Introduction - 5 Tools for a Mobile Friendly Webite

The latest mobile vs desktop statistics show that both mobile ownership and usage overtook that of desktop in early 2014. With mobile now firmly being the primary device users use to access the internet, the benefits to your business of a mobile friendly website have been exacerbated. In fact it was no coincidence that April 21st 2014 saw an update to the algorithm google uses to rank websites, placing mobile friendliness as a greater ranking signal. This article will explore five ways to check how mobile friendly your website is, as well as some key variables of a mobile friendly website.

5 tools for a mobile friendly website

As Google's new algorithm rewards mobile friendly websites and punishes those that overlook it, there are greater incentives for businesses to invest in mobile. This understandably caused a lot of concern when the update to the algorithm was announced and may be worrying you as you read this right now. Luckily there are some great tools to quickly check how mobile friendly your website is today:

  1. The 'Google Search Test' - A good start point and the simplest test you can carry out is to check what google says about your website on its results pages. Search for you website in google and if you see a 'mobile friendly' label next to your website name then google is happy with the mobile friendliness of your website. But this is just the start.

  2. Google URL Test - Google has a great free tool to test your websites mobile friendliness. Simply enter a URL and the tool will report if the page has a mobile-friendly design. The results from this tool are very important for your ranking.

  3. Google Webmaster Tools - Check your Google Webmaster Tools and specifically the 'mobile usability issues'. Google announced that these issues will not impact your ranking. However they will give you an idea of some site wide issues, not just for a specific URL, as the 'Google Tool' does.

  4. Test your website (usability) - Usability is concerned with the ease and use of your website. The experience your users have on your website is paramount to its performance. For example if your website is in ecommerce, how easy is it for users to find products on your website, add them to your cart and then complete the checkout process. How do the limitations with mobile impact this (for example various (often small) screen sizes, portrait and landscape views and no cursor). I offer a usability testing service to test the usability of any website across desktop and mobile.

  5. Test your website (performance) - Mobile offers a plethora of variations between devices covering different screen sizes, resolutions, operating systems and mobile browser versions. This naturally brings a variety of device and browser specific bugs, with varying severity, which directly impacts your users experience. I offer a browser testing (manual testing) service to test a website at any stage of development.

 

Important variables that determine how mobile friendly your website is

A website is deemed 'mobile-friendly' by google if it meets the following list of criteria detected by Googlebot:

  1. Uncommon mobile software is not being used, such as flash.

  2. Links are placed far enough apart, such that one can easily be clicked at a time, with little risk of clicking on the wrong one.

  3. The copy used is readable without having to zoom in on the page.

  4. The page is fully visible without having to scroll horizontally or zoom in.

Conclusion

With mobile now being the primary device users use to access the internet, Google is placing more significance of how mobile friendly a website is. This article has explored some tools to test the current state of your website and mobile site. It has also explored some of the key variables that determine your ranking. What is clear is that investing time and effort into making your website mobile friendly is essential for your websites long term performance.

 

By Samuel Nickson of usabilityaudits.co.uk

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