The majority of us know that when developing a website in this modern age, we must make considerations for the fact that over half of those who access our website do so from a mobile device. Of course, the screens used to visualise a website from these mobile devices are not universal and can vary greatly. From a small phone screen, to much larger screens, it is imperative that any website is presented in a friendly manner with easy navigation, all without losing any relevant content.
Nowadays, it is not only important to deliver a beautiful and functional site for internet users, producing a mobile-friendly site is also very important for usability and SEO (search engine Optimization) purposes.
As of April 2015, the ranking algorithm of Google search results officially included data on the mobile usability of sites, including creating a ‘stamp’ in the results of searches to show that the site is mobile-friendly. In other words, Google has been rewarding sites that are prepared for the future, in terms of being mobile-friendly, and putting these sites ahead of similar ones that have failed to do so.
Ensuring the the design of your website is compatible and intuitive with mobile devices can have a major positive influence on your site’s analytics, either in sales or simply visits. Far from just search engine positioning, the bounce rate, time per session and number of page visits can all be affected by mobile usability.
There are some techniques used to deliver an adaptive site for each type of screen. Of course, we could create separate sites for each screen size, but this forces us to create numerous addresses of sites with the same content. Any site can identify the internet user’s screen size, and through this, enter the correct address to the screen that it is using.
Another possible way to be as mobile-friendly as possible is to make the server itself identify what the visitor’s device is, and use this information to deliver different pages for each type of device. But this, in addition to the server workload increasing, still offers different pages to each access, allowing the Google SEO to identify completely different pages for every access and penalise your site for it.
A third way to deliver friendly and functional pages on all screens is through responsive layout, which uses different CSS (or the same, making only minor changes to specific screens) to deliver a clean site that is easy to navigate on all screen sizes. This is the way that Google (https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/#choose_your_mobile_configuration) and we at Thump Creative Design recommend. Virtually all sites developed by Thump have responsive technology, unless for specific cases, and strategies, we choose other options.
Our decision to use this technology for responsive sites wasn’t based purely on it being Google’s recommendation, but because it also greatly facilitates the sharing of pages between people and devices by keeping the same page address and eliminating the need to redirect the page. Additionally, the pages load faster, which is another important parameter in SEO optimisation and mobile usability.
Google offers a very complete tool (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/) to identify if your site is fully configured for the mobile world. If you already have a website, you can test it on the Google tool. If you have a problem with your current site, if you want a new website or if you want to help with SEO optimisation, check out some of our work: www.thumped.co.uk/work and get in contact!