The Internet revolution took many business owners by surprise, and businesses large and small were notoriously slow at taking advantage of the online world and the transformative power it was able to provide. Unfortunately, many of those same businesses made a similar mistake when it became clear that smart phones and tablets would soon become a major part of the web browsing market.
They were slow to adapt their websites and blogs, and their customers found navigating their sites on those tiny screens difficult at best and impossible at worst. As a result, they lost out on millions of dollars in combined business and many saw their web traffic plummet as algorithms changed to reward mobile friendly designs and punish websites that were difficult to navigate on smart phones and tablets.
You do not have to make that same mistake. No matter what the size of your business or what niche you operate in, making your web properties mobile-friendly is one of the smartest ways to gain a competitive advantage. While your larger competitors are figuring out how to navigate the new mobile world, you will be harnessing the power of responsive web design and gaining new customers every time someone conducts an online search.
Know the Standards
Many business owners complain about Google and their algorithm changes. They whine about their search engine rankings dropping and their online business plummeting, and they blame the search engine giant for their sudden problems.
The truth is that Google is less secretive than many of the naysayers claim. In fact, Google publishes its recommendations right on the web at the Google Design Standards page. They may not share any proprietary secrets or tell you exactly how their search algorithms work, but they do provide a list of best practices you can incorporate into your web design.
Test Your Templates
You do not have to build your websites from scratch, and chances are you do not. Instead, you use templates, ready-made formats designed to make building a website easier.
That template is a vital part of your website, and it is important to test its code for responsiveness and speed on mobile devices. Testing the performance of every part of your website design, from the tiniest snippets of code to the templates you rely on, is an essential part of making your web properties more mobile friendly.
Keep It Clean
If you want to see a clean design in action, just go to the Google homepage. You will see a plain white screen accented by a tiny search box. That should give you some idea of the kind of design Google is looking for.
You do not have to go to extremes and remove all the text and images from your website, but keeping the design as simple and clean as possible is more important than ever in the age of responsive web design. Removing non-essential elements, keeping image sizes to a minimum and simplifying the navigation of your website are all smart moves when making your website more responsive and mobile friendly.
The online world is always changing, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the plus side, the changing nature of the Internet gives you a chance to make things better and attract more visitors. At the same time, the shifting sands make it harder to maintain your place and your customers. You cannot do anything to slow down the pace of the web, but you can learn to adapt with it, and making your website more mobile friendly is a great place to start.