Does your website pass this test?

On 21st April 2015, Google changed its mobile search algorithm. This means websites that don’t fit with Google’s ‘mobile–friendly’ criteria will be bumped down the search results by those that do.

Web | 3.9 minutes read | Michael Gough

Does your website 
pass this test?
Does your website 
pass this test?

If your website isn’t optimised, it could cost you 1/3 of your website traffic, depending on your audience.

One really simple way to achieve mobile–friendly status is to make your site responsive.

Here’s a simple experiment. Find the nearest smartphone, and Google search for your company.

Then try to do whatever it is you want others to do on your site. That could be requesting a meeting, reading your latest newsletter, or just understanding what it is you offer and stand for.

Next, starting from your home page, find the phone number of the person you want prospective customers to contact.

Overall, how would you rate your experience, with a mark out of ten? Was the information well presented? Was the design engaging, the text easy to read?

If you scored eight or above, great.

If it’s seven or less, then you’re missing an opportunity and probably not making the best first impression.

Be responsive

The good news is that making improvements is a lot easier and cheaper today than it was a few years ago. That’s because of something called responsive design.

We all know the digital world keeps getting more complex. The number of devices grows month by month. There are dozens of screen sizes to plan for and lots of gestures to consider, from clicking and scrolling to swiping and pinching.

On top of that, there are many different browsers, connection speeds and pixel resolutions to contend with.

Responsive design takes all this in its stride. To put it simply, it involves designing a website so that it works well for lots of different devices – from mobiles and tablets to laptops and internet TVs.

With responsive design, your website navigation, images and the layout of text all automatically adjust to the size of the screen.

This matters in the UK where 45% of web traffic is on mobile devices, up 10% from January 2014. Tablet sales globally have overtaken notebooks and desktop machines.

But responsive design is about more than just mobile. In our view, it’s as important for the person sat at their PC in the office as for someone using their iPhone on the train.

Here are four reasons why:

1. It gives the user the best experience possible

For every website, the users’ needs should come first.

Your site should be designed for your users, and for how they use sites in practice (lots of scanning and skimming) not in theory (reading big blocks of text word–for–word).

To work well on tablets and phones as well as on desktops, a good user experience generally involves more scrolling and less clicking, fewer words and stronger headlines.

And on a good responsive site, a strong visual identity and a clear set of messages are more important than ever: there is no clutter to hide behind and no fat to be trimmed.

2. It’s simple and easy to manage

Before responsive design, many organisations ran two separate websites – one for desktops and one for mobiles.

This takes a lot of effort to build and launch and then causes headaches when updating content over time.

Responsive design removes the need for duplication, simplifies the whole process and usually lowers the costs.

It also tends to be a lot cheaper than developing mobile apps (though apps definitely have their place and can work well alongside a good responsive site).

 

Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.

Jeffrey Veen, Vice President of products at Adobe

3. It should help improve your rankings on Google

We’ve blogged about search rankings here and won’t go over the same ground again.

Just to highlight that a responsive website should be the foundation of your search engine marketing, helping people to find you whenever they search for relevant terms.

4. It can evolve with your business needs over time

Improving your website shouldn’t be a big one–off event like publishing a book.

Instead, see it more like moving into a new house. The foundations are laid and the basic structures are fixed, but there’s plenty of scope for improvements and remodelling as your needs develop.

A new responsive website should be both a big leap forward for your organisation and a platform that keeps getting better in the years ahead.

What happens next?

Take out your phone again, and Google ‘branding agency Shoreditch’. We suggest skipping over the ads and contacting the first agency you find.