Is your content mobile friendly?
Most of the world survived it. #Mobilegeddon has happened but like nuclear fallout it may take a while for your business to feel the repercussions. It’s not too late for your business to respond to this development in search marketing.
What the heck are you on about?
Back in February Google announced that on April 21st it would begin to favour mobile friendly sites in its search results. This may seem drastic but consider your own frequent usage of your mobile. Think of the frustration you have experienced using a site that is not optimised for mobile devices. Consider also that Comreg reported in September 2014 that smartphone users accounted for 59% of mobile users in Ireland. Globally this figure is 37% rising from 12% in 2008. In the quickly developing and enormous market of China 18% of smartphone users have made a purchase on their phone, compared to 8% in the US, for example. All this gives us an inkling of Google’s understanding of their users’ experience of searching the web.
A well designed website should be responsive i.e. respond to the device, browser and screen size on which the user is viewing your site. I’m not a designer or a front end developer. I won’t pretend to be able to solve design issues. Our frequent collaborator Pixel Design have been creating beautiful, award winning responsive sites for years.
However, when creating sites for mobile it’s not just design and code that need to be considered. Your content should be optimised for use on mobile too. It should be written and presented in such a way that it is easy for mobile users to read and engage with. The following suggestions for creating mobile friendly content are actually quite sensible. So no panicking required! If you do have concerns please feel free to get in touch and OnlineHub can help you improve your performance on mobile devices.
How can you optimise your content for mobile?
In 2014 Google published the criteria the Googlebot uses to assess whether the site it is visiting is mobile friendly:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
An up to date web development and web design team should be able to ensure these four features. However, I’d like to add the following suggestions to really make your content shiny and shareable and evergreen.
Make it easy to save You may be aware of the acronym TLDR and wondered what it meant? It stands for Too Long; Didn’t Read. Many smartphone users pull out their phones when they have an interlude, a moment to spare. They want to be able to quickly catch up and maybe load up on content to read/ watch/ listen to at their leisure. Make this as easy as possible for your readers by either including bookmarking or note-making apps in your social bookmarking function. These include, but are not limited to Instapaper, Delicious and Evernote. Evernote is my current go-to note app.
Don’t rely on images to tell too much of the story. If you do use images, serve smaller or more focused mobile friendly versions.
Keep it short and snappy. That is all.
Break up the text by using headlines, bulleted lists and short paragraphs.
Include clear navigation especially a back to top link.
How do I know how my site is performing – there are so many devices!
Thankfully there is help is at hand. The main browsers on the market This is a weenchy bit technical and it will open up some intimidating-looking frames in your browser but it will give you an insight into how your site is working for you on a range of mobile devices. These instructions are for desktop browsers only.
If you are a Google Chrome user on desktop (Google Chrome is Google’s internet browser) there is a function included in the browser that allows you to see how your site looks on different devices. Click Ctrl+Shift+I and you will see an interface that among other functions includes a Device drop down (it’s on the top left in orange on my screen.)
Choose the device you would like to see and remember to press F5 or refresh your screen to ensure you are seeing this as it appears on the other device.
You can do this on Internet Explorer by pressing F12 on your keyboard and choosing the Emulation tab that appears in the frame at the bottom of your screen (last tab in my browser).
In Firefox you will find this tool by Opening the Menu (top right) and clicking Developer. From here choose Responsive Design Mode which appears to the right on the top of the Developer Console.
In Safari you much change a small setting in your preferences initially to access Developer Tools. Click the Settings button (a little cog to the far right top of your Safari browser usually) and choose Preferences. A dialog box appears. Click on Advanced and choose “Show Developer menu in menu bar.” Now when you click the little Page icon beside the Settings icon (the little cog). You will now see an option “User Agent” with an arrow. This offers you a plethora of devices to choose from. Once you choose the page will reload and voilá! you will see how well your site performs in a range of browsers and devices.