Is your website responsive? And I don’t mean that it ‘talks back!’
Beginning back in April 2015 Google started driving the industry to responsive design by using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in search results. Most mods to the all-important Google Search algorithm have only a low-weight impact on search results, however this change is an important one. With this change, Google started really focusing on mobile friendly sites, and placing those easily viewed on mobile devices higher in the rankings.
What does ‘mobile friendly’ and responsive mean? Basically it means that as you go down in device size from desktop to tablet to smart phone, the delivery of information and the screen layout is optimized for the device receiving it. How many of us remember searching for a site on our iPhones and seeing a miniature full page view of what the site looks like on a desktop machine? Yes, you can scroll around expanding and pinching the screen, but it’s not an ideal viewing solution.
Why is this important? For two big reasons!
More and more people are using their smart phones as their principal search device. There’s a cool government site that updates in real time the number of people on government websites when you view it – analytics.usa.gov. Over the past 90 days, there were 2.08 Billion visits to US government websites. As I’m writing this right now there are 177,732 folks on sites and this kind of volume gives us a good sample size. What is critical to this discussion is that from a device standpoint 58.8% of visitors are using desktop machines, but 41.2% are on mobile (35.1%) or tablets (6.1%). This is super important because based on many studies it takes very little time for people to form a first impression of your website. One study I was reading by Missouri University of Science and Technology found it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand! And it takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer’s eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.
Conclusion – you should make sure your site works well and is eye catching on all the devices your prospects might use. The top three things you should keep in mind –
Make it easy for visitors to complete their objectives for visiting whether that’s getting your blog posts, your address or learning what you do.
Measure the effectiveness of your website by how easy people can do common tasks. Figure out what’s most important to them and to you, and design it.
Ensure that the mobile template, theme or design you’re using works well for all devices.