A responsive design concept on various media devices.

A responsive design concept on various media devices.

Everyone is making a big deal right now about websites being Mobile-friendly. That’s because Google is once again changing its search algorithm, which is something everyone always wants to talk about, even if they don’t totally understand it.

In this case, the change in the algorithm will only affect searches performed on mobile phones. Searches on desktop and laptop computers will be the same as ever. But if a person searches on his phone, the results will only show sites that are mobile-friendly and therefore will be readable on small phone screens.

How Mobile Optimization Works

There are three important things that happen to a website’s design when it’s viewed on a small screen:

  • Images are re-sized to fit the smaller screens.
  • Elements are re-arranged to fit better (note in the example image: the three colored blocks (blue, orange and yellow) are side-by-side on the larger screens but stacked vertically on the small phone screen).
  • Links are larger so they’re easier to tap with your finger (buttons or icons as links in addition to or instead of text links).

The goal is for the text to be readable and the site to be usable even on the smaller-sized screen.

Why Your Website Should be Mobile-Friendly

  • In 2014, mobile web surfing actually exceeded desktop usage. More and more people are using mobile phones, and they’re using them more often and for tasks they previously did on their desktop and laptop computers.
  • Your competition’s website — is it mobile-friendly? If it is and your’s isn’t, which do you think potential customers will choose if they’re searching on their phone?
  • Google’s algorithm change means that your potential customer might not even find your site at all if it’s not mobile-friendly.

How To Get a Mobile-Friendly Site

The answer to this varies depending on your site. Here are some things to consider:

  • The wisdom that you should have a separate .mobi site is out-dated. I’d only advise this if you have a very complicated site, or if you already have a .mobi site you’re happy with. This concept came about before current web design trends made mobile optimization easier.
  • If you’re using WordPress already, changing to a “responsive” theme might be an easy task.
  • If your website is more than 2 years old, it’s due for a redesign anyway. Compare it to some newly redesigned websites and you’ll see there’s a lot that needs changing besides the mobile responsiveness:
    • Modern sites have large, full-screen images
    • Modern sites have images with a scrolling parallax effect
    • Modern sites often go all the way to the edge of the browser window. If your site has wide margins on either side, that’s a sign that it’s becoming dated.

A Redesign Might Not be as Costly as You Think

If your website has less than 10 pages and doesn’t have a shopping cart or a complicated database, I can redesign it for you for about $300. I can even set it up so that you can make simple updates yourself, which will be pretty much as easy as using a word processor. Contact me to find out more.