Smart phones are now an integral part of everyday life as people seek to be more connected when on the go. With more traffic to sites coming from mobile devices it’s now more important than ever to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. There are two main reasons as to why this should be done:

Firstly, Google are getting stricter on the way they rank websites in their results. Since the mobile algorithm update Google will now penalise your mobile rankings if it does not consider your website to be mobile-friendly.  Secondly, the other reason for ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly comes down to your users and your target audience. With the advancements in technology in recent years users expect to be able to navigate around a site easily on their mobile devices; if your site is not mobile-friendly then you run the very real risk losing precious sales and enquiries.  If you haven’t looked at how mobile-friendly your site is already there are a few ways you can quickly check.

1. Google’s mobile friendly test

One of the quickest ways to check is to make use of the free mobile friendly test provided by Google. This handy tool puts the URL from your site through the mobile algorithm to test whether or not it’s mobile-friendly. Although the tool doesn’t examine your entire site, it’s a great indicator of how Google views your web pages and lets you know which areas of your site need improving, if any.

A couple of the common issues are due to links being too close together as well as content not resizing correctly to fit on the screen. Remember, this tool shows you how Google views your site page rather than how your users view it. If your site is being viewed as not friendly by Google, then your page ranking will likely suffer.

2. Google’s PageSpeed insights

When it comes to being mobile-friendly it’s no longer just about how good your site looks. Page load speed is now playing an increasingly important role in whether or not your site meets Google’s page speed criteria. This free tool, Google’s Pagespeed Insights, is a convenient way to check your page load speed.

Once you have entered  your URL  and hit ‘analyse’ your page will be put through Google’s algorithm to test it’s load speed. You’ll be given a list of results and the complexity of repairs depends on how well your site performs. The tool  will give you a list of areas you need to improve, things to consider improving and where your site does well. There are a number of reasons as to why your page load speed is being hindered, however the three most common reasons are generally the following:

  • Render-blocking CSS and JavaScript – by having JavaScript and CSS sitting above your page content instead of in the external files it causes your page content to be pushed further down. This means it takes Google longer to read your page therefore increasing the  page load speed. The easy fix to this is to make sure that you keep your CSS and JavaScript in external files which are linked to at the head of your website.
  • Unoptimized images – images can take up a lot of space on your server and the bigger the file size the longer it takes for the image to be loaded onto your page. In order to help address this you should make sure to optimize your images in order to reduce file sizes. This can be done through scaling your images down to an appropriate size as well as compressing images before uploading them.
  • JavaScript requires minifying, the process of removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how the resource is processed by the browser, e.g. code comments and formatting, and so on. With flashier JavaScript being used to help provide a richer online experience it’s easy for JavaScript files to build up: in turn this increases your page load speed. In order to combat this you’ll want to look into minifying your JavaScript files as doing so will reduce file sizes and therefore help to speed your site up.

3. Analytics data

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for monitoring your site and the traffic it receives: the dashboard is useful for demonstrating how your visitors are interacting with your site. The first place to look is at the mobile overview section which you can find under ‘Audience’.

Here you can see the data for desktop, tablet and mobile, allowing you to easily compare the three together. It’s useful for monitoring the volume of your traffic coming from each device.

The key thing to look out for when comparing how each device category interacts with your site is to look at the bounce rate. In analytics terms, the bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who leave the site without exploring the site past the first page they land on. Typically you want to be looking for a low bounce rate, as a low bounce rate means that there’s a high website visitor engagement. If your bounce rate is high for your mobile device category then it’s a good indicator that your site needs to be optimised for mobile users.

Even though Google might be deeming your site as mobile-friendly via their testing tools, the content and design might not be providing the best experience for the mobile visitors, hence why they might be ’bouncing’ off the site and why you will be losing a potential sale.  Improving the overall mobile user experience might  be something as small as making your call to actions more noticeable, which is one  solution, or it may be that your site requires more work such as a mobile-specific redesign  in order to appeal to potential  mobile traffic.

4. Test on your mobile

Perhaps one of the most overlooked ways of testing is to make use of your own mobile device. It’s quick to do and by spending five minutes looking around your site you’ll get a good idea of how well adapted your site is to mobile use. You will need to clear your cache and browsing data before testing, which ensures that you see the most recent version of your site.

If you are testing your site on your mobile device then there are key things to look out for:

  • Does your content fit on the page?
  • Is anything disappearing off the screen?
  • Is the text readable in different lights?
  • Can you read the text when in a dark room with a bright light?
  • Are links easily clickable?
  • Are links visible and readable?
  • Is the key information, e.g. contact details, readily available on the landing screen?
  • Are the ‘buy’ or ’get in touch’ buttons big enough and enticing enough?

It’s also important to be mindful of appropriate image sizes when checking if your site is mobile-friendly, as large images will push content further down the page. This means more scrolling for users which may discourage them from reading your entire web page. If you have friends, family and colleagues with different phone models, then it’s always a good idea to ask them to look at your site on their mobile devices too.

Furthermore, you could always invest in mobile specific CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) testing. Here at MagePress we know that the key to successful CRO is to run the right tests, understand the findings and then implement them. For example, with the right software, we can create two variants of a web page, one will stay the same but the other might include aspects of the site that you want to test or improve, such as a different colour ‘buy’ button or more streamlined content. Both versions will receive an equal volume of traffic and after the period of testing we will analyse both pages to identify which web page either drove more enquires, sales or engagements. There are a variety of CRO tests you can conduct to improve your site and it’s something that should be done regularly to help you improve your mobile conversion rates.

5. Which is best?

All of these free tests are great tools on their own to see how mobile friendly your site is. However, if you are willing to invest the time, then they are best used collectively. This allows you to get a more detailed and complete idea of exactly how mobile-friendly your site presently is.

At MagePress we recommend that it is something you should monitor, especially when making changes to your site. To avoid being caught out we would advise that you run these simple tests on a regular basis, ideally every month routinely. If you’ve done any development work then make sure to run them as part of your post-launch checks.

If you are interested in our web development services, or if you feel you need help with optimising your existing mobile offering, then get in touch with our web development team.