A friend came up to me yesterday and said, “Jim, I just don’t know if my website is ready “for all the mobile traffic that I’m starting to see.
“It looks okay on my phone, “but can you look at it on your phone?”
And it got me thinking. It’s really important that we have this conversation about being mobile-ready.
Here are some reasons why I truly believe that we need to talk about this. Because realistically more people than ever access some research on their time now. Not typically on a desktop device, they’re on their handheld device. Google even recently moved towards a mobile-first search index. That means that they’re not even looking at the desktop version of your site anymore, they’re only looking at how it shows up on your mobile phone.
And when we take a step back and we look at the global trend, all of the numbers are showing that mobile traffic is simply on the rise. It’s more accessible, it’s easier for the end-user, and it doesn’t require the big purchase as it used to of big massive desktop computers. So let’s talk about the top ways to be sure that you’re going to be ready for mobile website traffic.
Now the first is probably the simplest of them all. Google offers a mobile-friendly research tool. You can plug your website in and it will give you a simple answer whether or not you’re friendly for mobile. Now, if you are, and you come back and it says yes, you’re good to go, that doesn’t mean you have to stop. But it does give you a minute to pause and think about, great, now what can I do to just refine it? How can I stand out from the competition? It uses a lot of various signals to provide simply the best opinion about a confidence score, judging by everything that Google knows about your site, about user experience, and about the way users interact on their mobile devices, it’s giving you that score. And that will give you a simple starting point to know whether or not you truly are mobile-ready. Now if it comes back and says you’re not, what you’re going to get is clear reasoning, and it’s going to point you in the right direction so you know what steps to take next.
And the second thing I want you to do is to view your site on different devices. Post it on social, or ask friends to take screenshots or video recordings. After all, they’re going to be your biggest critic anyway, so you may as well put ’em to work for you. You don’t even have to stop there. You can go to a local mall, you can go to your Apple Store, Microsoft Store. Check out your site on a lot of different phones. You can pick ’em up, you can twist ’em, you can turn ’em. You can interact with your site and you can see what it’s like on different devices. Additionally, if you don’t have those local resources, you can sign up for a free trial with a service like BrowserStack, where BrowserStack will actually let you take your website and try it on a variety of different devices, operating systems, and combinations of both. That will give you a really great idea of simply how long it takes to load your site on different environments, and how your site is going to look and respond on all of these different devices.
And the final thing I want you to do is to focus on the speed of your website loading. Now, not everybody can afford really robust, really distributed hosting for their website, and that’s okay. You’re not going to be at a deficit when you don’t have the fastest site. But I will say, when you do have a faster site, you have a competitive advantage. Not just for Google to recommend you higher because it’s one of the bigger ranking signals that they use, but simply you’re doing what’s best for the user. And when we operate on Wi-Fi most of the time, we tend to not think about how long it takes for sites to load other than they’re slow or they’re fast. But most people that visit us are on the go. Consider if you’re out on a marketing event or a networking event and somebody pulls up your website. They may not be on Wi-Fi. So do you want them to actually be sitting there or standing there waiting for your content to load? Probably not. So if you have a large movie or images in the background that isn’t fully optimized, or you just never truly paid attention to how much is loading on your site, it might be time. Anything that you can cut out that isn’t needed, I suggest cut it out. And anything you can do to consolidate those images or compress things down just to truly add a layer of optimization to your site is only going to help that site speed. Now Google also has a site speed tool, and this is going to allow you to get a simple score from zero to a hundred. Very few ever actually get to a full hundred. However, you can aim for about 75% and all the suggestions they give are great.
Those are my top tips for being ready for mobile traffic for the years to come. If you have any other tips, please leave ’em in a comment below the YouTube video above so I can share ’em with this community.