April 21st 2015, Google will deploy Mobile usability metrics into its algorithm. Which means if your website is not 'responsive' the love Google once had for you will wane.
Responsive design is not the same as a 'mobile' site in the traditional sense. A mobile website is built specifically to be viewed on smart phones. Mobile sites are often defined by a simplified menu structure and display less content.
In the last 2 years Responsive design emerged solving core usability issues across all mobile devices. Instead of having to manage two web properties (desktop and mobile), we are back to only one that does everything.
Check your Analytics, see how many people currently view your website on a tablet. The Ipad Air, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Note-- these are devices Search Engines consider 'mobile', and the devices people are using to access the Net today. Sitting here writing this blog on my desktop is a novelty nowadays. * (I love my desktop btw, nothing could replace it.)
Adapting to the mobile world with Responsive design doesn't have to break the bank (despite what some agencies might suggest.) The Open Source community is responsible for responsive design, their work is ultimately free for businesses to use in the form of responsive templates and aps.
I am writing this blog so that clients and colleagues are aware of a change that is going to take affect very soon. Here at Net Impact we anticipate calls coming in with questions like "We've been on page one for 2 years, what happened, where did we go?" Everyone is going to be affected by mobile usability metrics becoming part of Google's algorithm.
- We are here to help you through this technological advance. It won't be painful provided you don't let it get too far ahead of you.
- A brief synopsis of what clients can expect transitioning into a responsive site design:
- We update the platform on which your website is built (Joomla, WordPress or Drupal)-- to the most current version.
- We identify that your existing design template/theme has had a 'responsive' version developed.
- We clone your existing website and load it onto dev servers.
- Then we upload the responsive version of your design template (or theme for WP clients) to the dev servers.
- We set the default template/theme for your cloned site to the new responsive version.
- Then we go to work replacing any components, extensions, plugins, widgets etc that are not functioning properly in responsive mode.
- We do a bunch of other stuff that is boring to read. Then we test across all browsers on all devices.
Grab your smart phone or your kid's tablet, pull up the company website and start your mobile review. Jot down elements you see that 'just don't fit and get in touch with Net Impact Media. We are here to keep you and your web presence jammin' and your business on the up & up.
More to come,
Some of the content used in this blog post c/o http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/03/31/is-your-website-optimized-for-mobile-you-have-until-april-21-to-get-it-done/