Have you heard about Google’s new initiative to penalize websites that are not mobile friendly? Non-optimized or non-responsive sites are being pushed farther down in search results and given a lower pagerank. This means sites that are mobile friendly or responsive could begin outranking their better SEO’d non-responsive competitors.
What Does Responsive Web Design Mean?
Take a look at the illustration. At top left is a full size screen displaying a responsive website. I coloured each frame so that you can see how the content is handled on various screen sizes and orientations. The website “reads” the operating system, the size of the mobile device screen, and its orientation. It then shifts the frames around so that the user doesn’t have to pinch and scroll horizontally to see everything. Sites that are not optimized for mobile devices require the user to pan left to right and pinch the screen to view all the elements. Even worse than all that pinching and scrolling is the difficulty encountered by mobile users when attempting to click on elements that are simply too small once reduced to the mobile device screen. If you’ve ever tried that on your phone, you know how irritating it is.
How Do Optimized Sites Differ From Responsive Websites?
An optimized site is specially constructed for mobile devices. It’s a good thing. And a bad thing. An optimized site is separate and distinct from your main website. Usually the URL will have the letter ‘m’ in front of it. This means that each time you update your main website, you will also have to do the same work on the mobile optimized site. Twice the work. Twice the opportunity for error. Probably twice the overall cost in terms of man hours.
bMobilized To The Rescue
Your IT department or IT contractor should be your first stop if you’re curious about your own website’s performance. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to look at a company called bMobilized. I have not tested this out myself so be warned I’m simply passing on information. bMobilized says it can optimize most sites and will do so for free. Could be worth a look.
Whatever you decide, remember that the world is shifting toward doing everything on smartphones and tablets. If you want your audience to apply for jobs, fill in forms, or subscribe to services, make sure the mobile experience is positive.
I love to hear from readers. Don’t be shy. Leave a comment below.