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April 2, 2018

No more crummy mobile sites! How responsive design just became mandatory.

It's 2018, folks, and most of your customers are using the internet on their phones. Mobile-friendly web design has been around for a few years, and it continues to get more important every year. Making a website look good on every screen, from a little iPhone to the big monitor on the conference room wall, is really challenging! There are a few different ways to approach mobile design, but if you're a small business owner and not a developer, learning about all those methods is probably a waste of your valuable time. So, here are the things we think every website owner needs to know about mobile design and why it's so important for your business.

How Google just changed the mobile website rules.

If you want your website to rank (show up in Google searches) you now have to provide a good mobile experience for your users. That's because Google is now indexing the mobile version of your website as the official version. When Google crawls your site (reads it with software "robots") they save all the information from the website into their index. When you enter a search in Google, that index is where Google goes to pick the sites that will show up as the answer to your search. The goal of SEO is to make sure that the information Google indexes about your website is the most relevant- that it answers the questions your customers are asking Google. Many mobile websites have less information than their desktop counterparts, because it can be difficult to fit as much information on a smaller screen. But, if Google is going to index the mobile version of your website as the "official" version, all the great stuff on your desktop site is going to be a waste.

Responsive design gives every user the same experience.

Our preferred solution for the problem of mobile friendliness is called "responsive design." A responsive site is one that can be displayed beautifully on any size screen. On a responsive website, there is only one version of the website, but the elements on each page move around and resize to fit the size and shape of the screen.

Is my website mobile-friendly?

Not sure if your website passes the mobile test? Here are a few things to look for:

  1. When you go to your website's home page on a mobile phone, is the url (web address) the same? If your url on a mobile phone is something like www.mysite.com/mobile/index.html, you have a separate mobile site. It's time for a redesign!
  2. When you visit your website on a mobile phone, does the site move "side-to-side"? Do you have to move the site around with your finger to see the whole screen? Are pictures or text being cut off, because they don't fit on the mobile screen? If so, your site is not responsive. It's time for a redesign!
  3. Does your website have the same content on both mobile and desktop? Does it look like the same website, or are there things missing from the mobile experience? Your customers should get the same experience on your website, no matter what device they are using. If not, it's time for a redesign!
  4. Look at your website's main menu. Does the mobile version of your site have the same menu options? If not, it's time for a redesign!

Your website's mobile design doesn't have to match perfectly with the desktop version. Sometimes it's smart to simplify things a little bit for a smaller screen. However, if your mobile users don't have access to the same content your desktop users are getting, it's time for a new mobile strategy. Otherwise, the less robust version of your site will be the "official" Google-indexed version, and that can really hurt your SEO.

Does your mobile website need an upgrade? Contact us today!

About the Author

Kate Rodriguez

Kate is a digital strategist, designer, and branding enthusiast. She can usually be found working on her laptop with one or more of her dogs near her, cooking elaborate meals, or talking lovingly to one of her many plants.