Google has begun sending web masters of non-responsive websites notifications a warning that if they do not update their websites to be more mobile friendly they are risking negative effect on their Google ranking.
This isn’t anything new, Google has been advising web masters about mobile issues for years, but this is a new and dedicated push that is more than likely a sign of changes coming to Google’s search algorithm.
Check out how your website fares using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
Some of the things Google looks for when determining if a website is mobile friendly are:
- The site does not use software like Flash that is not commonly found on mobile devices
- Uses text that is large enough to be readable without having to zoom in
- Content is sized to the screen so users don’t have to scroll or zoom
- Buttons and links are designed so that they can be easily tapped using a finger without zooming in
Google has also added a feature in Webmaster Tools for tracking mobile usability issues. The new report is named the Mobile Usability report and is available within Google Webmaster Tools.
The tool will point out common issues with a mobile site so that you can fix them and improve the experience of your mobile visitors.
So what do you do if you’re site isn’t responsive, and you don’t have a separate mobile website to fall back on?
If your website is built on a CMS such as WordPress the solution is as simple as changing your website theme. This can be a bit of work but is far simpler then starting over from scratch. The vast majority of modern WordPress themes are responsive so it won’t be hard to find a replacement.
Themeforest has a great selection of themes for pretty much any type of website. When browsing for a theme just ensure that the theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress (currently version 4.1). Also ensure the theme has been updated recently, you don’t want to invest in a theme that hasn’t been updated in a few years – future updates are more than likely not going to happen and you’re stuck with a broken theme if future versions of WordPress break your theme.
If you have a custom built HTML website the options are far fewer and more costly. Typically all you can do is rebuild your website in a modern format. There are a few different ways of doing this:
The simplest way is to start over with WordPress using a theme. You can setup everything yourself, or hire a designer to help you. Either way you get a brand new website that’s responsive and has a ton of features available through plugins.
You can also hire a designer to build you a custom website using pretty much any CMS, such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. This can be a pretty involved, time consuming and expensive task but you are pretty much guaranteed to get exactly what you want.
And finally you can use a service like Wix or Squarespace. Both are super easy to use and you can make a pretty decent website for very little money. Be careful though, if you build a website using a service like this, you can’t move your website to another service, you either pay your monthly fees or you lose your website and have to start over.