As you’re perhaps aware, Google announced that it’s about to roll out the most significant mobile algorithm change so far:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
That means that in a very short time you’re going to witness a huge algorithm upset. This change will have more of an impact than did Google’s previous algorithm shakeups: Penguin or Panda. If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will punished it in upcoming search engine rankings.
If that happens, that the 2 billion smartphone users who are searching the internet may not find your site! So, if you’re in business, the impact of not being mobile-friendly may potentially hurt you significantly.
What is “mobile-friendly,” anyway?
A mobile-friendly website can display differently on a smartphone or a tablet than it does on a computer monitor. It looks better. It’s a simple matter of screen geography. There’s way more space on a monitor than a tablet or smartphone can begin to fathom. So when your website responds to the device that summons it, and displays itself appropriately to the size of the device on which it appears, it’s mobile-friendly. It short circuits all the side-to-side scrolling and tiny print that’s so annoying on a small screen.
Test your site!
Your first step is to test your website to see if it is, in fact mobile-friendly. If your website serves content that displays correctly on the device on which it appears, you’re all done. Fortunately it’s so easy to test your website, simply type its URL into the box on this page:
If it returns the result – “Awesome. Your page is mobile-friendly.” – then you’re all done. You’re set! Relax and enjoy your success. You’re ready for the next algorithm shakeup.
Let us know if you need help to ensure your website’s mobile-friendly, don’t delay! Book a free consultation and we will help you to check your site and give some quick feedback on making it mobile friendly.
Cover the basics
If you don’t pass, don’t despair. Help is available. Here’s what you need for a quick fix:
- Navigation: It’s essential to have easy to use and well defined navigation on the mobile device. This is done by having an alternate mobile menu (hidden on larger screens) or by re-styling existing menu to work on smartphones. Sometimes you need to adjust menu code to accommodate different user action (there is no mouse hover event on touchscreen, so sometimes drop-down menus stop working on mobile devices)
- Mobile page layout: Having a separate styles for mobile page is an easy way to make site mobile friendly. In most cases you won’t need to recreate the site from scratch. Ensure all text is readable, aligned to fit small screen (hint: no sidebars)
- Images: make sure images fit into the screen (by scaling them).
Grab a plugin
The shortcut answer is to add a plugin to your website to make it mobile-friendly. WPTouch is the way to go. It’s in the WordPress repository, just download and install it through your site’s WordPress dashboard. This solution, even the free version, works fine for mobile phones.
Once you’ve activated WPTouch, test it so you’re sure that it’s functioning correctly on your site. Then, set up your site’s mobile menu. Peruse the settings and tweak the plugin to suit your needs.
Using a plugin is the shortcut solution that will help you through the upcoming Google algorithm revision to favor sites that are mobile-friendly.
We’ll help you do it right
Remember that unless your site is designed to work equally well across devices of all sizes, no quick fix can handle that job long-range. There’s no “magic bullet.” This is because there are so many considerations in designing a mobile-friendly site that require skilled human input and which can’t be automated.
If your site does not test out as mobile-friendly, you need to consider changing your WordPress theme and/or customizing the current one. We at FasterWordPress.com are experts in WordPress theme customization, including making those mobile friendly. Don’t worry. Just leave the details to us. We’ll be delighted to bring your site up to date.
Schedule a free consultation if you have any questions about how to handle Google’s upcoming preferences for mobile-friendly sites. Let us help you to optimize your website, making it business-ready and mobile-friendly for 2015.