Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
Sally Consumer is an active Internet user. She uses it to find coffee shops, restaurants, doctors, and lawyers. More often than not, her searches take place on her phone or her tablet. If your website or blog loads slowly or doesn't fit the smaller screen, she will move on to a more responsive or mobile friendly website.
Google has long known of Sally's search habits and has decreed that its search robots will include "mobile friendliness" as a ranking signal. This means that site pages that can't fit comfortably on the smaller screens will downgrade in search rankings.
How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?
Ever efficient Google has created a website where you can enter your web page URL or web address to test it. Find and click on the Mobile Friendly Test, enter your web address, and you will quickly see the results. If you fail the test, contact your web developer or website host to find out how to make your website responsive or mobile friendly.
What is a mobile friendly design?
A mobile friendly website is designed to work the same way across all devices. A website with no usability concerns, regardless of whether it's being viewed on a phone, tablet, or laptop, is mobile friendly. If your website, like most law firm websites, is basic with few navigation drop-downs and no animation, then it may pass the test.
The key features of a mobile friendly website are:
- Static content that rarely changes
- Simplified navigation
- Small display images
- Compatibility across multiple devices
What about a responsive design?
A responsive website is one that changes based on Sally Consumer's needs and the device she's using to conduct her search. With responsive design, text and images change from, for example, a three-column layout to a single column display. Unnecessary images are hidden so they don't compete with the more important information on the smaller display.
The key features of a responsive website are:
- Content changes
- Abbreviated navigation
- Improved images
- A uniform look across multiple browsers
Which do I need?
A simplified mobile friendly site will give a consistent website experience across all devices. If you don't have a large mobile audience (less than 35%), your site is simple with mostly text and images, and your picture sizes are small and easy to load, a mobile friendly site is for you.
Consider a responsive site if over 35% of your web traffic is on mobile devices, your website content is complex, has features that are difficult to use on a phone or tablet, or you want your website to appear up-to-date. Know that a responsive design takes expertise, proper planning, and a larger budget.
Sally Consumer is in a hurry and she wants to solve her problems now. She will quickly pass by websites that load slowly and are hard to navigate on her mobile devices. To be sure your website is the one she picks, test it for mobile friendliness and make any necessary adjustments.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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