OK! So Google is Forcing my Hand. How Best to Become Mobile-Friendly?
We all know that having a business website is necessary if you want to be successful. But having a website that looks good and works well on a computer is not enough. It has to look good and function well on mobile devices. The percentage of internet searches performed on mobile devices is steadily increasing and Google is implementing its next step to make search results useful to mobile device users and to help your site become mobile-friendly.
You have three choices if you do not want to be left behind when Google unrolls its new search algorithm later this month
A. Separate mobile website
With its own web address, which can be a subdomain of your current domain, a separate mobile website will be displayed to visitors accessing your site on a mobile device. For example, instead of seeing your regular website at mycompany.com, a code in your home page will refer them to m.mycompany.com or mobile.mycompany.com.
If your budget is tight at the moment, this could be the option for you, as it is cheap and beats having nothing. You are safest to consider it temporary until you can afford a better option that does not require double maintenance. If you are going to do it, do it NOW to beat the April 21 rollout, as it requires building the entire mobile website from scratch.
B. Responsive website
Instead of referring visitors to a separate site, a responsive website displays differently for mobile device users. Most responsive websites run on a CMS platform like WordPress. With a responsive website, there is no need to start from scratch, as all content, graphics, and SEO are shared. If you have a CMS website that is not mobile-friendly, updating your theme may solve the problem. If not, you should choose a responsive theme.
Wondering is it possible to make an HTML website responsive without a complete redesign? Yes. BUT, Google loves CMS. Is it a good time to consider changing to a CMS website? Yes!
The drawback of a responsive website is that it lacks buttons that mobile users love and use to locate and call businesses with the press of a thumb. The good news is, adding some code can create these, and compensate for any issues like sections of content displaying in the wrong order. If you do not know how to do this yourself, it should be easy to find a professional who can do so for a reasonable price.
C. Reverse responsive website
If you want a website that is perfectly tailored for mobile devices, you can start with how they use and display information. A reverse responsive website is designed for mobile devices and displays differently for those who access it using a PC.
So, are reverse responsive websites the next big thing? Perhaps. But for now, they are not your best choice. As with anything new, reverse responsive websites are still the most expensive option. There are limited platforms capable to support them, and they offer the least control for owners. As with a separate mobile website, you need to start from scratch. You must rely completely on a designer who understands reverse responsive web design. Designers are great at making things look good, and your website would look good on mobile devices. It would probably also work well on mobile devices.
Will your reverse responsive website be noticed by Google? Maybe. Designers are designers. SEO is not their top concern.
To sum it all up, you need to do something NOW to make sure you become mobile-friendly and are not left behind when Google’s new search algorithm debuts April 21.
Alex Bungener is the Founder/Owner of Digital+ a Local SEO company based on Cape Cod. Our specialty is getting new customers for service oriented businesses, i.e plumbers, dentists, law firms, etc. Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter @Digital_Plus_ and or LinkedIn.