Trying To Become Mobile Friendly Isn’t A Friendly Process

Ever since Google and a couple other search engines decided they wanted to rank websites that they consider mobile friendly higher than other sites, people like me have been tearing our hair out trying to figure out how to get there. I can tell you it’s not easy at all.

For those of you who haven’t heard about this or don’t understand what it means, let’s talk about mobile friendly sites for a quick minute.

Growing Smartphone Collection
Michael Kwan (Freelancer) via Compfight

It seems that more than 55% of all web traffic is now being performed via some type of mobile device. This means smartphones, tablets, readers, etc. It doesn’t mean laptops or notebooks and definitely not desktop computers.

Mobile friendly for the specific items I mentioned means that if someone pulls your website up that it’ll load fast and look like it was designed for a mobile experience since the screens are smaller than what some of us are traditionally used to. Strangely enough, it’s their expectation that the website needs to look good if someone’s looking at it on their phone vertically, which means the long way, rather than horizontally, meaning you’re looking at more physical real estate.

Frankly, I’m a horizontal viewer whenever I need to use my phone to look something up. It’s easier to hold my smartphone in two hands and easier to type that way. I might search for something vertically, but once I pull up a site I always move horizontally because it’s a better viewing experience in my opinion.

Never mind that for now I suppose. Let’s look at trying to get one’s site mobile friendly.

This is the link you can use to find out if your site is mobile friendly or not, courtesy of Google: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Go to this site and put in the URL of your website or blog.

If you’re having issues, go to this other link, also courtesy of Google: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights. It will give you insights as to how you might fix whatever your issue might be.

You’ll get some kind of score. If you’re already using something on your blog to make your site mobile friendly (I use WP Touch) then you’ll probably come up as being friendly, although some people say it’s not 100% effective; I’ve done okay so far. If not, the most common issue is the font, in which case you just go into the plugin and select one of the supposedly favored Google fonts and get on with life.

Maurizio Pesce via Compfight

If it’s your website… you’re probably in some kind of trouble. Google will give you a score, then they’ll give you links that you can click on to refine what your issues are and give you a chance to fix them.

I have three static websites, and none of them are compliant. However, by working on some of these things all of them are at least 80% compliant, one of them at 93%. However, there are issues, which I’m going to point out and, maybe, some day someone will be able to help me get around them because so far the advice has been the same but none of the fixes have worked.

Before I go too far, let me tell you that size seems to be the major issue overall, as in how it will look on a smartphone if you’re looking at vertically, as I mentioned above. This is how they begin scoring you; after that it’s speed.

The biggest recommendation I kept getting was to add this code into the header: meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width initial-scale=1″. For every one of my sites, when I put this sucker in and tested the site again my score went down. So, instead of using this I started experimenting with different widths. I tried going larger first but it seems bringing it down in degrees works better. On the site I got to 93% I changed the width to 400; system assumes it’s pixels so I didn’t define it further than that. Eventually I tried taking out the “initial-scale=1” part and there are no difference in score at all.

The next thing is your fonts. For all my sites it kept telling me that the fonts were too small. I kept changing the pixel size, by degrees of course because you don’t want your site looking goofy; they say they don’t want it looking strange either. They recommend making the size 16px; only on the site that I got to 93% did it make a difference; not sure why it didn’t work on the other sites. Still, it’s something to play with.

After that you might have to do something with your logo image if it’s a large one. On two of my sites the logo is larger than 320px. If you try shrinking your logo it looks stupid; trust me on this one. However, the fix that was recommended that raised my score was to not put a “restrictive” size on the image. Instead, make the width 100%; it allows the phones to resize it somewhat… I’ll get back to this point later.

The final thing… do you run Adsense on any of your sites? On the site I’m getting the 93% on, my lingering issue has to do with my Google Adsense code. At first they were griping because I wasn’t using what they call an asynchronous version of their code. Turns out they changed their codes somewhere along the line; totally missed that.

So, I went back and changed the codes on most of my sites. The top code size is 728×90, which is one of the highest converting codes Google’s ever put out, and works well on my site (this is my medical billing site by the way). Guess what… Google hates that size! That’s the last thing it wants me to fix, and it’s their code!

