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6 Tips for Building Your Mobile-Friendly Site

Marcel Casella March 1, 2019

Now more than ever, it is imperative that businesses have a mobile-friendly website. Once upon a time optional, it is no longer the case that you can afford the luxury of having a non-responsive site.

You might be wondering why that is, and we are here to explain the reasons for this and give you some pointers on building your mobile-friendly site.

A few years back, Google’s algorithm update knocked down websites that were not mobile-friendly in searches. It was said then that responsive sites would take over the first spots on the Search Engine Result Pages for good, and last year Google finally announced that they were implementing mobile-first indexing.

It comes as no surprise considering that more than half of the population carries out searches using a mobile device. The move falls right along with Google’s policy of providing its users with the best experience possible.

But what is mobile-first indexing?

Google bots typically used the desktop version of a website to crawl, index, and rank its content. Now, more and more users browse the web from mobile devices so, the desktop-first method might not be offering the best results for searches. This is particularly true for websites that have two versions, one for mobile and one for desktop, and they’re very different from each other. Mobile first indexing will consider the mobile version for indexing and ranking. This will improve search results and help mobile users find exactly what they need more easily.

If your site is already mobile-friendly or it’s identical to its desktop version, then it should not affect your rankings. The change just means that if you have two separate versions of your website, crawlers will take the information from its mobile version first instead. However, if the two versions of your site are too different, this change may affect your rankings.

Not having a mobile-friendly site at all significantly affects your site’s potential to generate traffic and leads. This is simply because most searches nowadays are being carried out on mobile devices. Just last year, mobile searches represented 53%.

Considering that conversion rates of people navigating the web on smartphones are 64% higher than on desktops, making your website responsive comes as a no brainer.

What is a Mobile Ready (or Mobile-Friendly) Website?

A mobile-ready website is one that properly displays its content regardless of the device you use to browse it, be it a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop, or that huge smart TV on your living room.

It is also known as mobile friendly when it allows users to experience a seamless interaction on whichever device they choose to navigate on.

How to make a website mobile friendly? Is there a Mobile-ready framework?

Nowadays there are Content Management Systems (CMS) that include website builders with responsive designs. You can use these to create a mobile-friendly site from the get-go. A primary example of this are most WordPress themes. Many of them are designed to be responsive and are founded on frameworks that make non-techies lives easier.

Taking advantage of these ready-to-use tools can help you get a responsive website in no time without having to hire a web developer. However, if you want something more personalized or need to add special features to your site, it’s better to seek the help of a professional.

What are a few tips for designing a mobile-friendly website?

  1. Use text for above-the-fold content. You should include text on the content that people see as soon as the page loads. Doing this encourages people to scroll down and to check what other information is there.
  2. Use responsive design. This will make your website automatically mobile-friendly. A responsive web design results in a site that can be viewed easily on different devices, regardless of the screen’s size. When this type of design is used, the web pages can detect what the user’s screen size and orientation are and adapt the layout for a better viewing.
  3. Google Search Console is your friend. Check if your site works well on mobile devices. If there are any issues, the console’s mobile-friendly test will let you know.
  4. Design your site for mobile first. From there, you can build up to the desktop version. If you do it the other way around, you could have to deal with unforeseen issues or bugs that can appear when designing your site’s mobile version. If you work on the mobile design first, you can tackle those issues at once, and when you have your desktop version, it will be 100% issues-free.
  5. Avoid pop-up windows or notifications. These can be distracting and difficult to close on some mobile devices. People browsing on their phones are usually trying to find information quickly. Having some pop-up window blocking the view of the information they need can send them right to your competitor´s front door.
  6. Follow Google’s advice. Not so long ago, Google used the “mobile-friendly label” to signal those sites who were optimal for browsing on any device. This is no longer the case, but the principles still apply. A page was deemed worthy of the “mobile-friendly label” if it featured the following characteristics:
    • It avoids software that is not common or incompatible with mobile devices. Flash is a classic example of this type of software.
    • It uses a font size that is easily readable without the need to zoom in.
    • Its links can be easily tapped
    • The content is adjusted to the user´s screen, so there is no need to scroll down or zoom.

What percentage of all websites are mobile-friendly?

Back in 2015, Google stated that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results meet the criteria above. But in reality, and considering there are more than 1.7 billion websites live (and counting), there is no way of knowing exactly how many of them are mobile-friendly.

Other important statistics on mobile-friendly websites

  • Nearly 90% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or visit the business within 24 hours.
  • 46% of shoppers are less likely to go to another store when they search and find what they are looking for on their mobile phones.
  • In the U.S., 50% of total e-commerce revenues come from mobile shoppers.

If you haven’t implemented a responsive web design on your website, it is definitely time you start seriously thinking about it. You are literally losing money as you read these lines.

If you don’t know where to begin, contact us to set up a free consultation.

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