Tips for Having a Mobile-First Website and Why It’s Important

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Anyone who has a website knows how important it is to keep it as high up as they can in Google’s search engine rankings. Having a mobile-first website is more important than ever for providing a better user experience, which will support those search rankings. If you want to optimize your website and find out why having a mobile-first website is so important, read on.

Google’s Mobile-First Index and Speed Update

Optimize Website for Google
Google Mobile First Index

In November 2016, Google officially announced they would make changes to their algorithm that determines a website’s search rankings. Google’s Mobile-First Index looks at your website’s mobile version first and takes its signals or ranking points into consideration. Then, it’ll look at your desktop version as a secondary option, or it’ll go straight to the desktop version if there is no mobile site.

On top of this switch, Google announced in early 2018 that it had a Speed Update coming in the near future. This update would factor into your mobile-first ranking factors, and Google would further penalize pages that haven’t updated or conformed to the new standards. People could potentially see a dramatic drop in their ranking, and this is bad for any website. But, there are several key things you can do to optimize your website to be mobile-first. You may even boost your ranking in the process.

Optimizing Your Website to Be Mobile-First

Now that you know why you want a fast mobile-first website, we’ll give you several things you can do to ensure your site isn’t one that Google penalizes.

Mobile First Optimization

Optimize website for mobile first

1. Design or Redesign Your Website with a Mobile Experience in Mind

You have to be able to keep up with the new designs if you want to compete for the top search ranking spots.

  • Switch Out Flash – A lot of different mobile devices don’t support Flash. This can cause lag. If your website currently uses Flash, think about switching it out to HTML 5 or Java because they’re more mobile-friendly.
  • Streamlined Scrolling and Tapping – When you use a mobile device, you typically use your fingers to navigate around websites. You want to make it easy for people to scroll or tap when they’re visiting your website. Also, make sure there isn’t a lot of things for them to accidentally click on.
  • Get Rid of Pop-Ups – There’s no denying that pop-ups are an excellent way to gain leads. However, on a mobile device, pop-ups can cause lag. If your site lags, people are more likely to click away. This can cause a high bounce rate, so get rid of the pop-ups.

2. Speed up and Streamline Your Website

A few years ago, Google’s video, Site Performance for Webmasters said that any e-commerce site should only have a two-second load time. But, any other site should cut this load time down to around half of a second. In order to achieve this lightning-fast load time, you can:

  • Lower the Number of Redirects – A redirect is a method that takes people from one location to the other, and it slows down your page’s speed.

If your website has a lot of redirects going, it can cause it to reload several times, so you want to reduce this rate as much as possible.

  • Ensure You Optimize Your Images – It may be tempting to have large images on your site, but they take longer to load on mobile devices. The fewer bytes your images are, the quicker your website visitors can load your page, so be sure to optimize any images you have.

3. Be Careful What You’re Blocking

In 2015, Google started to send out warnings to websites that actively blocked CSS or JavaScript and warned them to stop blocking them. A lot of websites had previously blocked these two things because websites used to load more efficiently and at a quicker pace.

However, today’s mobile devices are more powerful than ever, and they’re more than capable of handling a lot of information at one time. Also, Google uses CSS and JavaScript files to ensure your website is functioning correctly. Google uses these things to help it categorize your site and rank it.

4. Have Your On-Page Optimization on Point and Avoid Clutter

When you use a mobile device to search, you get far more restricted results than you would with a normal search. This forces you to capitalize on your on-page optimization if you want to keep up with your competition. Make sure that any titles or captions are straight to the point and concise.

Google will get a better understanding of what your page is about and it’ll rank it accordingly.

Clutter is another big thing you want to avoid with a mobile-first website. You have to consider the screen size people have as well as the fact that they’re most likely using their fingers to navigate.

5. Choosing Between Adaptive or Responsive Design

Responsive design allows the user to have a quick and optimized experience, no matter what type of device they’re using.

So, no matter how much you enlarge or shrink the screen you’re viewing the website though, the layout automatically responds and adapts for a seamless experience.

However, responsive design is much harder to accomplish because you have to pay very close attention to how you organize your site and its CSS. Every layout has to have some flexibility to allow it to adapt.

Adaptive design allows the user to have a different layout depending on what type of screen they’re viewing the site through. You could tailor a specific layout to a tablet, one for a PC, and one for a phone.

All the designs are in standby mode until a person visits your site, and then the display pulls the device-specific layout up for the user.

Adaptive design is less flexible, and your site may not load well on several screens. So, you have to keep making new layouts to fit new screen sizes.

E-commerce sites usually do better with an adaptive design. It’s quicker to put together and you get device-specific screens that you can control all of the design elements too.

This ensures your customers are seeing exactly what you want them to see. You can optimize them with targeted content, making it easier to create a seamless user experience.

Rosenthal Web Design

E-commerce and adaptive design

No matter what type of website you have, making it mobile-first should be one of your priorities. These simple tips can help you optimize your website and will help to secure your site’s spot on search engine rankings.