Back in 2012, in response to the rapid growth of smartphone adoption by consumers, the web design world went mad for mobile. UX and UI guys started designing for “mobile first”.
Gradually this filtered down until even all the DIY template style web builders offered mobile versions or responsive templates. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably have one by now.
But mobile first has taken on a whole new meaning recently. Google has decided that as most people search using a mobile device, they’re going to trial indexing the mobile version of your website first.
This means that when it comes to search results, it’s the mobile version of your site that will be judged, the mobile visitor experience that is evaluated to establish the best possible content to serve up as results for different searches. And key to that experience is mobile page speed.
Having a mobile version of your site is a starting point, but if (as looks likely) this new indexing rolls out later this year, you’ll need to do more than that to stay ahead on search in the long term. You need to get fast and stay fast so you’re site’s satisfying to use. Mobile users want answers now. So you need to figure out how you’re going to give them that.
The need for mobile speed
1. Learn what you’re aiming for
Grab an easy to digest infographic like this one and get your head around some of the important numbers around what users expect. You’re aiming for the faster end of each bracket, so that when the rest of the world catches up, you stay ahead in search.
2. Test your site
Once you know where you’re headed, it’s time to get real and order a professional evaluation of your current mobile site. Happily this can be done in a couple of clicks and doesn’t cost a penny. Unless you’ve been very smart/lucky, this will give you a list of stuff you need to fix. Which leads us to the final step.
3. Get your fave geek on speed dial
Most of the changes that need to be made to significantly improve mobile page speed are quite technical in nature and can be tricky for mere mortals such as us to accomplish. So you need someone who knows what the’re doing to help (not us, please not us, but we do know people if you need a name).
Also, Google don’t expect you to just magically make your mobile experience faster and better either, they supply some great free developer tools to help your go-to-guy for all things tech to sort whatever issues your site faces.
Go mobile, stay mobile
This isn’t a one time gig unfortunately. Mobile isn’t something you fix up and walk away from. You need to change your habits. Stop looking at your website on your desktop. And yes, we know you do, we all do.
Every change, update or tweak you make to your carefully curated web property from now on must be made through the lens of how it affects the mobile experience. And this will mean changing the way you do stuff. Sometimes it will hurt a bit. But not half as much as it will watching your organic traffic nosedive because your mobile experience sucks.
So, go mobile, stay mobile. Until the game changes again of course. But isn’t that half the fun?