Surviving the Mobile Storm

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Your DIY business could take a drastic nosedive. That’s because Google is implementing new search criteria that will rank websites by whether or not their content is easily viewed on mobile devices. The changes will affect mobile search only – desktop search is unaffected.

Already, such major websites as ESPN.com are taking notice of the coming storm, redesigning to make sure they continue to hold a high position. It’s a trend that could mean disaster for some sites that haven’t taken the proper steps.

“Google search may no longer show web pages that typically show up in the top of the list on a desktop search if they are not mobile-friendly,” warns Camille Alcasid, whose Westside Websites firm is busy working to enhance a number of sites.

The good news? “It’s also an opportunity for websites who typically do not get high rankings to rise to the top of the results,” says Alcasid. The key is to check your site now and make any necessary changes before you sink in the rankings. A simple website that shows up in search engines and allows your visitors to read the information you need to communicate to them is better than a fancy website that is not mobile-friendly.

First, you should test your site for mobile device compatibility. One method is to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Once you have determined that your site needs tweaking to be mobile-friendly, you can either recreate the site yourself using a template, or ask your webmaster to do a few tweaks.

The good news is that scouting for new images and copy isn’t necessary, since a mobile-friendly website will just need to use a smaller version of your existing images and a larger font on your existing copy. If you’re using a template, select a design that offers “responsive”” or “adaptive” on its list of features.

For more sophisticated sites that use custom designs, or where the replacement of a template is beyond your skills, engage a web developer specializing in CSS3 and Javascript to create additional code for your site to turn it into a mobile-friendly site.

If your website has a lot of content on a page, you will need to decide on your new layout, font sizes, image sizes, and which content to hide.

Just anticipate that every new page design you build for your website will now require more time to build and test. In the past, web developers had to vet your website using different browsers.

Now, developers have the additional burden of adding different mobile devices into their development and testing strategy.