Nowadays, smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous. Seems like everybody is using them every where you go, and that’s changing the way we use the Internet and browse websites. If your site isn’t easy to navigate on a portable device, people just aren’t going to bother with it for very long.
A mobile friendly site is a must!
Back in February 2015, the Official Google Webmaster Central blog said:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
Ok, great. But what exactly does that mean?
If your site is not “mobile-friendly”, it’s going to tank in the Google search rankings. All of that worrying about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? It’s all over if your site isn’t mobile-ready.
The good news is you don’t need a separate site for your web presence to look good on mobile devices. All you need is Responsive Design.
What is Responsive Design?
Without causing your eyes to glaze over by getting too technical, responsive design means your website will look good on any modern device. (Note, I said “modern,” because if someone is using an old PC with Windows 95 to get on the Internet, their browsing experience is hopeless anyway and nothing will make yours—or anybody else’s—website look good on that device.)
This site, and in fact all of the websites I develop through my business, Lookout Publishing, are mobile responsive. In a minute, I’ll explain how you can make your site mobile responsive, too.
With responsive design, elements of the page will either resize or get shifted around depending on the screen size of the device you are using. Look at the image below for an example.
Responsive design isn’t just about aesthetics either. Have you ever been to a website that is not mobile-friendly and found yourself constantly pinch-stretching the page to be able to click on links?
Well, a properly designed site won’t force you to do that. Any links and buttons will be a reasonable size making your browsing experience a pleasant one—whether you’re on your mobile phone, your Kindle, your iPad, laptop, or desktop.
How do you get a mobile-friendly site?
If you have a WordPress site, it may already be mobile responsive. If not, one quick fix is to download the Jetpack plugin and then activate the “Mobile Theme.” Frankly, if you’re using a WordPress site, you should be using Jetpack anyway, so if you don’t have it, go download and install it now. You can thank me later. 😉
Although I use Jetpack for tons of other features, I do not use the Jetpack mobile theme option since my theme framework is naturally mobile responsive.
I’m a huge, huge fan of the Genesis framework by Studiopress and use it for designing most of my clients’ websites. They have dozens of mobile-responsive child themes that can be applied over their Genesis framework. In fact, today, they just launched their brand new Author Pro Child Theme. But whether you like that one, or choose another one, as long as you follow their easy directions, you’ll have a site you can be proud of right out of the box.
Another great advantage of Studiopress themes is that they are naturally search engine friendly. In other words, if you use the Genesis framework and a Studiopress theme, you are on the right track as far as SEO. You’ll make Google happy with a mobile-friendly site, and you’ll make website visitors happy because they’ll actually be able to read and navigate your site while waiting to get their oil changed, or in the carpool line at their kid’s school, or in the lobby at the dentist office.
If all of this seems daunting…
You can always hire a website pro to help whip your site into shape. It shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to get a decent, mobile-friendly website.
Just make sure whoever you hire will set up a site that you can manage. You shouldn’t have to hire a web person every time you want to add something to your site.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. I’ll do my best to answer them in a timely fashion!