Mobile Optimization 101: Are You Ignoring It Or Using It Like a Champ?

Do you have a mobile phone? Do you ever shop or read from your mobile phone?

It’s not too much of a stretch to assume your answer to both questions is a resounding YES. If that’s the case, join the club: nearly everyone these days is on their phones almost constantly and using them for everything from social interactions to ordering takeout.

Since we all know mobile technology is here to stay, it’s probably safe to assume that you already know your website needs to be mobile-friendly. But in case you need any convincing, in 2015, Google announced that being mobile friendly would have an impact on search rankings.

“Starting April 21, 2015, Google Search will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in Google Search results.”

In other words: your website search rankings via Google will tank if your website does not support mobile optimization. That same article shares tips on how to make sure your webpage is mobile-optimized.

If you haven’t already built your website, know that most reputable website builders are 100% aware that a big perk of their service is all the great mobile-friendly features they’ll be building into your website. If you’re hiring professionals, you will have very little to do with this process – it will simply be a part of the service you’re paying for.

For example, let’s look at an extremely most popular website content management system: WordPress. The company got its start in 2003 and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. WordPress was featured in a March 2018 post on VentureBeat:

“WordPress now powers 30 percent of the web, according to data from web technology survey firm W3Techs. This represents a 5-percentage point increase in nearly two and a half years, after WordPress hit the 25 percent mark in November 2015. It’s worth noting here that this figure relates to the entire Web, regardless of whether a website uses a content management system (CMS) or not. If we’re looking at market share, WordPress actually claims 60.2 percent, up from 58.7 percent in November 2015.”

In short, WordPress is essentially the “Google” of website content management systems. Considering its staggering numbers, we’ll use WordPress as the example for mobile optimization.

Make sure everything on your website is up-to-date. This includes your theme, plugins, and any other website element that may have periodic updates. WordPress will post a notification on the backend pages of your website’s “Administrator” dashboard. Don’t ignore those prompts!

Something else to consider is that mobile optimization isn’t just about the user’s experience.  WordPress is making its newer sites even more mobile-friendly for you as an administrator. The details are explained in a recently published article by online marketer Nick Schaferhoff of Torque.

“The WordPress backend is completely mobile responsive (at least since version 3.8) and lets you carry out all basic tasks. If you have a tablet, you might even consider writing long-form content on there (phones, not so much).”

“To go a step further, there are also the WordPress mobile apps that are available for both iOS and Android. They even allow you to take photos with your mobile devices and use them on your site right away. In addition to that, the apps let you access more than one site at a time and are touch optimized.”

Schaferhoff also offers some other tips to make your website more mobile-friendly, including speeding up your page. This is important, because the patience of a mobile user is slim to none. It takes only a few seconds before they move on to the next search with a simple click of a button.

Schaferhoff explains that the best way to start optimizing page speed is with Google PageSpeed Insights. You’ll start by typing in your website URL, and from there Google will lead you step-by-step to faster and more consistent page speeds.

Tips from other experts include reducing image sizes (they can take too long to load) and switching your web host if needed (which can have a huge impact on speed). Both of these steps actions can make a big difference in your user’s mobile experience.

Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking your website’s progress. You’ll see what is and isn’t working, as well as who is or isn’t responding. Once you have this information in hand (or rather, on screen), you can take action to further improve your site or move in a different direction altogether.

Something else to keep in mind: SEO can be different for your desktop version and your mobile site. For example, something that isn’t an issue on your webpage, like video playback, can bring a user’s experience to a halt on a mobile device. You’ve seen messages before: “This video is not playable on mobile.” And what do you next? Move on to a different website.

Google details some of the most notorious mobile SEO mistakes that range from unplayable content to font size, and everything in-between. What’s more: Google tells you how to fix each problem. Check and double-check that all your website features are working for mobile users, because it only takes the smallest of roadblocks for them to click elsewhere and never return.

Last but not least: it may be far from your thoughts if you’re in the early stages of your business, but you should also consider developing an app. This builds instant credibility in the mind of the user and provides you with a new, modern way to engage with your audience.

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