A few weeks ago, I started getting email alerts from my Google Webmaster Tools account telling me that some of my clients’ websites had “critical mobile usability issues”- meaning, they needed a mobile website, stat!
Most of the emails were about sites I designed and built years ago, before smartphones were a Big Deal. It wasn’t long before one my clients contacted me about it after getting an email herself, asking if this was something I could add to her website, and of course the answer was yes! I can do that for you!
First, take a look at your website on a smartphone. Most sites look great on desktop computers but are difficult to read and navigate on a touchscreen. If you view your site on your phone or tablet and find it lacking in ease of use, then it’s time to consider adding that functionality.
There are also online usability tests that will tell you if a website is mobile-friendly or not. Google Webmaster Tools has a Mobile-Friendly Test that you can use if you’re not sure. The test even gives a screenshot of your website in a mobile setting, which is a helpful visual guide.
We reached the tipping point in 2014: more people use their mobile-devices to surf the internet than their desktop computers. This means that if your website isn’t easily readable and clear to navigate on a smaller screen, you’re losing customers- especially if you’re in a specific industry like hotels, restaurants, blogging, or have an e-commerce website.
Rebuild the website with a responsive design. A responsive website will change orientation and layout depending on the size of the screen being used to view it. One design, one solution. This can be a big undertaking if you already have a website up and running that you love, but if you’re losing customers because your website is hard to use on a smartphone, it can be a very wise investment. And if you’re starting out with a brand new website, paying a designer to build a responsive website is a great idea.
Create a separate mobile-only version of your website. This is a common choice, because it’s easy to implement on an already existing website. Adding a mirror website for mobile users also gives flexibility, because sometimes certain content is best viewed on a desktop computer, or perhaps you want to streamline the information on your website for your mobile visitors. Because the majority of my clients’ websites are currently running in WordPress, adding mobile website functionality to them is fairly simple with the use of plugins. I can also customize the features on the mobile site to include unique content, color schemes, and calls to action just for the mobile audience.
I’ve published several websites in recent months that have a streamlined mobile experience.
And my own site!
If you’d like to talk about adding mobile functionality to your website, please contact me! I can add a mobile theme or design to your site, which will give your business a boost in visibility and usability on the mobile web.