Google wants mobile-friendly website design… or else.

Google wants mobile-friendly websites In April of 2015 Google announced an initiative to encourage website owners to make their sites “Responsive”. In the Internet world, Responsive means that your web page will render well on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. In other words it will be mobile-friendly. In Google’s own words, “We’re boosting the ranking of mobile friendly pages on mobile search results”. Should I be worried about this? Well, yes… I’m not sure of the global statistics, but when I examine the analytics reports of my clients some 35% to 40% of visitors are viewing these sites on mobile devices. Perhaps an analogy will help. If your bricks and mortar business relied on walk-in customers, would you be concerned if 35% to 40% of the people who entered your shop had problems opening the front door? What does Google want me to do? Google would like it if your web page had: A defined viewport that adjusts to screen size. Content that flows in the viewport so that viewers don’t have to pinch or scroll to see the entire page. Fonts that scale for easier reading on small screens. Easy to touch elements that are spaced so it’s easy to tap them on a touch screen. A little clarification Google’s new initiative: Affects only search rankings on mobile devices. Applies to individual pages, not entire websites. While mobile-friendly changes are Important, we (Google) still use a variety of signals to rank search results – so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query. If you can’t or won’t make your pages mobile friendly you better be sure your content is top-notch and optimized for search engines. What if I don’t make the changes? Remember this line from the first paragraph, “We’re boosting the ranking of mobile friendly pages on mobile search results”. Flip the statement on its head and it could be interpreted as – If my pages aren’t responsive they will drop in rank on Google mobile searches. How can I tell if my site has mobile-friendly pages? Visit Google’s Mobile Friendly test page. Note that this tool will only test one page of your site at a time. To test more pages copy and paste the URL of each page into the testing tool. One of two messages...
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Why you should optimize your web site images

Why should we optimize the images we upload to our web sites? Faster page load Less bandwidth used Better user experience It is worth noting that one of the things Google ranks your site on is page load speed.   How do I optimize my website images? Step 1 – Determine the size you want the image to be.   If you use FireFox or Chrome as your browser, download the Web Developer extension and use the Ruler (Miscellaneous > Display Ruler) to measure the area where you would like the image to appear. Use those dimensions as the target for your image size. If you use a Microsoft browser, the Pixel Window app allows you to measure portions of a web page.   Step 2 – Choose a program or online service to alter your image.   In a random sampling of various programs and online services I found that Photoshop did the best job of reducing the image file size while maintaining the quality of the image. Of the many online image optimizers I tried, webresizer.com came closest to matching Photoshop. Webresizer.com served up a 600 pixel x 400 pixel image size of 55.9 KB compared to Photoshop’s 49.2 KB image. All images were optimized to a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. Note: when I uploaded the original 2MB image to a WordPress page and set the image to display at 600 pixels X 400 pixels, WordPress displayed the image at 600 X 400 but actually placed a 1024 pixel X 682 pixel sized image on the page, resulting an image size of 139 KB compared to 49 KB. Effectively increasing the page size by 30%. When the image was inserted into the WordPress page and set to display at full size, WordPress constrained the photo to the width of the content portion of the page, (displaying it at 600 pixels wide) but the page size jumped from 221 kb to 2333 kb, hugely increasing the page size and bandwidth usage. While all of this may sound a bit nit-picky in the high-speed internet world of today it’s worth noting that many sites are now viewed on smart phones where pages load much more slowly. Optimizing the test image took approximately 30 seconds in Photoshop and around a minute with most of the online optimization sites. Not a bad trade off when you consider how much...
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Client – Embro Highland Games

Once each year, 5 Point Design creates a web site for a not-for-profit organization free of charge. The organization is responsible only for hosting and domain fees and for providing the web site content. In 2012 I was lucky enough to work with the fine people responsible for organizing the Embro Highland Games. The website can be viewed at...
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Client – Victoria Property Management LLC

Victoria Property Management is a Phoenix Arizona property management company. They were fabulous to work with as they spent the time to supply top notch photos and well written copy for their web redesign. www.vpmanagement.com
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Client – Deward’s Travel Tours

Deward’s Travel Tours is a WordPress site designed to be simple, clean, and easy to read. Information is king on this site. Any page on the site can be accessed from the main navigation with only one click. www.dewardstraveltours.com
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