investing in a mobile-friendly site can lead to increased e-commerce sales and brand growth. According to Statista, U.S. mobile retail commerce sales were expected to reach $431 billion in 2022. That’s nearly a twofold increase from 2019. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have been shopping from home more often, and that includes shopping done on their phone or tablet. In fact, in late 2021, more than 30% of U.S. e-commerce consumers made a purchase each week using a mobile phone.
Consumers also tend to make repeat purchases from mobile-friendly websites that provide responsive, smooth and painless shopping experiences. Along with additional purchases, consumers are more likely to spend an extended amount of time on your website and tell their friends and family about your company if it’s easy to use on a mobile device.
Making your website mobile friendly is important both for the customer experience and for ensuring your content ranks well on Google. But there are other reasons why optimizing your website for mobile is important:
Google offers a number of helpful tools for companies and website owners, including a free report inside Google Search Console that evaluates sites for mobile friendliness. This Mobile Usability report can help website managers adjust to the latest mobile-search algorithm requirements.
Google has another tool, the Mobile-Friendly Test, which tells you “how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device.” Both of these resources can help ensure you’re providing site visitors a flawless mobile experience while also remaining optimized to rank well on Google.
This is important to keep in mind: A mobile-friendly website is a set of webpages that can be accessed via a browser and adapts its size based on the device it’s viewed on. In contrast, a mobile app is custom software that can be downloaded from various platform marketplaces such as iOS and Android. Both have their pros and cons.
Not every business needs a mobile app on top of a mobile-friendly website. But at the very least, investing in a mobile-friendly website is vital to the growth and sustainability of your business in this day and age.
In 2021, Americans spent an average of over four hours a day on mobile devices, according to a report by App Annie.
It may seem like Google just loves giving website managers more work. Mobile-first indexing, however, is a good change that benefits webmasters, Google users and marketers alike. Updating your website to be mobile friendly will better accommodate how people research information and shop these days and will help them find what they’re looking for faster. An updated website eliminates friction and can increase your company’s conversions and profit. It’s a win all around.
Alexandra Tachalova contributed to the writing and research in this article.