I’m Going Mobile

“While we “think” our website will be good on any platform (desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc.) many times it isn’t. So, if we’re focused on just one of those “streets,” we may not be “going mobile.”

Frank Deardurff

I look at a lot of websites throughout the year. After all, I am a web guy, and that’s what I do. While checking sites over for my custom- ers or potential clients, I go mobile. Queue the Who classic song, “I can stop in any street and talk with people that we meet goin’ mobile, keep me moving…”.

While we “think” our website will be good on any platform (desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc.) many times it isn’t. So, if we’re focused on just one of those “streets,” we may not be “going mobile.”

Yes, it may take a little extra work to check the different platforms to make sure it functions as you expect but if you don’t, you won’t be reaching all of your potential customers if it’s not working properly.

In a report from perficient.com, statistics show mobile devices drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites in 2020, up from 57% in 2019. Desktops were responsible for 35.7% of all visits in 2020, and tab- lets drove the remaining 3.3% of visitors.

So, if you’re not “going mobile” you may be missing out on 61% of your market! That being said your site will show on a mobile device but is it optimized to look and function properly on a mobile device?

Google Thinks It’s Important Too.

As of March 2021, Google has switched preference to mobile first indexing. In a definition from Google’s developer platform, mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majori- ty of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Google- bot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.

That in itself should show how important it is to make sure your website is mobile friendly.

Some people will create a mobile version of their site and will send mobile traffic to those pages. They do this by testing to see which device is viewing the site and redirecting to that version. To me that seems like a lot of work.

There are many website themes that will allow you to style your web- site for the different devices on the same page, allowing you to tweak spacing, font sizes, and images based on the browser needs.

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

You should check if your website is mobile friendly. You can do this by visiting Google’s mobile testing tool at: https://search.google. com/test/mobile-friendly.

Running this tool allows Google to index your page and show you their results. IF the site can’t be tested, Google provides a link to give suggestions on how to improve.

What Should You Watch For?

  • Use a theme that has mobile friendly compatibility. These themes provide settings that help make sure you look good on all devices.
  • Be aware of sizes. Image sizes are important. Don’t upload a photo from your phone and allow the theme to adjust size. It will still be an extremely large file. Use a tool such as tinypng. com or tinyjpg.com to compress the image file size but start by resizing the height and width to get it close to the size needed for your page. You can also use a plugin on your website that compresses images as you load them.
  • Chunk your text. If it looks like too much text to read, most of the time, it won’t get read. You have to throw out what you learned in English class when it comes to online marketing. Try to keep your text to paragraphs of 3-5 lines.
  • Be Cautious of fixed sizes. This one is a hard one for me to adjust to as I like things to be pixel perfect. Sometimes the mobile device will adjust to pixel sizes but as we move forward, it’s a good idea to use different measurements for different elements. In saying that, I realize that could be an article for another day. We generally use pixels for everything, but percentages are best for images. Em’s are best for text, and Viewport Height (VH) and View- port Width (VW) are best for block sizes.
  • Padding and margins. When using good themes almost every element on your webpage has padding and margin settings. Be cautious of just setting these to 0 as it will cause the image or text to slam up against the side of the mobile device making it hard to read the text. It’s best to set margin and padding based on the device. Many themes have three icons to allow for specific settings for a set device such as desktop, mobile, and tablet.
  • Menus and menu spacing. This is pretty important. Again, the right theme will have a setting for mobile menus. It is important to make use of those. Also be sure not to reduce the spacing on menus. Doing so makes them harder to click. Yet another article coming soon on ADA compliance where this is a key factor. ADA stands for American Disability Act.

Make a Plan of Action

While that sounds like a lot to remember, you may not be as far off as you think. And it’s well worth it if 60% of your market may be using mobile devices to access your online content. It is good to start with checking your web analytics or web stats to see how your visitors are reaching your site. While the stats and reports men- tioned in this article are national and global standards, your market may use a different device more often, but I still highly recommend making sure your content is good on all devices if at all possible.

Don’t let all of the details stress you out. The saying paralysis by analysis is a very true factor for many online businesses. They don’t know where to start so they start researching and get lost in all of the information—start somewhere and move forward. If necessary, find a coach that can answer questions or even assist you with a plan of action and hold you accountable. Working with or asking for help from a person or team is not a sign of weakness but actually a wise thing to do. Remember—work smarter and not harder! You can spend an hour with a coach that could save you hundreds of hours of self-searching and mental abuse to your wits.

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Frank Deardurff

An early love for graphics brought me online over 20 years ago which lead me to consume a vast knowledge in marketing, conversion, design and various types of web technologies. That information led to becoming a web master, serial entrepreneur, author, coach, trainer and That One Web Guy! FrankDeardurff.com

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