If you jumped through the time and space continuum and are reading this from 2014, you have no need to give your website a mobile friendly website design. You still have as many visitors coming to your page on their desktop computer as you do from mobile devices like cellphones and tablets.
However, if you are among the majority of the population with your feet soundly in the year 2016, your primary focus should be creating a mobile friendly website design. As of 2014, the number of online users accessing websites from mobile devices exceeded the number of desktop users, and that trend continues to steeply incline. Now, most of your online visitors are reaching you via their cellphones and you need to be ready for them.
It is bad for business if your web design is not mobile friendly. Having a mobile friendly website design is so important now that if your website takes more than a few seconds to load on a cellphone, your visitor will abandon it. The number of times visitors abandon your website is one of the factors that Google uses to determine if your site is worth ranking in their search results (this is called “bounce rate”). Also, Google has an algorithm that tests your website’s mobile-friendliness and uses it to rank websites.
Your website visitors are more likely to come from Google than any other source, and so SEO is a big freaking deal.
“What is SEO?” you ask. SEO (or “search engine optimization” for long) is the science of catering to the algorithm that Google uses to rank websites to bring traffic to your site. In our current mobile-fanatic culture, mobile friendly website design and SEO go hand-in-hand.
So if you’re wondering how to improve your mobile friendly website design and please the Gods of Google, you came to the right place. Stand by for four commandments of SEO-happy mobile web design:
- Thou shalt not create a separate website for mobile users.
Google does not like redundancy. When you create a separate mobile site, Google sees double the content and docks you points. This is like taking two steps forward, and then two steps back.
- Thou shalt make your website responsive.
A responsive website can scale the size of the pictures and content depending on the device accessing it. This pleases the Gods of Google by making your site both mobile friendly and not redundant. If this is outside of your website making skill set, it is worth hiring a professional web designer for. But then, we think you should do that anyways. Google (and the general public) can smell a home-cooked website from a mile away.
- Thou shalt incorporate YouTube videos into your web design.
Google loves it when a website has videos. In fact, your website is 500 times more likely to land on the first page of search results if it has a video on it. However, making a video responsive (see the previous point) is tricky. If you embed a YouTube into your website, it’s already set up to be responsive.
- Thou shalt include a “view desktop version” option.
Some users like to keep it old school. As a user, there is nothing more frustrating than knowing exactly how to navigate a desktop site, but not being able to find it on the mobile version of a website. Do not restrict your visitors to only using a mobile website, or it could lead to unhappy campers, and Google frowns upon visitors having negative user experiences.
- Thou shalt use only high-resolution images.
It might be surprising, but those tiny phones actually need higher resolution images. The latest iPhone operating system actually displays images with double resolution that standard desktops offer. While your responsive web design might be able to resize and cut down images for mobile users, it can’t add resolution. If you don’t have super high-res images, they might convey fuzzy and pixel-ated to your high tech mobile users.
This is not an exhaustive list. The Google algorithm is frequently updated, and so SEO is somewhat of a moving target. However, making sure your web design is mobile friendly has a huge impact on your website ranking and that isn’t changing. Unless you are reading this from the year 2014.