Mobile Friendly Websites
What makes a website mobile friendly? Well, if you go to a website on your smartphone and can read it and navigate through it to find what you want, then it’s mobile friendly. But what does Google think? You can have Google check any website almost instantly at this link:

How important is it to have a mobile friendly website?
It certainly depends on what your website is for and the type of business or organization it represents. The more the website is relied on the more important it is to make sure it’s mobile friendly.

There are two reasons for a mobile friendly website. The first is to provide a good user experience. If you want customers, or potential customers to easily use and possibly purchase items or contact you then it’s important to make it easy for them. If you rely on people finding your website through search engines then it’s especially important starting April 21, 2015. That’s the day when Google changes their algorithm to favor mobile friendly websites in search rankings.

Now will search rankings be affected?
Google’s announcement earlier this year explains that they are expanding use of mobile-friendly websites as a ranking signal. Basically this means that mobile friendly websites will rank higher than before and non mobile friendly websites will rank lower. I’ve heard some internet experts say that if your website is not mobile friendly it will not show up at all in search results on mobile devices. I’m not sure that’s exactly true because it’s not stated that strongly in Google’s announcement.

Mobile Friendly and Responsive Web Design
The term Responsive Web Design means that a website is designed to be easily read and used on any size screen. From mobile phones to tablets to large screens on desktop PCs, the website should respond by adjusting and rearranging the contents of the website to make it presentable and easy to read and easy to navigate through. You can test this on various devices, but you can also test it by changing the size of your browser window on a large screen by grabbing one side of the window and making it narrower, then wider again. If the website is responsive you should see the contents moving around, and the absence of a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom. If that scroll bar appears then the site is not responsive and not mobile friendly.

Here’s an example of a non mobile friendly website. Notice that most of the content on the right part of the website is cut off and there’s a scroll bar at the bottom. non mobile friendly website example

Below is an example of a mobile friendly website (our own site). Notice that there’s no scroll bar at the bottom and all the contents show in a single column. mobile friendly website example

What to do if your website is not mobile friendly
It’s not a simple matter of a few simple tweaks and you’re done. A mobile friendly site needs special specifications which are inserted when using website building tools that can build mobile websites. Often times it may be much easier to start from scratch. I’ve converted many websites to mobile friendly sites and in every case I’ve created a new website using the contents of the old site. The end product might look a little different, especially when converting sites that use a lot of flash, but they sure are better than their old non mobile friendly versions.

If you’re interested in converting your existing website to a mobile friendly site please feel free to contact me.

Jeff Meland

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