“Joan” recently contacted me to talk about her website. She wanted to know if having a mobile-friendly site, one that adapted to mobile devices, was really that important.
Are you kidding?
Google’s 2015 algorithm change, Mobilegeddon, made it clear that they would cater to the growing number of mobile users by enhancing the mobile-search experience. The importance of marketing to desktop users is not necessarily diminishing, but mobile use is increasing. Those sites that aren’t mobile friendly will sink to the bottom of the search results while the mobile-friendly sites swim to the top. Mobile has reached 63% of all traffic in the US; it’s reasonable to expect it to reach a full 2/3 of traffic by the end of 2018. Think of it this way: if your competitors have great mobile sites and you don’t, theirs will show up higher in search results than yours.
Old, dated sites should be laid to rest
Websites have a shelf-life. While you may be able to salvage the content and images, it’s often the case that these are no longer relevant. Joan admitted that her business had evolved, and her five-year old website was no longer reflective of the company she owned today, and we began planning her new site.
Our website development process included:
- Keyword research. This helped us determine the search terms people are using in our business sector. In some cases, this research helps drive the navigation.
- WordPress. We looked at other platforms but ultimately decided on WordPress. We chose a template design with an eye towards clear, accessible navigation.
- Generating new content. We identified the site’s architecture, adding a few new landing pages. I drafted all of the site’s content for her review. While there’s a trend toward providing short paragraph, the reality is that longer pages rank better in search engines–300 words is a good target.
- Image upgrade. Joan’s old site had little thumbnail images that would not work in our new design, so I selected potential photostock images for each page and saved them to a board her review. We scheduled a photoshoot to get new images of her and her team.
A few other things to keep in mind
- Size matters.Text should be big enough to read; buttons large enough to be able to click. If your mobile visitors have to manipulate their screens, zooming in or out, you’ve probably just lost a potential customer.
- Image size also matters. If your images are too big, your site won’t load. If they’re too small, they’re a distraction rather than an enhancement to the user experience.
- Website conversion. In some cases, we’ve can convert old sites into WordPress’ mobile-friendly format, but generally it means starting over from scratch. New content, images and design.
A final thought: If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can bet your biggest competitors’ sites are. For many small businesses, a website is their primary marketing spend; it’s an important investment that deserves careful planning and effort to keep it relevant.