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mobile website usability: Google warnings & how to fix them

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!

google-mobile-usability-issues

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!

Is your website mobile-friendly?

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.

Why should you care about having a mobile website?

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.

How do you fix it?

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.

Mobile-Friendly Websites in my Portfolio

I’ve published several websites in recent months that have a streamlined mobile experience.

Christofferson Commercial Builders

ccbuilders5

 

Cooking with Crystal

cookingwithcrystalmobile

 

Ruth Washburn Cooperative Nursery School

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And my own site!

InksplashMobile-Friendly-361x600

What should I do next?

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.


6 Comments

  1. Craig Smith

    March 26, 2015 10:28 am

    very informative. MPC Lubricants, are they mobile ready? others?

  2. Kathy Daly

    March 26, 2015 10:42 am

    I love the way my web site looks now that you have made it mobile-friendly. Thank you for improving it so quickly!

  3. Janet Nevins

    March 28, 2015 10:48 am

    This is a great article about Google’s new mobile friendly algorithm. I hope people really take this serious or they are going to miss out on alot of traffic soon.

  4. service ac mobil

    June 18, 2015 5:08 am

    Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re working with?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
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