The Importance of Being Mobile-Friendly


With mobile phones out-selling desktop computers, it’s no wonder that more web searches are being done on phones and that Google has changed the way it ranks websites! It only makes sense that Google gives higher importance to websites that allow easier viewing and interaction. Two years ago, it announced that it would determine a website’s ranking in searches based on the quality of its mobile site rather than its desktop version because more searches were being made on mobile devices. Just this past July, they finally fully transitioned to this form of ranking.

This means that Google bots that crawl the internet constantly ranking sites to offer in any given Google search, will crawl through your website and determine if its performance, content, and user experience is up to scratch for mobile devices. But what does that mean for you? Do you have to make your website mobile-first friendly? Technically no, you don’t have to, but you should if you want to be easily found. Anyone with a website will still have an online presence, but if your site is not mobile-friendly, it will fall far lower in the all-important Google search ranking. With lots of great merchandise, incredible teams, and the fun environment you create in your stores, you deserve to appear high in search ranks! A small investment of your time now can pay off in bigger ways in the future. 

What we’re talking about here is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is a technical term for making your website easily found by all search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing). These engines have criteria for what makes a website a good match for someone’s search and as stated above, one of the most important criteria now is to be mobile-friendly. Now it’s time to look at your websites. 

I know some of you don’t maintain your own websites so here are a few things you can check to see if your website is optimized for mobile viewing. Of course, the easiest way is to ask your webmaster/designer/whoever-built-your-website if they did optimize your website when they built it, but you can also look at your site on your phone and observe:

  1. Does the top of the page (first part of the screen that you see) load faster than the lower part?
  2. Do your images appear appropriately sized?
  3. Is the text easy to read?
  4. Is there enough negative space to allow for a comfortable viewing experience?
  5. Are buttons big enough for people to accurately tap on?

The more yeses you answer to the above, the better the chances are that your website is optimized for mobile. However, it’s still a good idea to check with an expert.

If you discover that your website is not optimized for mobile, there’s no need to worry! I’ve put together some things you and/or your team can do to change it.

If your site was built using a template/theme from a service like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, or Weebly, the solution is pretty simple. Themes are either “responsive” or not. Responsive themes do most of the work of switching between desktop and mobile views. From within your website editor, choose to edit your website using “mobile view” and reposition the text and images accordingly. This way, it’s more of rearranging than redesigning your site. If your theme isn’t “responsive”, you can get a software plugin (see these WordPress plugins as an example) that gives your current website editor the ability to become responsive. Responsive themes tend to load a little slower than others (and Google does consider page load times in its ranking), but in my book, if it simplifies life, I’ll compromise a bit. If your website was custom-built, you will have to manually redesign your site and that is a different article (and probably a different expert needed)!

There are some people who prefer to go a different way by creating a completely different site just for mobile—typically, the URL would be something like m.yourdomainname.com, but fair warning… this creates more work because you’ll have to maintain two sites! Plus, you have to have the savvy to know how to tell Google that your two pages are linked. 

All this is not to say that you should completely ignore the look of your desktop version. Just that you should start all edits with your mobile view.

I’ve given you the most basic and easiest steps to take, but if you need more information, you can visit the Google site here to learn more about their ranking system (also known as indexing). If you’re interested in learning more about SEO (or any other topic) for your business, let me know in the comments below!

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