is your website mobile friendly?

The number of people viewing the web on mobile phones and tablets has exploded over the past couple of years. In fact, more people now use a mobile device than use a desktop.

Mobile websites are no longer a growing trend, they are virtually essential for your business.

These days it is impossible to guess on what sized screen your site will be viewed. Will it be a 47" wide-screen TV or an older iPhone 4? Just because your website will display on a mobile phone doesn't necessarily mean that it is mobile-friendly.

In April 2015, Google changed its mobile search to reward sites that are mobile friendly and penalise those that are not optimised for mobile devices.

There are three commonly used methods of optimising a site for mobile devices, each have advantages and disadvantages. The question is, which is best for your site?

Firstly

Find out if your site is already mobile friendly. Here is a handy tool from Google, the Mobile-Friendly Test (it will open in a new browser window).

Just type your web address into the text box and click the "Analyse" button. In a few seconds the tool will give you the results. If your site passes... great! If it fails, you should probably keep reading.

1/ Responsive Design

Responsive websites, like the one you are looking at right now, "respond" to the size of the screen on which they are being viewed. Basically, the same information - text, images, everything - are displayed on all size screens but are resized and rearranged automatically to fit. If you resize your browser window, you will be able to see this site "respond".

The big advantages of this method are that you have the same web address for every device and, you only have one website to maintain. It is probably the easiest and cheapest in the long run.

The disadvantages are that you may need to have your entire website redesigned to make it responsive plus, it might not be appropriate to try and display everything on a mobile phone that you would on a larger screen.

For most new websites we would usually recommend a responsive design but, if you have a lot of data to display, if your site requires a large amount of bandwidth or, if you need to use a mouse to use your site's features, there could be better alternatives.

2/ Dynamic Design

Also known as "adaptive design", this method involves sending different information to the user's device according to its screen size.

In some circumstances this method can work well, particularly if you really need the highest quality images on all devices. In general though, we believe the disadvantages out-way any benefits. Dynamic sites require much more maintenance, for example, you may need to keep three or four versions of every image on your site at different sizes.

3/ A Separate Mobile Site

This option, as the name suggests, involves creating a separate domain specifically for mobile users. The most common examples of these are m.yourdomain.com.au or mobile.yourdomain.com.au although occasionally you will see yourdomain.com.au/mobile/.

Like with dynamic design, a piece of code is installed on your site that detects the users screen size. If it is less than a certain size, the user is redirected to the mobile site.

If the mobile site is designed cleverly it is possible to use the same information as on your main site. This means that you only have to effectively maintain one site instead of two, at least it is usually possible to minimise the amount of work required.

Your mobile site will require some extra SEO work. For example, we will have to submit a separate XML Sitemap to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.

It will generally be more expensive to build a separate mobile site but can be the ideal solution if you have a very large website, an online shopping site or, if a responsive site is not appropriate for whatever reason.

Lastly

Contact us. We will be more than happy to take a look at your current website, or discuss a new site, and give you our recommendations... no obligation, no charge.

 

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