Mobile is everywhere. Literally.
The ability to take your phone up the top of a mountain, find the website of a nearby restaurant, and reserve a table without having to use the original feature of a mobile phone is not a one-off, but a regularity. We all admit we would much rather avoid direct human interaction sometimes, hence why the internet is so prevalent!
It is for reasons like this, that mobile optimisation is such a vital feature of any modern business. If you are a florist in High Street Kensington or a Law firm based in New York, mobile is crucial to service the needs of those looking for a quick and local romantic gesture, or a swift and efficient divorce.
Website Mobile User Statistics
Optimising for mobile goes far beyond merely having a quick and responsive site, it’s ensuring your content and layout is suited to mobile users and adapts to geographical searches and the location of the person searching. Only last month Google’s VP of Marketing for Americas, Lisa Gevelber, wrote on the importance of mobile search and the impact of ‘near me’ to search engines.
As the mobile search statistics make clear, the rise in mobile usage has led to 51.77% of all global internet traffic coming from mobile devices, up nearly two percent from this time last year.
Is my site mobile friendly?
There are two primary variables that you can start with when ensuring your site is optimised for mobile, these include a mobile-friendly test and page speed insights. It is relatively simple to see how your website is performing and multiple tools can show you the pros and cons of your site. Although obtaining this report is simple enough, the work to fix any issues is usually much more complicated than the average business owner abilities, and it is advised to work alongside people with experience in this area. To get the most basic overview of your site, you can use the ever reliable Google. Go to google and search “is my site mobile friendly” and you’ll be presented with a box similar to this:
Go ahead and type in your domain name, and hopefully, you’ll be rewarded with an image like this:
This display is a good indication that, on a surface level, your website is in a good enough position to serve users from a technical point of view. However, for slightly more insight, the Page Speed Insights tool from Google allows you to see further details and optimisation suggestion from Google itself, split into mobile and desktop recommendations.
Now you are presented with a long list of technical fixes that, unfortunately, your average joe won’t be able to accomplish. Understanding and making sense of the problems requires someone with expert knowledge while solving them can take weeks or months depending on the severity. Our technical SEO services can provide you with the detailed reasons behind any issues, including mobile, and create a personalised plan of action.
While this speed indication from Google is a good start, it is likely that this will change depending on the type of device accessing the content and the browser used to access said content. So take time to test as many variations on browser and device combinations as possible.
Technical Approaches for Mobile Websites
From a technical point of view, it is difficult to suggest one method that works for all, as different businesses will require different services and strengths. That said, here are a few obstacles almost everyone will run into.
Mobile Site Configuration
One of the most vital decisions you will make is on the configurations of your site. There are three to choose from, and all of them contain their pros and cons. This image from Moz is excellent for a quick understanding of these.
Perhaps the most popular choice is responsive design, which uses media queries to deliver the same content to users on mobile or desktop, but adapts and resizes it based upon the screen size and orientation.
User Approaches for Mobile Websites
Once you’ve made it easy for Google to use, think about the actual user experience. Don’t forget about the user; there is no point in the site being technically perfect if it’s near impossible for your user to navigate. Simple tips are:
Don’t Use Flash
This plugin is not available on the majority of user phone, and they will most certainly miss your audience grabbing visuals. Instead, use HTML5 to create any special effects.
Finger Sizes Vary
The amount of times I have struggled to navigate through a mobile-site due to links being impossible to pick out individually from a vertical list of 20 or so, brings me to tears. Ensure buttons are the correct size, easily distinguishable not crammed together and well located on the page.
Pop-ups should ‘Pop off’
They may be great for your marketing strategy, but they are a simple deterrent on mobile. Google has also started pushing websites with these features further down their mobile rankings. The fact that pop-ups almost never fit comfortably on the screen and can be impossible to close leads to users leaving the site (check your bounce rate) before they have had a chance to do what was needed! That is not to say all pop-ups should never be used, but there are specific guidelines that really should be adhered to.
Make the most out of WordPress for Mobile
This process is much more straightforward on a CMS, such a WordPress, as there are numerous plug-ins available. So many, that various plugins provide functionality for increased mobile compatibility. A few of the most popular plug-ins for this are W3 Total Cache and Duda Mobile, which can be used alongside plugins that minify HTML and CSS. It is always important however to keep track of what each plugin changes as unexpected errors can sometimes occur and cause formerly perfectly functioning areas of your site to misbehave due to potential compatibility/command issues.