Get your website Google mobile ready

Google has been sending out warning emails to webmasters for a couple of months about websites that don't work well from mobile phones.  Does that matter?  Well it will if this blog post from the Google webmaster team has anything to say about it, it sure does.

Basically the post suggests that you have until April 21st to get your house in order and make your website mobile ready, after then Google is going to update their search engine and sites that do not work on mobiles will be ignored for people searching for you from phones. These days that might be 40% to 50% of the people searching for you, even more if you run a local business that relies on people being able to find them.  Imagine if you run a shoe repair shop and your rivals have a mobile ready site and you do not, customers out shopping on a Saturday wanting to get their shoes repaired search for a shoe repair shop in the area on their Smartphones, your rivals always come up in the results and you never do!

So what can you do to avoid loosing half your website visitors and potential customers? Luckily there are a few simple changes you can make. Typically this means adding another layout to your website for narrow displays (phone); making the fonts a little larger; make the navigation work vertically - go down to a single column for the content and maybe cut out some of the more massive graphics on your site.

Simple changes like these will at least get you through version one of Google's tests and keep you in the search index.  Expect to then make a more optimised website later on, particulalrly if mobile visitors are important to your business.  That might be making the things that are more important to people on the move, like having easy to find maps front and centre, while pushing some of the more aspirational content down the site.

Want to know where you stand?  Google has very nicely provided a tool to test your site with. Go here and add your website address to get an instant appraisal.

If you get bad news then hopefully your existing website supplier can help you sort your site out.  If they cannot help then get in touch and we might be able to make some recommendations for you.

About Simon Hemington

Simon sets the business and creative direction for The Boffin Lab.

He has over 20 years industry experience having worked for both small technology companies and giant multi-nationals. He built his first websites around 1996 and since then has been involved in making systems both big and small.

His guiding principle is always to make things that work as well as they look.

Outside of the lab Simon is a keen cyclist and triathlete.  If you spot him at a race please say hi and get ready to talk tech.

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Simon Hemington