Smartphones went from expensive and exciting technology to a part of everyday life. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably in the majority of people who would find it strange to leave the house without your phone. People are always staring at their phones everywhere you go. For web admins, this means that it is time to ensure your website offers an excellent mobile experience.
In 2016, mobile usage surpassed computer usage, and this trend has only increased since then. Currently, over half of all website traffic happens on smartphones.
Google also announced that it would be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020. This means that Google will only crawl the mobile version of your website. As such, not having a mobile-friendly website is no longer an option. When preparing your website for mobile optimisation, you have to consider both users and search engines. Continue reading to learn more about mobile-friendly websites.
What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
By now, you have already heard people talking about mobile-friendly websites. But what does it actually mean? Mobile-friendliness is about displaying a different version of your website fit for smartphones to give your visitors a better experience. Here are some ways you can achieve this:
- Responsive Design
Your website design must adjust to different screen sizes, regardless of whether you use a desktop, tablet, or mobile.
- Dynamic Serving
Your visitors are shown a different, purpose-built version of your website, depending on the device they are using.
- A Mobile App
Sometimes it is better to have a separate app for your mobile audience.
Responsive design is the bare minimum you should aim for, and it is what Google recommends. It is also the best way to ensure that your website is more accessible.
How to Check if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
You do not need a thousand different devices to test your website’s mobile-friendliness. There are tools you can use to check if your website is indeed mobile-friendly. Developers can also get instructions on what to fix. Here are the tools that you need to use.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
This test tells you how Googlebot sees your pages, and you can use its feedback to build your SEO strategies. If your website passes the test, you will see a green message saying, “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly”. If you do not pass the test, you will get a red message saying, “Not mobile-friendly”. Google’s mobile-friendly test also gives you the reasons why you failed the test.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed insights is also another recommended tool that you can use to test whether your website is mobile-friendly. The tool gives you a lot of information. It will show you screenshots of how it looks on both mobile and desktop and will also give you speed scores. PageSpeed Insights will also give you detailed information about what you should fix, what to consider fixing, and other things that you have done incorrectly.
This is also another excellent desktop tool to run and analyse websites on different mobile devices. Keynote MITE provides free registration, and it is a very detailed tool.
This tool gives you a screenshot of how your website looks on each device. However, it is slow since it has to load your website on each device and take a screenshot.
W3C’s MobileOK Checker
The W3C’s MobileOk Checker tests your website’s markup code for any web standards errors, graphics or image errors, resource sizes, and HTTP errors. The tool also gives you detailed recommendations on what you need to change and how to change it.
Here Are Our Top Tips
If your website is well optimised in Google’s eyes but does not function well for users, your will experience bounce rates and low time on page. Your website may pass all mobile-friendly tests, but it may not create a positive user experience, which you should consider when optimising your website for mobile devices. Begin with a design built for search engines and then optimise it to meet the desires of your smartphone users. Consider the paths that your users want to use to get what they want. Now, it’s about time we outlined the top four tips to make your website mobile-friendly.
Responsive web design is among the newest strategies to approach website design. A responsive web design means that your website can adapt the size and organisation of your content to fit any device used by your audience. This approach leads to better user experience and search engine optimisation value. As technology continues to advance, and the newer devices continue to roll out, it is essential to have a web design that can function seamlessly under any circumstance. Even when a user switches the orientation of their device or alters their system preference to use larger text sizes, a responsive web design will ensure your website looks visually pleasing and operates as it should.
Simplify Your Navigation Menu
If you have already optimised your navigation menu, you are on the right track to creating an excellent user experience. However, mobile devices have a smaller screen compared to desktops and laptops. As such, you should simplify your navigation menu and make it as short and simple to use as possible.
The hamburger menu style has become popular since it takes up less space on the screen and allows your menu items to appear large enough for users to select using their finger quickly. The hamburger menu sits at the top, where you expect to find the main navigation menu. When a user taps the menu, it appears more prominent and clickable. The hamburger icon also converts into an “X,” making it easier to choose what you want.
Optimise Your CTA Size and Location
Call to Actions (CTAs) and other clickable elements on your website help users navigate your website and learn more about what you offer. When it comes to optimising your CTAs, consider the size of your button, how far apart each button is from the others, and their location on the screen. Consider the Gutenberg Principle when deciding where to place your CTAs.
The principle states that users tend to start scanning your content from the top left corner of their devices and zigzag their way down to the bottom right corner. As such, it is ideal to placeyour CTA at the bottom of your content. The bottom also makes it easier for users to reach your CTA using their thumb. The location of your CTA can make a significant impact on user experience and action complete rates. The best thing to do is to make the process as quick as possible for your users. Understand where your uses look to ensure you provide them with options they need when they need them.
Optimise Page Speed
Slow-loading websites are harmful to search engine optimisation, ranking, and user experience. Your desktop website speed differs from your mobile website speed. Google’s PageSpeed Insights can give you an overview of how long it takes your website to load on both desktop and mobile versions. If your mobile website takes longer than three seconds to load, you may experience high bounce rates. This is because most users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
For you to optimise the load time, simplify your design and avoid adding unnecessary images and flashy features since they cause your website to load slowly. PageSpeed Insights will provide feedback on some improvement areas. Optimising your website’s load time will keep search engines and users happy.
Is My Website Mobile-Friendly?
If you built your website within the last few years, your designer must have considered mobile experience. However, ensure you check how your website fares before you put resources into worrying about your website being mobile-friendly. Use the tools discussed above to get quick answers on whether your website is mobile-friendly. If your website requires a lot of work, prioritise mobile-friendliness. This will ensure that your website appears on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and that your visitors will stick around and help you increase conversions.
Also, ensure that you test your website before launching. Try your website on different mobile phones to see how it reacts. This will give you an insight into any changes that you need to make. Remember that launching your website does not mean that it is a finished product. With the constant changes in technology, there are times when you will need to adjust your website. So, ensure you constantly test your website and stay updated with the latest trends, to ensure that you are addressing current problems.
Some developers may opt to create a separate website for mobile versions. However, this means that you will cut out content with essential information like photos and videos. You will have a mobile-friendly website, but with less rich content and uninteresting features for users. Having two separate links with similar content will cause trouble when trying to have content show up.
As mobile use becomes more intertwined with our everyday life, search engines and users expect websites to meet their expectations and keep up with changes. These tips will help you ensure that your website is on the right track towards mobile-friendliness and maximum optimisation. If you need any help, our web design specialists at Marketing Sweet can assist you in this process.