When Google announced that it would start factoring mobile compatibility into its search engine rankings beginning on April 21, business owners and web designers were sent into a flurry. Suddenly, thousands and thousands of new companies decided it was the perfect time to adopt a “mobile-friendly” web platform.
Lost in this sudden surge of mobile programming, however, was the fact that a lot of marketers don’t fully understand what “mobile-friendly” really means. To help shed some light on the situation, here is what you need to know about that term, and the underlying functionality it adds to your website:
The Basics of Mobile Compatibility
The essence of a mobile-friendly website is that it can display cleanly on a small screen, and adapt to a mobile browser that may have limitations a traditional web browser wouldn’t. The most obvious of these has to do with page and image widths, which need to be restricted on mobile devices. Without that, mobile users will be forced to scroll from left to right while trying to read text, for example, or view an image.
In addition, mobile browsers work better with standard fonts than they do exotic ones, so that should be a consideration. It’s also a good idea to limit image sizes and animations, since these can load slowly or use up too much space on a user’s data plan.
Generally Speaking, Mobile = Simple
What these basics amount to is often a simpler version of your standard website, or at least a version that displays more cleanly and simply for mobile users. As an example, if your website has a dozen links across the top of your main navigation bar, these may need to be moved, abbreviated, or otherwise altered to make them usable on a smart phone. Additionally, content can be rearranged so that it’s easier to scroll from top to bottom instead of left to right.
Buttons and Action Items Need Tweaking, Too
The third factor in mobile compatibility is the availability of radio buttons, click-to-call response forms, and other simple calls to action. Few mobile visitors will want to type long strings of text to get more information from your business, or fill out complicated forms on tiny screens.
Part of mobile functionality is ensuring that it’s is easy for customers to do what you want them to do – especially if that’s to make a purchase or get in touch with you for more information – than it is for them to see and read your content.
Although Google’s new mobile-friendly stance may seem like it’s driving the trend towards smart phone and tablet compatibility forward, the reality is that mobile web users already make up more than half of all Internet traffic. So, adopting a mobile-friendly attitude is a good idea, regardless of whether you rely on search engines or not.
In the next post, we are going to outline a few of the different ways you can bring mobile compatibility to your business website. If you can’t wait that long, or have more specific questions, feel free to contact WebRevelation today and ask for a free consultation.