We at Bojingles have recently been involved in creating a new and improved website for OKO tyre sealants – and the timing could not have been better, because just as we went live came the news that Google had made one of its most significant algorithm changes in years. This is designed to reward those sites (like OKO’s new one) that create a welcoming and rewarding experience for users of smartphones and tablets. Conversely, and ominously for those who have left their website architecture untouched for years (or who have built their own rickety budget site) companies who make no concessions to mobile users are being banished to the outer reaches of Google search, where few dare to tread…
What marks the difference? Well the key catchphrase for those not in the digital know is ‘responsive design’. Many sites built recently have it as standard, but many have not. Time to check…
First take your tablet…
Get out your iPad, iPhone or Android: dial up your address on there –
- Does your site’s wording immediately get bigger (so that you not forced to enlarge it)?
- Is the content streaming smoothly and adapting itself to the precise borders of your screen?
- How is the navigation – is there any special guidance to help you?
- And what happens when you turn the device to view in landscape or portrait direction – does it follow your bidding?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is ‘no’, then you are potentially in trouble. Not that responsiveness is the only feature that Google will take into account – the ‘importance’ of your site (measured by factors like traffic, relevant content and the number of genuine links from other sites) is also crucial – but from what we have already seen in the niche tyre sealant market, some operators who had clawed their way to the much-coveted Page 1 simply by buying clever domain names (and not much else) have suddenly disappeared from view.
Therefore, take heed and whatever your line of business, ensure that it doesn’t happen to you. But if that alone is not a good reason for action, then consider the welfare of your site visitors. We’re none of us getting any younger and with an ageing population, it’s not fair to expect us to have to screw up our eyes to read your persuasive prose. In fact, we won’t. If you don’t believe me, check out the Google Analytics on your site.
Analysis vs. Paralysis
This is not a job purely for geeks. It’s free, and if you’re at all interested in the fate of your business, it’s a rattling good read. You’ll learn whence your site visitors (and buyers, if any) originate (by country and town) and what language they favour; how many there have been and how the trends are going; their demographics; and (now at last I get to the point) – how long they stay if they are on mobiles, as opposed to traditional desktops.
I won’t bet, because there always exceptions, but on average it’s highly likely that your conventional non-responsive site will suffer quicker switch-off from mobile device users. Largely for the reasons mentioned above. So unless you work for Specsavers (other brands exist) then it makes good ethical and business sense to spare our poor squinty eyes and – here’s one for the oldies – make like the Walker Brothers: “make it easy on yourself”.
That should be the end of the sermon – but there’s a coda. Anyone reading this on LinkedIn or other social media may assume that the Bojingles site is of course responsive. Sadly, not so – like the builder who never finishes his own house (it’s not a cliché, I’ve known many) we have been too busy working on clients’ videos, audio and websites to pay heed to our own. But rest assured that we do not intend to disappear and gurgle (or google) beneath the waves, so our technicians are on it…