Back in 2015, Google made a major change to it’s mobile algorithm causing alarm across the digital world. But despite the hype the impact on the search engine results was not as spectacular as first expected. But nonetheless having a mobile friendly website is a ranking factor and cannot be ignored. If you are running WordPress like a large part of the web then you are in luck because making the needed changes are not difficult and don’t require a new site.
The first step for any web masters is to check and see if you need to make any changes at all. Many web developers have been coding their designs to be responsive to all the different screen sizes available today. So head on over to google’s test page and check if your site needs any modification.
Should your site fail the test, you are going to have to make some changes. The first thing you should do is make a backup of your site. There are a variety of plugins and services that provide this feature. One particularly good option is backup buddy. This is a paid option but there are numerous free plugins in the WordPress plugin store.
With your backup made, you can now go ahead and make the necessary changes to your site to ensure a good user experience across all devices. And like all things WordPress related you have several options. From the quick fix, to the deep down and dirty.
One such quick and easy solution is the Jetpack plugin. Whilst it has a lot of different features the one that we care about is it’s ability to automagically create the needed code to make most WordPress sites responsive. Of course it won’t work with every theme but it’s a good first option.
Another option is the plugin WPTouch. This plugin requires a slightly more hands on approach to setting it up. It does offer more granular control of your sites ‘look’.
The third plug and play option comes in a slightly different form. WordPress Mobile Pack allows you to ‘package’ your site as a mobile app. This may be a bit too much for many business owners, it is an option.
Many company with a budget are creating mobile optimized sites on a subdomain often called “m”.
For example; http://m.yourbusiness.com
Using a redirect script and checking what ‘useragent’ the visitor has, visitors on a mobile device are redirected the optimized site on the subdomain. This strategy does require careful planning and also a larger budget.
The most common and what many consider the best approach to mobile friendly websites is modification of the site itself to respond differently to users on different devices.