Back in December, I dropped a post about the importance of making your site mobile friendly, so you might be wondering why, just three months later, I’m already dropping another post about making your site mobile friendly. In case you haven’t heard the news, Google has just release their new ranking methods and they specifically impact mobile users. A lot of what I wrote in December still holds true, but here is a list of things you are going to want to keep in mind if you are hoping to make your site more accessible to mobile users.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE FRIENDLY
Analytics: You might not be sure if your readers are even accessing your site through a mobile device. Before you consider overhauling your site and altering your approach, use Google Analytics. It will tell you what platforms users are using to read your site. Google puts this free service out there to make it easy to evaluate your site. Be sure to use it.
Visit Your Site On Your Mobile Device: If it turns out that you are getting a lot of traffic from mobile devices, be sure to always check your most recent posts on your mobile device and try navigating it in the manner that you want your clients to. See if there are any issues or hang ups, and be sure to follow up and address any issues.
Google’s Mobile Friendly Test: If you want to find out what some of your key issues are, just ask Google. Go to Mobile-Friendly Test site, put the URL to your site in the box, and click ‘ANALYZE’. It takes about a minute, but Google will then give you a list of the top three issues your site had. Once you know what they are, you can make adjustments.
Text Too Small: A lot of website are getting penalized for having text that is too small. Most people write their posts in Word or a similar program, and then copy and paste it into their website. The problem is that Word’s default font size is usually set at 11 or 12. When this gets transferred to the website, it becomes even smaller. If you are getting a lot of mobile users, it might be a good idea to increase the font to 14-16. Be careful though. If most of your users are visiting you on home computers and laptops, a larger font size might look awkward for them, and it will also make your page longer, which might make it seem more daunting to read if it is a longer post. If this is the case, don’t worry about mobile users too much, they can always make their screen bigger, but if you are getting a lot of traffic from mobile sites, start using a bigger font.
Links Too Close Together: There can be two causes to this one. The first relates to font size. If your font size is small, it may make it difficult for mobile users to click on a specific link if the font size has made two or three lines as thin as a fingertip. Making your font size bigger will create more space and perhaps address this issue. The other issue may be that you have too many links. Providing hyperlinks is great, as I have discussed in the past, but do them in moderation. If they are too close together, Google may not deem your site mobile friendly.
Uses Incompatible Plugins: This one can be tricky. Certain devices are great at getting conversions, and a lot of people use flash players, which many mobile devices struggle with, so you have to find a balance. If you are getting a lot of mobile traffic, try to avoid too many multimedia interactions, not only because they might not be compatible, but also because they take a long time to load. Crunchifylisted three of the best plugins that make your site mobile friendly, so check those out and see if any of them might appeal to you.
Content Wider Than Screen: This one isn’t typically a problem for most people, but some websites are geared toward businesses and have traditionally designed their website to take full advantage of a wide screen, making the reader’s experience more immersive. With the increase in mobile users, this is no longer a consistently productive approach, though again you should check your analytics to see if this is going to be a problem. If you still want to use the wide screens, use Google’s ‘Configure Viewpoint’ so that your website’s appearance will be determined by the device being used to access it, rather than appearing universally narrow or broad.
Check your Google Analytics, test navigation in your mobile device, and check out Google’s quick and easy mobile-friendly test. See what ever issues you have, and do your best to address them. The changes are pretty detailed, so it is hard to list everything, but if you are looking for further reading, check out George Freitag’s piece on the subject from Portent, or Chris Crum’s piece from WebProNews. And again, as I always say do not rely too much on Google. Changes like these can cause your traffic to nose dive, so you always want to make sure you have traffic coming in from multiple streams.
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