10 years ago, websites weren’t concerned with mobile technology. The ability to access a website on the phone was limited to a few trendsetters of the time. These days, however, everything has changed.
Smartphones and tablets have ushered in a new need to design websites with mobile friendliness in mind. More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet on the go. Web sites that fail to stay up with the latest trends and demands are going to fall behind their competitors.
If you have a website you are creating or updating, the time to get on the mobile train is now. Thankfully, there are several tools available to you to make this an easier endeavor. Google, in particular, has introduced a few simple, automated tools you can use to see how mobile friendly your website is.
Read on to learn all about these simple tools and how you can use them in your web design or update.
Why Mobile Matters
Even though mobile technology is relatively new, its impact is clear. In 2017, there are over 5 billion phone users on the planet, many of whom are using their devices to access the World Wide Web. Mobile technology has made it more convenient to access any web page without being tied to a laptop or desktop computer.
Because of the variety of screens and phone capabilities, websites have had to adapt to these changes. A web page that displays properly on one device may fail to on another. In order for web owners to display their pages to anyone, they have to design their websites with mobile friendliness in mind.
It should be a given that you need a mobile responsive design for your own website. Many people, however, gets confused about how to update their own website. The first step is to assess how mobile friendly your existing website is. This is where Google can help you.
In recent years, Google has changed the way they index and rank web pages on their search lists to accommodate growing mobile trends. This has included dividing up mobile and desktop ranks, meaning a website can perform differently on lists meant for desktops and mobile devices. Your website will have an additional rank you need to be concerned with.
Any rank is going to determine where your website appears on the search list. The higher the rank, the higher the appearance. Web sites that appear near the top of any search list are going to be more competitive because they’re more likely to be seen and clicked on.
It becomes important to rank high on mobile search lists if you want to get clients and web visitors who are using their mobile devices. This is where mobile friendly design comes in. Google has introduced a set of features that will assess and display your website’s mobile friendliness.
By doing so, you can expect your website to perform better on search results in the near future. More importantly, your website will also be more accessible to people of all different mobile devices.
In order to assess your current website’s mobile friendliness, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to determine what parts of the website’s HTML and content add or detract from a mobile friendly design. In the past, this process required a manual approach. Recently, however, Google has introduced an automated API to allow you to do this by yourself.
To use the tool, you will simply visit the test page and input your website’s full URL into the box. After hitting enter, Google will take over and analyze your website for various indicators of mobile friendliness. After it’s done the assessment, it will display the results to you. This’ll process should take no longer than a few seconds.
The web page will present one of three possible results. The test may show up as incomplete if certain elements like images and links prevented the test from finishing. Otherwise, you can expect a definitive label of whether your website is mobile friendly or not.
Making Your Site Mobile-Friendly
The process of making your website more mobile friendly doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know where to focus your efforts. Whether you make the changes yourself or hire a web designer, you should have a good understanding of what needs to change in order to make it all happen.
The first place to look at is the overall design of your website. The mobile responsive design is going to require some changes to the website’s CSS or cascading style sheets. The sheets determine how the website appears inside a browser. Most websites have stylesheets that are static, meaning they don’t change depending on the device and screen size a user has when visiting the page.
The sheets determine how the website appears inside a browser. Most websites have stylesheets that are static, meaning they don’t change depending on the device and screen size a user has when visiting the page.
Changes to this sheet will include altering the dimensions of the overall website, changing text and button sizes, and updating the website’s meta-tags for mobile SEO. There is a slew of tips and techniques you can use to fine-tune the mobile friendliness of your website once you have the basics down.
Get Started Today
Ultimately, it is up to you and your web designer to determine what your website needs to make it mobile friendly. Making the choice to make your website friendly to mobile users is the first step. It is a choice that requires commitment and follow-through in order to reach the final product of a mobile-first website.
Once you’ve made this choice, test your website. Google’s testing platform makes it easy for you to get a basic assessment that you can use to improve your site from.
Finally, once you have a better understanding of where your website needs to improve, make the changes. If you don’t have the necessary experience and skills to do it yourself, most web designers already have a good understanding of mobile first design. Find a designer who is comfortable with making the necessary changes or even starting from scratch with the website’s CSS.