The majority of all web searches happen on a phone. This figure goes up when people are searching for a local service. Conversely, almost all web development happens on a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen. This leads to a disconnect. What looks good on a monitor can become jumbled and unaligned when a web browser tries to make it fit on a phone screen only a few inches wide.
Developing websites to look good on any screen – a process called responsive web design – has grown in importance over the last decade, yet many sites are still optimized for computers. Navigating these sites on a mobile phone can be all but impossible, making them unappealing to customers and to search engines like Google who prefer to list mobile-ready sites first in their results.
This means that a non-responsive site can be losing more than half of the business’s potential customers as the poor SEO leaves the site languishing on page 5 or higher in search results. Ensuring that your website works on every screen size is the first step to building, or rejuvenating, an effective site.
Check Your Site for Mobile Compatibility
If you haven’t considered how your business website looks on a phone recently, it is time to do so now. You can always start by navigating to your site on your cell phone. This is an easy way to notice any glaring errors.
If you don’t have access to a phone or tablet but still want to see how your site looks there, many website hosting platforms have an option to toggle between different views. You can also use your browser’s Developer Console (usually accessed by pressing Ctrl + Shift + J on Windows or Cmd + Shift + J on a Mac) and toggle from desktop to mobile to table view with the icon in the top left corner.
As another test that goes beyond what you see, you can input your website’s URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Google will return a result that lets you know if your site is optimized for responsive display.
A mobile-responsive site will adjust to fit whatever size screen it’s viewed on. This means elements like menu bars, text, and images might rearrange themselves, or scale up or down to fit a screen. The design is dynamic and while you can make changes to how certain elements appear, you do not have to specify how each element appears on each size screen. The background coding handles that for you.
This is slightly different from a mobile-friendly site. A mobile-friendly site changes when viewed on a mobile screen, but isn’t optimized for the exact screen ratio it is viewed on. Readers might still need to zoom or scroll to view all content.
How to Update Your Site for Mobile
A site that fails any test on mobile, whether with glaring problems or a technical error, needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. In the meantime, clients are missing you and you aren’t getting the full value of your website. Depending on the issue, you can:
- Use a Responsive Design – The easiest way to ensure your website is mobile-responsive is to choose a template that is already optimized for this. The majority of modern themes, including free ones, are mobile-ready. Replacing your existing theme and performing a bit of clean-up so it still looks professional is a fast way to upgrade your existing site.
- Check Before Publishing – When making any changes to your website, especially when adding a new page, use the checks above to make sure everything looks right on mobile. This is a good habit to get into before pressing publish.
- Speed Up Your Website – Use the Test My Site tool from Google to see if there are any technical issues, such as slow loading speeds that keep your site from being optimized for mobile. The tool provides a report with fixes to improve your site.
A professional web developer is another way to ensure your website is mobile ready. Great Leap Solutions builds all of our custom websites with responsive web design. If your website needs an upgrade or you are just getting started, we can ensure your site is gaining you customers instead of losing them. Call us or fill out the contact form to find out why our sites are right for your business.