Insurance Marketing in 2017 > Mobile-Friendly Site Design
On April 21, 2015, we experienced what webmasters and web developers have dubbed “Mobilegeddon.” The world may not have ended, but previous ranking criteria did leave and was replaced by a new addition to the search algorithm. This update caused the algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly sites and reduce the visibility of sites that weren’t fully optimized for mobile users. A second update to the algorithm was released in May 2016, which further increased the ranking success of mobile-friendly sites and made non-mobile-friendly sites fall even lower in the rankings.
The main purpose of Google’s updates has been to give mobile users a better search and browsing experience. In 2016, a Hitwise report found that 58 percent of all searches are done on mobile devices, and this year it was reported that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches. In fact, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and 69 percent of all digital media time is spent on mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. With such a large potential customer base looking for your business on a mobile device and search engines rewarding sites that take mobile browsing into account, there’s no excuse to not have a fully-optimized mobile site in 2017. Here are some guidelines to creating an effective mobile site.
Think about mobile-friendly design elements.
Looking at something on a small phone screen or a tablet will give you a vastly different experience from looking at it from a large desktop computer, so your mobile site design should take into account the size difference. Your text should be reasonably-sized so mobile users can read it without having to zoom, and site content should be sized to fit a mobile screen so users will not have to zoom or scroll horizontally to find what they are looking for. All site links and buttons should be spaced and sized reasonably so users can easily click on what they are looking for, and you should avoid using Flash animations and other software that generally is not used on mobile devices. Because space is limited on mobile devices, make the key information easy to spot and find. The key to an effective mobile site is utilizing responsive design, as a responsive website will adjust to be easily viewable across differently-sized devices.
Make sure your site functions just as well on mobile.
Regardless of the device you’re using, you want to be able to quickly access the information you’re looking for. More than half of mobile users would leave a site with a longer loading time than 3 seconds, and 90 percent of people would leave a poorly-designed site with a long loading time that didn’t allow them to quickly find what they were looking for. In spite of this, the average loading time for a mobile site in 2017 is 22 seconds. Many pages take much longer to load on mobile, so make sure to regularly check your site’s loading time and work on cutting that down, as a long loading time will hurt your customer base and search engine performance.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, make sure that your mobile site also includes a visible “desktop” or “view full site” button. Mobile optimization is important for search engine performance and makes your site easier for some mobile users, but other visitors may be more comfortable using your desktop site, and you want to make sure everyone has the option to use what is most convenient for them.
Regularly test your site.
As we mentioned above, requirements are constantly changing, which requires that you regularly inspect and update your site to ensure that you are staying current. Another important detail is remembering the wide variety of mobile devices in use today. iPhones may be popular, but a wide segment of your potential customer base is likely viewing your site on an Android phone, or a Windows phone, or one of the many iterations of tablets that are commercially available. Make sure your site is optimized for every single mobile device you can think of – you don’t want to automatically alienate a segment of your potential audience just because you were careless.
In addition, we recommend you make use of some of Google’s tools to test whether your mobile site is up to par. Some of these include:
- Google Search Console – This is a free service that Google offers for webmasters to see how their site is performing in search engine results. In addition to helping you monitor your site’s performance and maintain your site, you can specifically check how your site is performing for mobile visitors.
- Webmaster Mobile Guide – This regularly-updated guide is a great starting point to developing a mobile site, and offers several other guides to topics like mobile SEO and mobile site design.
- Customize Your Website Software – This offers guides to utilizing customization software like WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, Blogger, and more.
- Mobile-Friendly Test – This service will check your URL and inform you whether or not it is mobile-friendly, and provide more detailed reports about loading times and any other potential issues.
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