Mobile First – the Future of Website Design
According to Stone Temple, mobile and tablet devices accounted for 63 percent of Internet usage worldwide as opposed to 37 percent for desktops. It is prognosticated that mobile device activity will reach 2/3 majority by the end of the year. There is no denying hand-held devices are quickly becoming the go-to for Internet access.
While everyone should be watching statistics like this, Google has been paying very close attention. So much so, that the company indexes mobile-friendly content differently than non-mobile friendly content. In addition to ranking mobile SERPs (search engine results page) differently, mobile will also be the primary index.
Why the change? Google processes over 40,000 search queries per second and more than half of those searches are completed on a mobile device. Couple that with the fact that digital device growth centers on handheld and wearable devices and you begin to see the move is a natural progression of Internet use.
This shift has real implications for businesses and their digital presence, and it begins with a mobile first philosophy. Here are just a few ways to embrace this trend when designing a site.
Mobile first is now the norm
When smartphones first came on the scene many businesses created separate websites to accompany their desktop website. You could easily tell the difference between the two because you would see an “m” before the URL (m.companyURL.com). These sites typically were limited in content and structure. Today a device’s capability exponentially grows annually. Two sites are no longer necessary and having limited, different content on a separate mobile site could negatively affect your overall search engine rankings.
Responsive design is a must
Google now places more value on content that is mobile friendly. This means websites (and their content) that are not responsive or adaptive (and implemented according to Google’s standards) will receive lower search rankings. A website should display the same content, regardless of the device. Don’t know if your site meets these criteria? Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Performance and speed
As people search the Internet on a phone or tablet more than a computer or laptop, mobile speed and load times are more important than ever. Gone are the days when we cut slow mobile view performance some slack. If a site doesn’t load or display properly on a device, it is imperative that you fix this issue. Not only because it’s a poor user experience, but that user experience will actually result in a lower Google website ranking. Better performance means optimizing pictures and code or using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), a Google-backed technology that speeds up load time. Google says AMP is not a ranking signal, but it is crazy fast.
As a society, we have successfully become attached to our phones/tablets and they are increasingly becoming our preferred device for accessing the Internet. Now more than ever, how a site functions on the small screen can/will have a direct impact on your overall website’s success. Give us a call to learn more about this mobile first movement.
A simple checklist for your website development project
There are many elements that go into a great site design and user experience. Here’s a short list we always take into consideration when constructing a site.
- Identify your site’s goal
- Design for small screens
- Keep it simple
- Optimize your images and artwork
- Make sure page content is unique
- Keep your blog on your site
- Be sure to link your social media accounts
- Pay attention to your metadata, if you don’t know what this is, call us
- Add site analytics and monitor your website’s activity
Need help? Let’s talk.