More and more of us own a smartphone. We sit on the train in the morning, or while we’re having our morning coffee at Starbuck’s or Costa, texting our business associates, friends and potential customers or surfing the net for the latest news or make a quick purchase.
The truth is that many people nowadays access the internet, engage with social media and buy products whilst they are on the move. And while your website may look great on the big screen of a desktop computer, if it doesn’t look just as good on a mobile device then you are potentially missing out on a whole host of business.
In particular, there are quite a few posts out there at the moment that are espousing a message of doom and gloom for those who don’t have a mobile version of their website and how it will affect their Google ranking. At The Last Hurdle we like to share the facts and make sure you have the information at hand for ensuring your website is mobile friendly. Yes, you do need to ensure your website looks good on a mobile device.
And yes, it is pretty easy to do.
Google Update Mobile Friendly Websites
Let’s start with a few facts about our much loved mobile phones and why your business should be interested:
- In the UK alone there are over 83 million mobile phones, staggering when you consider that our population is just a little bit more than 64 million.
- The average active internet user now spends over 4 hours a day using some area of the net, whether it’s for work, social media or online shopping.
- Last year, the smartphone share of internet usage leapt by a staggering 39% as Wi-Fi connections and innovations such as 4G promised to keep us connected wherever we were.
- The share of website views on desktops and laptops is decreasing rapidly. Smartphones hosted a 72% share of website visits worldwide in January of this year.
- Ecommerce is beginning to become the norm for many countries, not least in the UK where we have the biggest percentage (64%) of the population who like to shop online.
- According to Ofcom, in the first part of 2014 over 57% of us used our mobile handset to access the internet. That figure is rising rapidly.
With more and more of us using our mobiles, SMEs need to grab the bull by the horn and make sure their websites display properly on these small touch screens. The great news is that it’s not a difficult thing to do.
How to check if your website is mobile friendly
Google has put together a list of criteria that are designed to help webmasters ensure their pages are good enough for mobile. This includes be aware of the following:
- Try to steer clear of software that isn’t widely used on mobiles – for instance, there are still issues with using Flash on iPhones.
- Make sure the text can be read without zooming and opt for a mobile program that avoids having to scroll sideways or zoom in.
- Links should also be positioned apart from each other so that someone tapping with their finger can easily access the one they want.
It’s easy to check if your website works well on a smartphone by visiting Google’s webmaster tools at the following link. Simply type in the URL of your website and Google will test how it performs on a mobile phone.
If you don’t pass the test it’s actually quite an easy problem to rectify. If you are on a platform such as WordPress you can add any one of a number of free add-on’s that will convert your site so that it looks good on the small screen. Other website platforms offer similar tweaks to the coding to make sure you are visible. And Google also has a part of their site specifically dedicated to making websites more mobile friendly which is full of lots of useful information.