Google shocker

Don’t panic!

Today is “mobile-geddon” … apparently.

Google is changing the way it ranks websites in search results (again). Now your website needs to be mobile friendly as well as interesting and relevant. Makes sense, as mobile users have now tipped the balance and have overtaken desktop users – eek!

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But what does this mean for your website? Will you have to rebuild the entire thing? Will you be left with NO visitors?

Probably not. Because the increase in mobile users is nothing new and web designers, theme builders and platform makers (the creators behind WordPress, Joomla and other content management systems) have been working on this for years. Chances are, your website is already mobile ready. Responsive website design has been top of the list for most new websites since 2013 and nowadays it’s even taken as a given that a website will be designed with all sorts of gadgets in mind.

What is responsive design?

Responsive design means that the nicely laid out grid your website is built into can move around and resize depending on what size screen it is viewed on. Handy! Most websites use this coding as it means that the lovingly designed website can be seen, read and makes sense on tiny mobile devices without having to be redesigned for every single gadget size.

Drag the corner of your browser in to resize a website page and you’ll see the boxes magically rearranging themselves. Clever stuff.

Is your website mobile friendly?

Google is playing nice this time and have taken some of the guesswork out of this. Scoot over to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and you’ll be able to enter your website address. Google will then analyse it to see if it is mobile friendly enough.

This is what it is looking at >>>

  • The text is too small to read
  • The content is bigger than the screen
  • The links are too close together
  • The mobile viewport not set (which means that your website doesn’t take account for screen size)
  • It’s slow to load

ARGH! Mine isn’t mobile-friendly!!

Well, now is a good time to change this. Let’s just see this as an opportunity to make your website more user friendly and up to date. More mobile users are now viewing your website than desktop users and you could be losing out on customers.

If you are using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal go to your dashboard and see if you need to update your theme or the platform itself (remember to backup your website before pressing update). It might be that the latest version will be responsive.

Find out what theme you are using and look through the documentation for mobile support or responsive, you might have it turned off.

Consider changing your theme to a mobile friendly theme. Most new themes are designed with mobile devices in mind and swapping themes can be surprisingly simple.

Other helpful things you can do…

  • Check out the speed of your website … https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ You will be given some useful hints on how you can improve download times, such as optimising images (shrinking them down) and caching (the browser keeps a handy memory of your website so it doesn’t download from scratch every time) – good for everyone.
  • Make sure that your videos can be viewed on a mobile device, both Android and IOS.
  • Get your phone out and see what it looks like. You can also shrink the size of your desktop viewer to see how it responds to different scale screens. You want your customers to have a great experience on your website no matter how they view it.

 

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