In light of the recent mobile-friendly ranking criteria and guidelines implemented by Google back in April, many websites are still wondering if going mobile is really necessary. Currently, over 60% of the website traffic coming from Google from searches to websites is from mobile device users. That means if you do not have a mobile-friendly website, 60 out of every 100 people will never visit your website.
Next, another new update Google launched is localized mobile searches, targeting the locations from where mobile users are conducting their searches. This means if a person is searching for the product or service your business offers and it is detected your business is near their current location, you website receives higher priority in the search results. Add to this the fact that almost 80% of mobile users using their smartphone to find a local business convert into a sale.
Can you easily afford to miss out such a large number of potential customers and conversions? Most business cannot, so going mobile is well worth the time and effort. Converting your website into a mobile-friendly site doubles or triples website and physical store visits and increase your sales.
Four Easy Tips to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Google’s new mobile responsive algorithm was released on April 21, 2105. The new algorithm indexes content on a page-by-page basis rather than the entire website as a whole. This is good news for sites that still need to convert content for mobile users. It allows them to focus their conversion efforts on those pages with the highest number of visits first and then convert lower visited pages later.
The first, and most important tip to converting your website is to find out whether it is already mobile-friendly. Some websites, recently developed in the past year or so, are already mobile-friendly, or only need slight modifications, rather than a complete overhaul. Google offers a free mobile-friendly test application you can download and run on each of your website pages. Remember to record the results of each page you test, as the tool will alert you to problems and issues you need to fix to make the pages mobile-friendly.
The second tip is to decide what mobile-friendly solution you want to implement. There are a wide variety of content management systems (CMSs) with tools to convert website content into mobile-friendly content. CMSs are fairly easy to use and straightforward for those people, who lack the technical background to manually code page content.
Another mobile-friendly solution is to build a new mobile responsive website. While building a new website is a bit more time consuming and expensive than using a CMS, it does give businesses more flexibility and freedom over how their mobile sites and desktop sites work. If you lack the expertise to develop your own website, there are professional web development companies you can hire to do the work for you. You will need to choose between several different site development options, such as:
- Separate Desktop and Mobile Websites: A new mobile website is created for mobile users. The pages can be tied to your desktop site, so mobile users are automatically redirected to the mobile-friendly pages once they arrive at your desktop site’s homepage or other site pages.
- Convert Desktop Website to be Mobile Responsive: With this solution the existing content is updated so the web page automatically detects the type of device being used to access the site content and adjusts it accordingly. The web pages’ URLs do not change and HTML coding is only modified where needed.
- Dynamic Page Serving: The web pages’ URLs remain the same with the page automatically displaying a different version of the page for mobile device users.
Regardless of which solution you choose, the key is to make browsing experiences easy for mobile device users. Take the time to access your web pages from your smartphone and tablet and compare this to desktop users’ experiences. In addition, evaluate the difficulty for mobile users to complete specific actions, like adding items to a shopping cart and checking out of your online store.
The third tip is to not to rush the conversion process. This is where mistakes and errors are made that can easily be avoided. Among the frequently made mistakes, according to Google, these are the top seven:
- Interstitials used with downloadable apps. Avoid blocking the user from seeing the information which led them to your mobile site. Rather, place the app download in a banner at the top of the bottom of the displayed page.
- Unplayable video and audio content. Avoid using Flash and other incompatible media tools. Instead, recode the animation and audio using the correct HTML5 coding.
- Improper cross-linking. This problem is common where there are separate desktop and mobile sites. It is where links point incorrectly to the wrong page versions (i.e. using desktop links on the mobile site).
- Slow loading mobile pages. Page load times have to be fast for mobile users. Use the appropriate Google Webmaster Tool to verify load times and discover tips for resolving this issue.
- Incorrect page redirects. Again, this issue is typical where there are separate mobile and desktop sites. It is where the redirect on each website page on one site points to the same page on the other site.
- Mobile 404 errors. This issue is the result of not using a page redirect for mobile users. Instead of being taken to the correct mobile-friendly page, a 404 error is displayed.
Google offers a wealth of information on common mistakes, how to find them and resolve them, in addition to these seven.
The last tip to ensure you website is mobile-friendly is to track your site rankings from mobile users. You can access this feature through Google’s Webmaster Tools. It also does not hurt to check your competitor’s rankings from mobile users and compare their rankings to your own. Remember to check your search engine rankings on a regular basis, at least once a week, as this will alert you to potential problems requiring your attention.