Want to Increase SEO Traffic? Optimize Your Web Site for Mobile Users
Mobile has completely changed how we use digital media. In many countries, there are far more smartphones than desktop computers. That means the largest percentage of visitors to your site are likely using hand-held devices.
Every in-house and outside project that affects your site should be designed for the widest possible audience. That means ensuring every page on your site is optimized for mobile users. Desktop isn’t dead, but it’s faded in recent years as smartphones and tablets became the primary devices for accessing digital media. The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report by comScore (a cross-platform data-measurement company) finds that mobile devices account for 60 percent of all total time spent online. That number will continue to grow in the coming years.
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile users, you can lose traffic, revenue and customers, decrease the overall customer experience for visitors, and fall in search rankings. Follow these tips to ensure your site is as mobile-friendly as possible.
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
The first step in gauging how effective your site is for mobile users should be to use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test tool (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly). All you need to do is enter URLs from your site to receive a mobile-friendliness score. The test takes less than a minute and displays screenshots of how pages look on mobile devices.
More importantly, the tool reports any mobile usage issues it finds. Common issues include:
- Fonts too small to be legible on small screens
- Use of Adobe Flash, which most mobile platforms don’t support
- Touch elements overlapping or placed too close
DIY: Choose Responsive Design Themes From Your CMS
Content Management Systems such as WordPress, Tumblr, Joomla! and others offer non-technical site owners the opportunity to create great web sites with custom themes, designs and templates. However, all themes should optimized for mobile users as well as desktop computers. This is called responsive web design, meaning your web pages look good on both desktop and mobile platforms. RWD uses the same URL and code regardless of device – the display automatically adjusts to the user’s screen size.
When creating pages for your site, you can check their mobile-friendliness by running demo pages in the Google test tool. Starting with responsive design themes alleviates the need to optimize pages for mobile devices later. Plus, you’ll only have to maintain one version of your site rather than two – www.themepr.com and m.themepr.com for example.
Farming it Out: Tips for Working with a Developer
If you want to better engage mobile users by transitioning from a desktop-only site to a mobile-friendly one, you’ll likely have to bring on a developer to manage the myriad technical challenges that must be overcome. Here’s three things to check for prior to starting any work:
- Make sure your developer has successfully transitioned a desktop site to a mobile site
- Make sure your developer understands the needs of mobile users
- Make sure your developer is well-versed in responsive web design
Lastly, have your developer set you up with a web analytics platform like Google Analytics so you can always be abreast of your site’s performance metrics. You’ll also want to be sure whomever you hire is available to improve and update your site post-launch.
Your goal with every implementation on mobile is to improve the user experience. Increasing accessibility to your site for mobile users can boost user engagement and retainment, as well as your search engine rankings.