With more and more people viewing websites from mobile devices, it’s critical that our sites work well with smaller screens, that they are “responsive.” In simple terms, a responsive website is one that automatically resizes to fit the viewing area of the appliance accessing it.
In the past this meant making a separate version of each page for mobile screens, be it a smartphone, tablet, e-reader, and so forth. Now many website themes have this functionality built into them. If a theme isn’t “responsive,” then don’t use it.
Having a responsive website, one that is mobile friendly, is important for two reasons. First, we are near a point where the majority of sites are accessed not by a computer but by a portable device. Not having a responsive site hampers half our readers from having a usable experience.
The other key reason is that Google is reportedly rewarding responsive sites by placing them higher in search engine results. This means they are effectively penalizing sites that do not play well with mobile devices.
Although you could test your site with every size and type of mobile appliance to see if it is responsive, Google has provided an online tool to check for us. Just enter your web address (URL) and click “analyze.” It takes less than a minute.
If it says “mobile-friendly,” then you are all set. If it reports your site is “not mobile-friendly,” then find a responsive theme or hire a website developer to correct the problem.
Whether we are selling books or promoting something else, our websites are there for people to use. We don’t want to eliminate half the population because our site doesn’t work well with mobile devices.
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!