Is your website a bridge to nowhere. In 1998, hurricane Mitch struck Honduras and altered a river’s path. The Choluteca bridge that spanned the river was left high and dry. It’s not seeing any traffic these days. Over the last few years a series of torrential storms have hit the world of online marketing, leaving many businesses with websites that are bridges to nowhere.
Mobile Web Design Is No Longer a "Feature" - It's a Best Practice
It’s now more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly website. Mobile-friendliness impacts the user experience and your rank and position in search results. In July 2013, Google announced a penalty for websites that are not optimized for mobile search. In November 2014, Google announced a ranking boost for sites that are mobile-friendly.
Here’s what this means: All other factors being equal, your mobile-friendly website will outperform your competitors non-mobile site in search results on mobile devices. (An argument can be made that it will out perform your competitors in desktop search as well, given Google’s “Mobile First” philosophy.)For businesses in mountain resort communities, this is a very big deal. Studies show that 85% of the guests who visit your store, shop, restaurant – check you out online before doing so. Of those, our data shows - in the case of restaurants - 70% your customers find you on their smart phones.
In 2014, mobile and tablet search volume overtook desktop search. Pundits in the search industry project that 70% of all searches on Google will take place on mobile devices by the end of 2015. By the time this storm is over, the rivers of Web traffic will have moved and many websites will become bridges to nowhere.
So, how can you be proactive now to ensure your mountain business has a chance to compete in search? Here are a couple options you can use to stay current with best practices in mobile usability: 1) Responsive Design, and 2) Dedicated Mobile Site.
Responsive Website Design
Simply put, a responsive website is a ‘smart’ website that adjusts itself to fit device on which it is being viewed. The website reorganizes its content to make it easy for users to access information. Here’s a good example of a responsive website: http://SternRubber.com. View this website on your desktop computer, then on your smart phone. Notice how the website presents the same content on both, but it reorganizes the content to improve the mobile user’s experience. The responsive design approach is Google’s preferred mobile solution as it offers visitors the same content no matter what device they use to access it.
Dedicated Mobile Site
A dedicated mobile site is just that - a mobile version of your site. This is a more complicated and costly approach for going mobile as it means you have to purchase and maintain two websites. This approached is often used by spammers to present search engines with one site for SEO purposes, while presenting users with site with different content. That’s one reason why the dedicated mobile site has to be done carefully to satisfy Google’s mobile expectations. Done incorrectly, the dedicated mobile site can actually work against you on many levels.
A Short Term Fix – Mobile Landing Page
A mobile landing page is a single page optimized for mobile on your non-mobile website. When users come to your website, they are directed to this page if they are accessing your site from a mobile device. This single page offers basic information about your business, contact information, and directions to your brick and mortar store. While not the best solution, it is a workable, cost-effective intermediary step towards a mobile friendly site. Eventually, you will need to redesign your site to be responsive, or create a mobile version of your site.
Test Your Site
Submit your website to Google’s Mobile Testing Tool to see if its passes the mobile-friendly test. (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/) If you get a thumbs up from Google – way to go! If you are flagged as being non-mobile-friendly, you will want to address this before your website becomes a bridge to nowhere. Talk to us and let us show you how we can help. Unlike most of our competitors, building and promoting responsive websites has been our standard practice since 2013. Mobile design is not a feature – it’s best practice