Since 2016, your desktop website has been less important than ever.
Because since 2016, your mobile website has been more important than ever.
Mobile-first indexing, Google’s practice of evaluating your mobile website as the “primary” version for assessment and ranking, has been in play for the last few years — but it’s still making waves. There’s still an abundance of less-than-optimal websites out there, which is why we want to help you make sure that your website isn’t hurting you.
So, in this post we’ll briefly cover a few tips to improve your mobile website.
What Makes a Mobile Website “Good”?
It’s really easy to focus on the looks of a website — but looks are only one small part of what makes a mobile website function. In fact, there are at least four distinct characteristics you should look for in any mobile website:
- Loads fully and legibly on a mobile device
- Is easy to navigate by touch
- Search engines can understand it
- It loads quickly
This may seem like an easy task, but just ask any laundry owner about their website and they’ll tell you — it takes some time to master.
But master it you should. Let’s get to some tips that can help.
#1: Use a Responsive Design
The easiest way to ensure a win with your mobile website is to start with a responsive design. These are website templates/themes/layouts that provide the same look, feel, and content no matter what device they’re built on.
Starting with a responsive design is just common sense these days. Instead of having to design two (or potentially three) websites, you simply focus on one design — that can be easily molded into a mobile look and feel.
And don’t fret if you think that a mobile-oriented website will mean your desktop version can’t look good. Just check out this website redesign the Spynr team handled:
It looks great — and works on mobile. If your website doesn’t look like this, you likely need some help.
#2: Improve Your Site’s Speed
Now it’s time to get a bit more technical.
Google cares a lot about how fast your website is. If it takes a long time to load content and images to a user’s device, they won’t look favorably on your website. You’ll likely end up with a lower rank, and struggle to get much traffic (even when using paid ads for traffic).
So here’s how you can improve your site’s speed:
- Use Fewer Redirects — Old pages that need to be retired are a part of website ownership. That’s why redirects are important — they help you push traffic from old links to new, relevant pages. But too many redirects can slow down your site’s loading speed, so give some thought to redirecting a page that has redirects already pointed to it.
- Utilize browser caching — Think of caching like providing browsers the opportunity to “pre-load” your website. This helps improve load times, and allows a search engine to better understand your content.
- Keep code clean — Long story short, if you have a lot of big, “heavy” files they can slow down your site’s loading capabilities. Compressing and minification of code helps you load faster.
All of this sounds fairly technical, but it can actually be fairly easy to implement. In fact, a WordPress plugin like WP Rocket can handle all three of these tasks with minimal input. It’s a no brainer in this case.
#3: Focus on the Experience
Last but not least, you need to think about how people use your website.
That involves the obvious questions, like: “What are they looking for?” and “Where are past users clicking?”
But it also takes things a step further. For instance:
- Can users tap on links, icons, and your navigation with ease?
- Do you provide a pop-up that blocks the view to your page?
- Is the font responsive enough that it doesn’t make your site hard to read?
- Are ads and videos disrupting the experience?
The list could go on and on — but you hopefully get the picture. It should be an enjoyable experience to browse your site, not a burden.
It’s been a few years since mobile-first indexing made its debut, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Our recommendations are simple:
- Switch to a responsive design
- Work on site speed
- Focus on your customer’s experience
That’s all there is to it.