I think it’s fair to assume that we all recognize the important role a website plays within any digital marketing strategy. However, there are some necessary tactics that remain less understood. Such as being mobile-friendly.
Beyond the Initial Attraction
This advice will explore an area that overlooks whether one’s site is attractive or not. Of course, that plays a factor in and of itself. There are endless ways to craft content and appearances do matter in that respect. We should be cognizant of what we’re trying to convey and who we hope will see it, as that needs to factor into the design.
However, hoping someone likes the look of your site is far more subjective than what I’m here to outline. In this case, there are objective rules to follow. If you want to be found, that is.
There’s more to it than your curated content, widget choices, plugin use, navigation menus, and theme it’s all built around. But, what else matters? I’m glad you asked.
It Pays to Be Polite
This isn’t about maintaining your manners. While an important aspect in doing business for other reasons, that’s not the type of friendliness I’m here to enforce. Did you know that how your site displays across different devices matters?
Simply stated, it needs to be mobile-friendly. And this isn’t to cater to a unique crowd. Over half of all web traffic is now thanks to a mobile device. It’s no longer a matter of opinion on whether you’ll optimize your design in this respect, it’s a requirement.
Now, you’re free to dispute that fact and choose an alternate path for your site. Ultimately, it’s your call. Yet, you might want to lessen the defence and just listen in on this one. Google will find out, after all.
Why Google Cares So Much
Google and the internet have become interchangeable. When you’re on one, you’re not far from the other. And for good reason, as Google has done a masterful job of embedding itself into the online experience and becoming a relied-upon resource at every turn.
So much so that it’s now even a recognized word on dictionary.com:
verb (used with object), Goo·gled, Goo·gling.
(often lowercase) to search the internet for information about (a person, topic, etc.):We googled the new applicant to check her background.
verb (used without object), Goo·gled, Goo·gling.
(often lowercase) to use a search engine such as Google to find information, a website address, etc., on the internet.
Although this behemoth has spread its wings far beyond being just a search engine, the reality is that it’s still the brain that helps most find what they’re thinking about. Even if you don’t realize that’s what’s propelling your online experience, their algorithm is likely at play.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of those things that marketers can’t afford to ignore and Google sets the rules when it comes to what ranks best and why. Among their complex and ever-changing list of demands, is ensuring your website is mobile-friendly.
What It Means to Be Mobile-Friendly
In short, your website has to be designed in a dynamic way so that anyone visiting it will have a responsive experience regardless of the type of device they’re using. Basically, its look and feel have to adjust and adapt to the various screen sizes it can be viewed on. Whether a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or otherwise.
Google rewards strong and strategic content, structures, and hyperlinking. All in all, they favour the places that provide a quality experience.
Often, a prerequisite for enjoyable surfing is the ability to immerse ourselves within our surroundings without giving a second thought to the how, what, why, where, or when. Quite simply, we value that which forces us to be present. Then, we can take in what’s in front of us without giving a second thought to how that’s even possible.
Making sure your site displays in a suitable way across every device falls right in line with that thinking. You want your visitors to marvel at what you created, rather than be fixated on why it’s not displaying as was intended.
Enhancing the User Experience
Most themes now have this as a built-in feature, since being mobile-friendly is the known standard. However, it’s still on us to make sure the automation is functioning as we need it to. Much like with any other technology, it should be there to enhance efficiency, not replace responsibility.
It really is as simple as perusing your own site from time to time. Especially when edits are taking place. I often have an active window open for viewing, while I work in another on my laptop. I also keep my iPhone handy. Then, with every major change, I’ll check to see how that update displays across both devices.
You might be surprised by how often you’ll be faced with a fix you never expected, by simply checking your work as you go. And that’s a good thing. It offers a much more timely opportunity to correct an error before it’s ever recognized as one.
Not only are you ensuring a smoother user experience because you took the test drive, but you’re also giving Google every reason to grade you accordingly. The better you do in their books, the higher your likelihood of being found by those who read it. Which is, ultimately, everyone.
The takeaway here is fairly straightforward. You want people to enjoy your page, but they need to effectively land there first for that to be possible and Google is the gatekeeper that decides the direction of our online activity. So, how do you ensure they treat your page with a warm welcome the next time someone asks for what you offer?
Making your website mobile-friendly is crucial towards convincing Google of its legitimacy. Yes, there are other factors at play, but if you fail in that regard then the rest is far less relevant. Besides, if something so simple can keep Google happy, is it worth the risk of neglecting it?
The answer is no. Every time.