Whoever your school or district uses to host and manage your website likely has been talking to you lately about the need to be “mobile first.”
Many of these web hosting providers bring up responsive design and why it’s important. And so are we. In fact, last week we held a webcast that featured Zineb Ait Bahajji, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, who provided attendees an incredible overview of Google’s recent search algorithm changes, dubbed by many as “Mobilegeddon.”
“Today, it’s extremely important to be mobile-friendly,” said Zineb, who was joined on the Gaggle Webcast by Deb Houpe, Webmaster/Distance Learning Coordinator/Data Integration Specialist, at Rowan-Salisbury School System in North Carolina, and Sara Seba, Senior Product Manager at Gaggle. “Content has to be useable and readable on mobile.”
Surprisingly, Google doesn’t consider tablets as mobile devices, so when you’re thinking about taking a mobile-first approach to your website, keep in mind that Google is specifically referring to smartphones.
How does Google identify mobile-friendly websites? Here are a few ways, but we think the webcast is so good that you’ll have to watch and listen to get the rest:
• Primary content is not Flash
• Legible font size
• Properly configured meta tags
• No horizontal scrolling
While Google still supports having two separate websites for mobile and desktop users, it suggests “dynamic serving” based on the user agent; in other words automatically detecting if visitors are on mobile devices or computers and serving them the appropriate content. However, Google’s recommendation is to use responsive web design, which ultimately will save you time managing one website.
Want some proof? By switching to responsive design websites from Gaggle, Rowan-Salisbury was able to launch 35 school websites in a few months, won a state Blue Ribbon Award for its district website, and now has different users, including teachers, managing their own pages.
Lastly, the webcast also includes mistakes to avoid, more details of Google’s recent search algorithm changes, and resources to help you launch a new responsive design website, including Google Developer’s Mobile-Friendly Test and Gaggle’s School Website Quiz.
Make sure that your school or district is better prepared for the ongoing move to mobile, watch “Ready or Not, Here it Comes: What You Need to Know About the Move to Mobile” by scrolling to the section “Archived Webcasts (2015).”