JANUARY 21, 2016

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Mobile-Friendly is a Must

Written by: Adam Ritchie

Advertising is changing. Traditional methods like advertising on TV are becoming less and less effective, due to the rise of commercial-light and commercial-free streaming services, and even if a viewer isn’t streaming they likely have a DVR that allows them to skip right past all the commercials.

That’s just one example. Across the board, from phonebooks through newspaper ads to radio spots, the old way of marketing just isn’t cutting it anymore.

You have to keep up with the breakneck pace of new technology developments for your marketing efforts to truly be successful.

Over the past few years one of the biggest such developments is that smartphones have become wildly popular, and as of 2014, people in the US spend more time browsing the internet on their smartphones than they do on their PCs.

Mobile is a Must IMG 1

That’s why having a mobile-friendly website is a must – not a maybe, not an “I’ll get around to it when I can” – it’s a must, right now.  

Every day you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re losing business. You see, the people that are initially interested in your establishment probably got that way by stumbling across your website in their search results (this is, by far, the most likely way anyone will discover your business in 2016). They have many other options, so if they’re not satisfied with something, they’ll simply back out of your site and find another with just a couple quick swipes of their thumb.

A website that has to be manually resized by zooming out, looks unnatural, or is cluttered/difficult to navigate when viewed on a mobile device will drive a lot of people away. That’s not only a loss for your business, but a gain for whichever one of your competitors had a mobile-friendly site and was able to hold that visitor’s attention and maybe make a conversion.  

Conversely, every day you do have a mobile-friendly website is a day in which you hold a significant advantage over many of your competitors. A lot of businesses don’t have a mobile-friendly site. For those businesses that don’t, even if they’re higher up in the search rankings than you or there’s some other reason someone lands on their page rather than yours, if that someone is using a mobile device they’ll be turned off and leave for a website that is mobile-friendly… like yours.

Mobile is a Must IMG 2

A Brief Tutorial

Now that we’ve established the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, let’s delve into the details of how you can actually make that happen.

The first step of making a responsive website is to establish a flexible layout. This means the website is built on a flexible grid that can resize to any width. To build a flexible grid, you need to use relative length units (percentages or em units), which determine values such as width, margin, and padding.

No pixels, no inches. Fixed measurements won’t do because screen sizes can change drastically depending on whether it’s viewed on a smartphone or a tablet or a laptop or a desktop, and if your website can’t handle that change you’re going to frustrate mobile users and lose leads. Relative length units are the only way to go.

You can implement this advice by dividing the target width of an element by the width of its parent element.  

In HTML, it’ll look something like this:

<div class=”container”>

 <section>…</section>

 <aside>…</aside>

</div>

Please be aware that in addition to flexible layouts, there are other things such as flexible media and media queries that must be addressed for your website to really be responsive. Those without much coding experience may want to consider hiring a professional web developer to ensure the best results.

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