I’ve been busy making old blogs new again, polishing and spiffing them up and getting them ready for the brave new mobile world.
I will address the questions I get most often:
Which businesses really need to go mobile friendly in a rush?
- Local businesses that need walk-ins
- Local service-industry businesses
- Any blog, or site with fresh cycling content on a regular basis.
- Any business relying on traffic from social media.
If you’re one of the above, I can guarantee you’d benefit from getting more mobile friendly.
What does that “mobile friendly” mean exactly?
It means that your website displays well on smaller devices, and does not require any particular-sized view to look good, to work properly, or to accurately convey your content.
Fortunately, the standard on exactly what that means technically has been worked out already. You can find a great little gadget here to test whether or not your site is mobile-friendly right now. If it’s not mobile friendly, someone like me can help you work out how to repair it. It will also show you what your site looks like on the average smart phone on the results page – if it doesn’t look good, that’s a big problem. Whether you try to go 100% mobile friendly, your site ought to at least be readable on small screens. (I see plenty that are not.)
But do I really need to upgrade to being mobile friendly? Does it really matter?
My expert advice is actually irrelevant. Yes, I think you should go mobile-friendly. But what matters is statistics. What needs doing is to take a look at your Google Analytics. Pull a year-long graph of mobile visitors, and their time on site. How easily are they getting around? How long do they stick around compared to your visitors from PCs?
Your statistics will tell you how large a percentage of the people are arriving on mobile devices and how long they stick around… Any statistical drop after April might be related to the update to take sites that aren’t mobile friendly out of mobile search results.
Dig through that data, or have your webmaster send you the PDfs of the graphs, so you can see it. If you have larger than a 15% visitor-from-mobile rate, and you’re not already keeping them engaged at least as long as visitors from PCs, there’s likely a good return on investment in getting mobile friendly.
But, our business on the web is so good right now… can we hold off?
Going mobile friendly only rarely means that you have to take the site back to the drawing board. That’s incredibly rare, so far. Mostly, the visual design needs to be re-worked, and rarely does the content have to change much… but the benefits can be – if you work it right:
- Greater sharability (social media friendliness) as well;
- Slightly better rankings in standard search (due to refresh, cleaner code, faster load times, etc);
- Better engagement with your visitors – longer times on site (faster sites that load well usually do);
There’s just no downside to getting mobile friendly.
Yes, there is sometimes some give and take. You have to stop caring about where page breaks happen. You may have to stop requiring that all images look exactly just so and sit in exactly that particular spot on the page where you want them. Your design needs to be flexible.
But, I’ve been pounding the podium about the importance of not treating a website like it’s a paper flyer for years. Many search engine optimization factors correlate beautifully with mobile friendliness.
This will blow over soon enough. I don’t want to change the site if I’m just going to have to change it again in a few years.
Yup. You certainly will have to update your site again in a few more years. If you don’t, it won’t stay relevant to your searchers. Websites should change regularly, should stay up to date in a dozen ways. Besides, yes, you’ll stop hearing about mobile friendliness eventually… because mobile friendliness won’t be a separate concept soon enough. It’s just going to be a mandatory, necessary part of the site design process. It won’t even make sense to think of it as not a part of every decent design.
We all wander the web from every possible device. From our phones, watches, glasses, computers, TVs… it varies so greatly already, and the variety of devices you can interact with the web on will only grow.
I personally feel every website needs to get mobile friendly now, and some of you need to stop treating your website as if it were a half-dozen half-page print ads – print media is a totally and completely different thing, and the rules that apply to print very often fail to engage people when applied out on the web.
I can help you get this basic website need done, or at least point you to next steps. It’s time.