Mobile-Friendly Websites. Will Yours Pass the Test?

  • Heather Greene Powell
  • 03 Apr 2015

Although the whispers started a couple of years ago, in early 2015 Google announced a new algorithm to target non-mobile-friendly websites. Since mobile web surfing has outpaced desktop surfing in recent years, they felt it was time to stand up for the little guy (or actually, the little screen). Google states that non-mobile-friendly websites may be strongly impacted in mobile search results; however, they haven’t yet specified desktop results. I’m guessing that can’t be far behind.

How do you know if your website is mobile friendly?
First of all, if you have a mobile device, check it out. Yes, this is a no-brainer, but believe it or not, a lot of people never look at their own websites after they launch. Is your text too small to read without zooming? Does your site use Flash? Is your portfolio swipe-friendly or was it built with mouse-over functionality? This is a long and non-scientific way of testing your site, but I want you to consider all that mobile-friendliness entails. Now, go type your website into Google’s handy Mobile-Friendly Test to get all this info much easier.

What if my site is not mobile friendly?
To go mobile-friendly, you have two options, but it’s likely your situation that will dictate which one you choose. There are pros and cons to both, but not having a solution to address the mobile phenomenon is all cons. Keep reading for a little more info on each of these solutions and then decide what fits your need.

Responsive Website
Responsive sites are usually considered the best because they work well on small, medium, and large monitors, and are likely to work with whatever changes are in the near future. They require less maintenance because you’re only updating one site, using only one URL (better for search ranking), and are quickly becoming the new standard. However, if you have a larger website and are lacking in funds, going responsive isn’t always an option. Many earlier sites were built in a way that makes them expensive or even impossible to make responsive without a complete rebuild, and they can be a bit more restrictive from the design aspect.

Stand-Alone Mobile Websites
If your site is not that old or you simply don’t have the budget to go with a rebuild, consider a mobile stand-alone site. Although there are a few disadvantages, a stand-alone site can get you into the mobile world faster and less expensively. Plus, they can be restructured to deliver a unique experience specifically designed for mobile. A stand-alone mobile site will require you or your web company to maintain two sites, but unless you make a lot of changes every month, this may not be a significant drawback.

Funds or Function
Before going with the least expensive option, you should consider this: If your website has not had an overhaul in several years, it probably needs updating for a number of reasons. Not only do design styles change but coding languages, functionality, and browsers change often as well. User-experience is an important part of any website. With so many competitors, don’t give visitors a reason to leave just because your site is slow, hard to read, or just outdated.

As you can see, having a mobile friendly website is important and choosing the right type can be a little tricky. You need to put some thought into your situation and what will work best for you, or you can always contact us at RT Marketing.