The times, they are a-changing. The days of having a simple, straightforward website is long gone, it seems. Increasingly, companies are having to keep up with the trends and changes being rolled out on the internet in order to maximise their viewability and usability. Google are at the forefront of most of these changes, and have been for as long as they’ve dominated the world of online searches. In April 2015, they set about boosting their mobile-friendly algorithms for web searches and website viewing, and have a second key update planned for May 2016, with the aim of encouraging business to make their websites as mobile-friendly as possible.
What does this mean? Well, if you haven’t checked to see if your company’s website is mobile friendly – that is, easily viewable and browsable on a mobile device, phone or tablet, you need to get your act together quickly and start making some changes. If you are unsure as to whether or not your site passes Google’s latest criteria for mobile-friendliness, then check out their Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool and find out for yourself today. The success of your business may well depend on it.
Why is it so vital to have a mobile-friendly website?
If you think this isn’t very important, then think again. Google have begun transforming the way their search engine (now the most widely used website on the entirety of the internet) works. As such, if an individual is searching for two similar businesses, and one of those businesses has a mobile-friendly website and the other does not, then the mobile-friendly site will have a considerably higher ranking. Appearing as close to the top of a google search page as possible is a key factor for any business – this sort of visibility is something people pay good money for – and if you are missing out due to these new changes, well, you’ll have to get your act together quickly.
The simple fact driving all this is that the way people search for information is something which is constantly evolving. Since the advent of smart phones and tablets a few short years ago, fewer and fewer people are using laptop or desktop computers to browse the internet, and for many people, the majority of web browsing is happening on the go. This can be seen on any bus or train in the country, and in cafes, airports and on the high street – people are glued to their mobile devices, either to kill time on social media, catch up with the latest news, or to gain specific information.
If your business does not yet have a mobile friendly site, the chances are, your ability to reach out to your target audience, customers or clients is being reduced. Think of how advertising messages spread; they can be passed by word of mouth, from one person to another. They can be picked up through traditional advertising methods, such as billboards or flyers. Perhaps they’ve come directly from your shop, headquarters, or from a representative of your company. If your customer wishes to find out more information quickly, or follow up on something they’ve seen or heard, the likelihood is they’ll whip out their smart phone, and quickly google what they need to know.
Get yourself to the top of the search page
Now, if you’re not up-to-date with a good, mobile-friendly website, you not only aren’t going to be near the top of any search results, but also you’re going to be frustrating your potential clients with a badly-loading, badly-fitting website, which isn’t going to fit properly on their mobile device. You’ll be putting people off before they even have an opportunity to see what you offer.
Making your website mobile-friendly isn’t necessarily a difficult process. If you approach it from the perspective of a customer or browser, then you’re going to know what is going to work, and what isn’t. Most web design professionals nowadays would advise you to go for what is called ‘responsive’ design – essentially, a website which automatically adapts itself to fit onto the screen of the device it is being viewed on.
This will ensure nothing is cut off, everything is in proportion, and your clients and customers can see what they need to know, and press and click happily as they navigate your site on their mobile. There are other options available, but seeing as google prefers responsive design, it would seem nonsensical not to follow this lead.
Get ahead of your competitors with a mobile-friendly website
The most important step to take when making your website mobile friendly, either by yourself or with the help of one of many available tools and templates, is to test, then test, and test some more. There are many, many things which can potentially go a little wrong, and while these may not seem significant to you, again, you have to approach it from the perspective of a customer.
The internet has made business monstrously competitive – a small fault or non-running page or video on a mobile site could prompt the viewer to simply click their ‘back’ button, and try a different, competing site. As such, it’s of vital importance you’re viewing your mobile-friendly site on as many devices as possible, and clearing up any faults or niggles that arise along the way.
So, if you’ve been putting off building a mobile friendly website for some time, you no longer have any excuse. Your competitors have mobile-friendly sites, google is essentially demanding that all listed business have one, and your customer base is expecting to be able to find the information they need, whenever they need it, be that at home or on the go. Mobile devices are the present and the future, and now is the time to get cracking, and give your business a chance to enter the latest age of mobile internet technology.