Is my current website mobile friendly?
A simple check, like Google’s Mobile-Friendly page test can help you determine if your website's pages are considered mobile friendly in their eyes. If some or none of your pages pass the test, it also gives you insight as to what resources had issues loading and possibly caused viewability problems on mobile devices.
So your website has passed a mobile friendly test, what does that mean? Well, the good news is that Google and possibly other major search engines are going to most likely see your sites pages as mobile friendly. However, there is a major flaw in these tests, and in actuality, this flaw is what makes a webpage mobile friendly. To pass a mobile friendly test, all the web page needs to do is fit all of its elements within the viewport of the mobile device, viewport being devices visible screen. Some of the web pages pictures may not load, TEST PASSED. Your CSS file fails to load and the page has no styling, now the user is just staring at words and links on a white background, TEST PASSED. My point is simply this, crappy and broken websites can pass a mobile friendly test.
What makes a truly mobile friendly website?
A true mobile friendly website revolves completely around User Experience. While there is a technical side to what makes a website mobile friendly, we aren’t going to cover that here as this blog isn’t about how a mobile friendly website is made, but more the importance of having one that works, and it’s direct impact on your business. This is a matter of professional opinion, but a mobile friendly website must meet all of the following criteria to be considered truly mobile friendly.
- All visible web page elements must scale to a proper proportion depending on the width and height of the screen on the user's mobile device. These devices include anything you can pick up and take with you, phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
- The website's pages should load quickly on both mobile and desktop devices. This helps ensure that your web pages will load in a reasonable amount of time even if the user has a less than optimal internet connection. There are several reputable tests to use, but I prefer Google’s Mobile Page Speed test. After all, they are the ones that determine where your website ends up in search results.
- The website functions normally and has been tested across multiple browser types. Desktop and mobile browsers handle the rendering of web pages differently between each other, so it’s crucial that your web developer tests this to ensure consistency between users browser preferences.
- Your website's HTML should pass all W3C validation tests. I mention this a lot in my blogs because I truly believe in its importance, and it applies here yet again. Proper markup ensures consistency in rendering across browsers by following a coding standard both now and in the future. If your website has HTML markup errors, your developer was either lazy or stupid, possibly both. You can read more on the importance of this in the 5 Things to Know When Hiring a Web Designer or Developer blog.
- Your web pages and their navigation must be easy to use and intuitive no matter what device. Make it as easy as possible for users to find what they are looking for on your website.
- Have a website design that appeals to users on both desktop, and mobile devices. As pages shrink for mobile screens, your website's design should continue to incorporate key elements and branding. While it is very acceptable to hide certain elements of a webpage on mobile devices, be sure that your key content and conversion points are easily accessible.
How does having a mobile friendly website affect my business’s bottom line?
As of 2016, more than half of the users on the internet are using mobile devices or tablets. Why is this important? Well, depending on the type of business you run, it is likely that more than 75% of people are searching for products or services related to your industry online before deciding who and where to do business. If your website cannot accommodate or satisfy over half of those people which would be mobile users, that is most likely business lost to a competitor.
With that in mind, let's just cover the topic of potential customers being able to find you. Yes, we’re talking about SEO. We already know that Google gives preferential ranking to sites that are mobile friendly vs ones that are not. This means that if your website isn’t viewed as mobile friendly, that search engines will most likely give a higher search ranking to a competitor that does. Google may not even display your website in a mobile search result if it doesn’t meet their mobile friendly standards. How are people going to choose your business if they can’t even find you?
Let’s face it, we live in a technologically advanced society, with over 90% of the US population owning a mobile device, many even own multiple. If your business doesn’t have a mobile friendly website, you're missing out on gaining a large portion of potential customers, which absolutely affects your business’s bottom line. Get Mobile, Get Found!
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