April 25, 2015

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly?

this site is mobile friendly

See the result on the left? That’s the test result for a site that meets all of Google’s mobile-friendly requirements. This is not really a complicated or arcane issue – it simply means that when people browsing the web on mobile devices such as iPhones get to your site, the layout is such that your site can be navigated and the content can be read easily, despite the small screen.

How important is it to be mobile-friendly?

Quite simply – it’s critical. More than half of all web searches are now made on mobile devices. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then it will be punished by Google. How? – by being ranked very poorly so that most searchers will simply never see it when they get their search results. It’s no good being in position six on page three – most people never get past page one! Whatever your business, if your site is not mobile friendly, then you are losing money. Even if people do somehow find your site, they’re going to elave fast when they can’t navigate it easily to find what they need.

How do I test to see if my site is Mobile-Friendly?

That’s easy – Google has made it easy with a free tool. Just go to this siteand type in your site URL and Google will do the test for you.

What are the main characteristics of a Mobile-Friendly Site?

The Key characteristics are:

  1. The page re-sizes to include a navigation menu that fits – this is usually completely different in appearance to the full-size version
  2. The font sizes are still large enough to be read on a very small screen
  3. The ‘tap targets’ – clickable text or images – are spaced far enough apart to be easily usable
  4. The contents are not wider than the viewers’ screen

Those are the key points – and if you have browsed sites that don’t meet those basic requirements, you will appreciate why Google has decided to demote them!

What are the Other Mobile Friendly Factors?

The following site characteristics are also very important for pages served on to normal sized PC screens, but may be even more critical on mobiles due to the fact that the communications infrastructure may be slower at times and therefore the pages will need all the help they can get to load quickly!

  1. Slow loading pages – pages should generally load in 2s or less. Therefore, you need to control all aspects of page design
  2. Images must be optimized – i.e saved in an economical format such as JPG so that they load quickly
  3. Javascript and CSS must not delay the loading of visual content in the top half of the page i.e. ‘above the fold’.
  4. Flash content – this simply will not play on most mobile devices

Where Can I Get a Detailed Technical Test of My Site?

GTMETRIX will run a complete test on your site for free, and give you a report you can use with your developer. Otherwise, if you have access to Google Webmaster for your site, you can also run tests there.

My Site Failed the Test – How do I make it mobile friendly?

Good question! It depends on how your site is built. Most of mine are built with WordPress, and I use mobile-friendly themes, so there’s not a lot to do. If your site is built ground-up in html, then you need a developer to overhaul it for you – which can be expensive! If you need a bit of advice, send me your URL and I’ll have a look for you. Otherwise, a quick search on the web will direct you somewhere you can be helped.

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