Is Your Website Ready for April 21st

Is Your Website Ready for April 21st
By Gareth
17th April 2015 at 21:00

If you don't know what responsive web design is then you really need to educate yourself quickly.  Failing to do so means you could be losing potential customers. Google dealt a killer blow recently and on a rare occasion told people around the world about an algorithmic change to search engine placements. The date for this is April 21st, which is only a few short days away.

Why does Google care?

The way it is seen by many, and of course Google themselves, is that 50% of web browsing is now done using a mobile or tablet. If your website development is not responsive you are frustrating your users and quite often they will steer away. The most important thing to Google is to give good results and that means a site not only has to have the right content of what you are looking for, but to be very user friendly too. A website that is not responsive is not user friendly and as a result, Google will now give a boost to websites that cater for mobiles.

So what is responsive?

Responsive design in a nutshell means the website will restructure to fit the device it is being viewed on perfectly, without the need to pinch and zoom. The design should adjust accordingly and hide elements that are not suitable for mobile screens. They should also show alternative functionality that is better suited for the device.

How much does it cost to upgrade?

The cost of making your site responsive is a very difficult one to answer. There are a number of factors. It depends on how old the site is and the methods that were used in the construction. The size and functionality of the site will also impact on the time and therefore costs of making a site responsive. In many cases it may even need to be completely re-developed from the ground up.

This may not be as daunting as it sounds as development has moved a long way. In many cases a complete re-development might be more cost effective than changing your existing website.

Is it worth it?

The real answer is Yes. Without going responsive you could be losing placement in the search engines and as a result, losing business. Google’s change in their algorithm might only affect people searching from mobiles at first, but later they will include those changes in their main ranking for desktop devices. Even if it is only mobiles initially, around 50% of visits are now from mobile devices. That’s a pretty big volume of customers to be losing.

My website is already responsive, is there anything I need to do?

While the initial responsiveness of a site is going to be a key factor, there’s also a number of other factors that Google will be looking at. One of those aspects is Speed. Even in a world of super fast 4G connections, network congestion can still impact on mobile phones. Therefore, it is important to make a site super fast. Google sees a site with better speed as a site with better experience. As highlighted above, experience is a key factor in their rankings.

You should get your site checked to see if it is fully responsive for a number of devices but also that the build is up to scratch and if your developer has abided by the guidelines set.

2 Comment(s)

  • Eric at 13:08 on 23/04/2015

    Great article. It's going to take a good few weeks or months before we can really see how the market has changed for mobile searches. - Reply

  • Fred at 19:01 on 23/04/2015

    Interesting, thanks.
    Any pointer on how google crawler will decide which site is responsive and which is not ?
    - Reply

  • Gareth at 08:55 on 27/04/2015

    @Fred It decides by looking at a couple of things. The first being media queries used in the stylesheet to match mobile screen-sizes. Secondly, it'll check the view port tag to ensure the page fits the screen.


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