Recently I was honored to speak for my first time at the annual BlogHer conference. I participated in the Geek Bar, which focused on technology and, personally, I focused on getting blogs and web sites mobile-ready in light of the recent changes Google made regarding being responsive to both search engines and our readers.
Here is a synopsis of my talk. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have in the comments!
What does “Mobile-Ready” even mean?
- Can scale from desktop to smartphone easily
- Can be read by Google and other search engines
- Has the most important elements that your users need on smaller screens
What screens are we talking about?
- Desktop (your computer)
- Tablet (iPad, Surface)
- Phone (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone)
Always think about your users first.
- How are they using your site?
- Where are they using your site?
- What do you want them to do on your site?
- How is each environment different for them?
- How long does your site take to load?
- Always check and recheck your stats, use this information to guide the way.
- Content is king. Always. Mobile-ready means getting the right content where and when your users need it.
If you are starting a site from scratch…
- Write down your goals.
- Decide if you can do this, or if you need to hire out.
- Research themes
- ONLY select a theme that is fast and responsive
- ONLY select a theme that gets good reviews
- READ the comments and ask questions
- FOLLOW the documentation
What does “Responsive” mean?
- The server sends the same code but CSS alters it for whatever environment the site is being viewed on.
- @media calls in CSS is what are used to adjust the styling.
- Drag the browser in from the right side to test various sizes.
Why do I want my site responsive, as opposed to other ways of making it “mobile”?
- Only one URL (so you don’t have to change content on two sites).
- Helps Google index site, only has to crawl once
- Do not have to maintain different sites
- Less load time
- Ability to customize content per mobile size
Always think about “Big Thumbs” when making your mobile site.
- Content placement is different
- Navigation is larger, possibly shortened
- Buttons are larger
- Forms and shortened or eliminated
- Ads are smaller or placed differently
How do I retrofit my web site or blog?
- Using a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Squarespace is half the battle
- Check if your site is mobile friendly via Google’s free checker:
- Use Plugins (examples):
- WP Touch
- Mobile Press
- Use a new responsive theme
- Add @Media CSS to existing theme
The web changes all the time! How do I keep up?
- Keep reading, searching the web – there are warning signs!
- Plan on updating monthly and revamping every 1-2 years
- Don’t be afraid to invest in a web developer; it’s worth it.
- Test, test, test. Look at your on different platforms every chance you get.