A few years ago whether to worry about how well your site worked on a phone wasn’t much of a topic. Today, that’s all changed. When we look at the web stats of our local small business Customers, we’re commonly seeing 20% to 30% of their web traffic coming from tablets and smartphones.
Making sure your website has been designed with today’s smartphones in mind is critical for two reasons:
- It’s good for your website visitors.
- It’s good for your Search Engine Rankings (SEO)
Your Visitors Will Thank You
With so many people using their smartphones to browse websites, it’s important that when they come to your site, they can easily read and navigate it. Otherwise, they’ll leave.
The way to make your website perform well on mobile devices is called “Responsive Design” and it’s what Google recommends. Essentially, we create one website that can automatically adjust itself for whatever size screen its being seen on: Mobile Responsive. For example, if you check out our website on a phone or on a notebook, you’ll see that there are some important changes that automatically happen:
- The width of the site changes to match the width of the screen you’re seeing it on.
- “blocks” that run horizontally on the page when seen on a notebook screen will automatically stack themselves to fit the narrower smartphone screen.
- The header will change…gone with the horizontal menu bar, hello “menu widget”
- Some content that just doesn’t make sense on a smartphone will magically disappear.
- and more.
In fact, the way someone uses your site when they’re at a computer might be different from how they’d use your website on a smartphone.
For example, if you’re a retail store they might spend time browsing your catalogue from their notebook. However, from their smartphone, they may go to your website to lookup your store hours, directions or perhaps a price.
Understanding how people are using your website on each device helps us to design a website that caters to your Customers.
Making Your Site Mobile Friendly Is Good For Your Search Engine Rankings
At the heart of good SEO is understanding that Google is in the business of delivering the best websites to match what you’re searching for. That means that Google is likely to serve sites that are responsively designed (designed to be mobile friendly) get “added points” in the search engine rankings when people are searching on their mobile phone. An important clue from Google speaks to just that:
“Starting today (July 14, 2014) in our English search results in the US, we will indicate to searchers when our algorithms detect pages that may not work on their device.” (source)
Check it for yourself. Try searching for several different local businesses on your notebook and on your smartphone…you’ll see a different set of search results. One of the factors influencing that is whether the sites are mobile friendly or not.
Mobile web browsing has come on strong. New, faster phones and faster mobile web speeds have made searching and browsing on smartphones and tablets a normal everyday routine.
Does this mean you need to scrap your website and start over again? Maybe. Maybe not. We’ve been able to retrofit many websites with a responsive design. Some Customers’ sites have benefited from a complete reboot. The best next step is to talk to your web designer about what your options are.
If you have any questions on how having a responsive website can help your local small business, we’d be happy to talk options with you.