It is a good thing prognosticators are often 100% wrong.
It is a good thing disaster movies are exaggerations of things that could happen instead of cautionary tales.
Could the San Andreas Fault act up again? Sure…
Is the San Andreas Fault likely to take down all of California and shear the State of California in half across its fault line….Probably not.
You have probably heard of Mobilegeddon. The good news, it didn’t really happen.
Remember the Y2k bug? Apparently, computers had not been designed with the forethought to handle the changeover from the number 1999 to the number 2000. Some were predicting that the entire economy would collapse as a result of this simple oversight.
Of course, we all remember that nothing terrible actually happened on January 1, 2000 – the economy was fine (It would actually take banks making ill-advised bets on very bad investments over a decade later for the economy to collapse).
When Google suggested that in 2015 it would start to penalize sites that were not mobile friendly by erasing them from mobile results, the Digital Soothsayers were out in droves predicting the end of the world as we knew it Thank goodness, once again, they were wrong.
In fairness, Google was pushing the Mobilegeddon story, to some extent, itself. It is possible nothing happened because they never got the new algorithm exactly right through testing, or that they changed their minds, or that they communicated their intent poorly. But, whatever the reason. Mobilegeddon ended up being more of a whimper than bang.
Thankfully, it was not the end of the world….And, you certainly should not panic. However, there were and are still very good reasons for you to optimize your site for mobile. In fairness, Google was pushing the Mobilegeddon story, to some extent, itself. It is possible nothing happened because they never got the new algorithm exactly right through testing, or that they changed their minds, or that they communicated their intent poorly. But, whatever the reason. Mobilegeddon ended up being more of a whimper than bang.
Thankfully, it was not the end of the world….And, you certainly should not panic. However, there were and are still very good reasons for you to optimize your site for mobile.
Why You Should Optimize for Mobile
Regardless of what Google does, mobile is where people go when they have purchase intent. ComScore found that 29% of all searches are done on mobile devices. Local Search Association did a study that determined that up to 60% of all search done to find local businesses are done via mobile devices.
You know this is true, most likely you make your own restaurant reservations, movie ticket purchases, and map searches all at the same time from your mobile phone (One of my friends drives with his phone attached to his windshield and gives it voice commands through Bluetooth so he can immediately do whatever he wants to do – even using text to voice to author and edit documents).
We are becoming a mobile device driven world. Making money in business is about being in a place where you can be an obvious choice to your potential customers. Wherever they are looking, you want to be. You want them to be able to find you easily wherever they are and on what ever devices they are using. And, once they find your site, you want them to be able to easily navigate and find exactly what they are looking for.
Remember search results are a competitive space. The competition between you and your competitors is zero-sum. Forget about Mobilegeddon, if your competitor appears in close proximity to you in results but has a site that is much more mobile friendly, you will lose business.
If you clicked on two high search results from your mobile phone and one site was easy to navigate, answered your needs, and was intuitive and the other site was hard to view. You would choose the site that was well designed for mobile. Good site design has a leveling effect, it allows your company to compete with other companies on the merits of your products and services.
So What Should You Do?
It all comes down to one business goal. Be where your customers are.
You may not personally like social media – but, because your customers are on social media, you still have a Twitter and Facebook page for your business. You might not use Google yourself, but because the vast majority of human beings search on Google, you optimize your site for Google. Now, you also have to optimize for Mobile….Mobile is where your customers look for you.
So, how do you optimize for mobile?
The best way to ensure your site appears at its best on whatever screen it appears on is to invest in what is called ‘Responsive Design.’ A responsive site knows to respond differently to different addresses based on the information contained in the request. In essence, a responsive design site knows to respond with different information to different types of devices. The site doesn’t rewrite the information, it just knows that certain devices have different optimal text, resolution, and font requirements and adjusts those elements accordingly.
This does not happen by magic, algorithms are basically a set of very complicated if-then equations – they are written to be responsive. So, if your site host gets an address indicating a mobile device it follows the set of instructions for that particular device set. It is like a shoe store having a bunch of different sizes available and grabbing and delivering the correct size for each particular customers foot.
There are several reasons responsive design is a great way to design (or redesign) your site, but the most important is that it will deliver your information in the best way available for each device it communicates with.
If you need more motivation, Google rewards responsive design as a ranking factor.
A few other suggestions you should consider.
It is a bad idea to design a separate mobile site with parallel URL’s. Google doesn’t like it and it is not as adaptive as responsive design.
You should also stay away from Flash design and pictures that do not optimize well on mobile devices.
Overcoming Design Fatigue
This whole process might seem frustrating to you. Your original purchase of your domain and host was probably expensive. You probably have gone through several design and support firms. You have probably had to pony up for several redesigns of your site. You now have to constantly worry about updating your social media pages.
Believe it or not, this has not been the fault of web-design firms or poor foresight. The pace of technological change during this period of history has been unprecedented.
We can hardly imagine our lives without our smartphones, but, in reality, smartphones (as we know them) have been around for less than a decade. Google itself is only a teenager (founded in 1998). Given how much has happened with the technology around us, it is not surprising that upgrades have to happen quickly.
Mobilegeddon may not have happened, but the need to optimize for mobile is still a sound business goal.
Your website has most likely expanded your business. A good site often generates as much or more business than a brick and mortar location. So, just like you should update, refurbish, and maintain your brick and mortar location you should do the same with your site. If you need help, or have any questions about how to make your site more mobile friendly, Ring Ring Marketing is here for you!