Mobile Friendly Websites Are Vital
Most everyone who builds a Website takes some time to make it look nice. The days of text-only sites with no graphics are long gone, and while some sites are more attractive than others, everyone seems to take at least a bit of interest in how their sites appear to their visitors. One thing that a lot of affiliate marketing newbies fail to do, however, is make sure that the sites they’re building are mobile friendly. If you’re not making sure that visitors to your site are able to see your content correctly, regardless of the device they’re using, then you could be missing out on a lot of visitors. Worse – not having mobile friendly sites could also hurt you tremendously with the search engines.
I’ve been building Websites for fifteen years, and started doing that long before the so-called mobile revolution. I used to use HTML editors, but these days, I use WordPress. It’s just easier to work with and a lot more flexible. Need some more functionality? Just add a plugin that does what you need. Need a different look? You can change the theme and entire appearance of your site in seconds. That’s all great, and I’ve built more than 2000 WordPress sites over the past five years. But until about a year ago, I hadn’t given a single though to whether any of my sites were mobile friendly or how they might appear when viewed on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet.
Making Your Site Mobile Friendly
Part of the reason I didn’t give any thought to whether my sites were mobile friendly is that I don’t actually own any mobile devices. I spend about ten hours a day working at a desktop computer with two 24 inch monitors. When I’m done working, I’m ready to get away from computers and the Internet for a while. For that reason, I don’t have a smartphone, and when you don’t have a smartphone, you don’t give much thought to how Websites look to someone viewing them with a smartphone.
These days, an ever-growing percentage of people surfing the Web are using either a smartphone or a tablet to do it, and how your site appears can make a huge difference to the visitor’s experience at your site. If the user has to spend too much time scrolling to see any text or images, they’re going to leave, and they’re going to leave quickly. There’s an even more important reason to make your site mobile friendly. Google’s most recent update takes mobile friendly sites into account, and for any given keyword or phrase, Google is going to rank a site that’s mobile friendly ahead of a similar site that isn’t. In short, sites that aren’t mobile friendly are going to be penalized by Google. That can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic that you receive, and if you’re struggling already to rank your site highly in the search engines, you’re going to struggle even more if you suffer from an unnecessary penalty from Google.
Is your site mobile friendly? How do you know? How can you make your site mobile friendly? How hard is it? That depends. Conveniently enough, Google has a mobile friendly test tool that will tell you in a few seconds if your site is mobile friendly or not. All you need to do is visit the site, enter the URL of your site and Google will examine the site and tell you if you’re compliant or not. If you are, then you don’t need to do anything further.
What if you’re not? In that case, if you’re using WordPress, chances are you’ll have to change your theme to one that is responsive. Responsive means that the page in the browser will automatically adjust in size, depending on the capabilities of the device being used to view the site. Most newly-developed themes, either the free ones that come with WordPress or paid ones that you buy from third parties, are now responsive and mobile friendly. This includes updates of some themes that WordPress has had for a while, such as the Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve and Twenty Thirteen themes. All you need to do is update to the new versions and you should be good to go, though you should take the time to check with the Google tool after you update your site. As far as I know, the responsive and non-responsive versions of those themes are both still available, so be sure you’re downloading the mobile friendly version. They usually have titles such as Responsive Twenty Ten, so you’ll know just by looking at them if you’ve got the right one.
If you have some sort of custom theme that was created for you by a developer, you might have to have some coding changes made and that may cost you some money. Alternatively, you can just switch to a mobile friendly theme, though that may change the look of your site dramatically.
Your themes aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to making your site mobile friendly. The same thing applies to any custom scripts or plugins that you may have on your site. I have a few sites that I use to promote eBay products, and for that, I use a plugin that was designed to use eBay’s RSS feed to display eBay merchandise on the pages of my site. This plugin was not designed to be responsive, and even if I used the plugin with a responsive theme, the results were not mobile friendly, as the pluging was overriding the theme when it came to how the sites appeared on mobile devices.
The fix for this was to edit a couple of lines of code in the plugin’s configuration files and now everything works correctly. The fix wasn’t hard, but the important part was knowing that I needed to do it.
Mobile Friendly Summary
It’s not difficult to make your Websites mobile friendly, but failing to do so will hurt your visitors’ experience, probably cause them to leave your site in a hurry and likely will cause Google and perhaps Bing to rank your site lower in the search results than they might otherwise warrant. Since it’s easy to do and you want to keep the search engines happy, you should probably check your site to see if it’s mobile friendly sooner, rather than later.