Pffft--Daily Image 2011--October 7
rochelle hartman via Compfight

Come on now; that’s just not fair! It’s still a code choice in Adsense, which means their own code isn’t mobile friendly. Thus, they’re going to penalize me and lots of other folks for using their own code; tell me that’s not the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard! Sigh…

Not only that, but when I looked at each of my websites after making the changes… vertically they all look stupid. Horizontally they look a lot better, and one can resize as necessary to read easier, especially with the larger phones.

Thus, my contention that trying to go mobile friendly isn’t a friendly process whatsoever, and Google is a big part of the problem. Trust me, I’ve researched this a lot and most of what I’m seeing either keeps recommending things that don’t work, like what I’ve mentioned above, or talks in riddles with language I just don’t understand. Many recommendations are to totally change your design, with an understanding that a lot of small businesses (me!) might not be able to do it for a while.

My saving grace? On two of my sites I have blogs attached to them that are mobile friendly. So, I shouldn’t take a big hit if I take one at all. The other one… I’m not really worried about it yet, however it’s the one site that just might need a total redesign because I built it in a very complicated way. I like it, but it’s never done what I wanted it to do so if I have the time it just might need some major reworking.

That’s my tale and my sharing… as much as I could. What have you been dealing with, if you’ve bothered to deal with it? I know my buddy Pete changed his sites over to WordPress so he could run the mobile app. I don’t have that luxury unfortunately, as I’m running a couple of scripts that I couldn’t run with that software. Anyway, share your thoughts on all of this; I need a cookie!
 

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9 Relationships Between Blogging And Social Media

Blogging was the first social media. Some people might think it was AOL but I’m not sure AOL really counted as social media since it was more of a news and information site. In any case, blogging continues to be the biggest purveyor of social media information, even in the face of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Britain Going Blog Crazy - Metro Article
Annie Mole via Compfight

Why do I say that? If you look at what’s shared most of the time via links it’s one of 3 things; video, news stories of some sort, or blog posts. Huffington Post, in all its glory, is nothing more than a huge blog site; exclusive in its own way, but still mainly a mash of opinions and such.

While blogging can be considered as social media, it’s also different. The idea behind blogging overall is much different.

For instance, I post something on Facebook and I might get some likes. Most of the time, if I get a comment, it’s one line, then on to the next thing.

With blogs, one hopes to build up a community whereby there’s a nice mix of usual visitors with new visitors, with multiple intentions. Some of us just want to espouse our philosophies on things. Some of us want to make money. Most of us want to talk to people, which is why we leave comments open.

With that as a setup, let’s look at this interesting relationship between blogging and social media in the context of being separate entitles:

1. Bloggers promote their articles on social media; social media helps them gain notice.

That’s pretty much how it’s been since the old days of sites like Blogger and diary sites, where the people who promoted you were people who belonged to the same sites. Back in 2004 there were lots of people promoting their blog posts on Ryze; later it became MySpace. Take a look at your Twitter feed one day and you’ll see all sorts of posts going to some type of blog.

2. Social media feeds the bear with blog topics to write about.

I’ve written a lot of posts over the years about all the big social media sites. I got those ideas by participating on those sites. I also got ideas for certain types of topics by reading what people put up on these sites. You don’t always have to think of something on my own… thank goodness!

Pro's & Con's of Social Revolution
P T via Compfight

3. Social media gets more benefit from your blogging than you do.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s true. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting anything out of it, but social media gets more. Let’s use Twitter as our example.

How many millions of blog links do you think goes through Twitter every day? How many of the people you’re connected to do you think are actually seeing your link so they’ll come to your site for a visit? How many more of those actual visitors are retweeting your post as opposed to leaving a comment on your site?

4. If you want to make any real money, you need to get people from social media to come to your blog or website.

In some ways people are missing the idea behind social media marketing. The idea isn’t to get people to like your stuff offsite; the idea is to find ways to entice people to come to your blog or your website. I’d say your affiliate link but trust me, most of those links and posts are getting ignored.

People hate being sold to blatantly. However, if you write an article about a product you like, then promote it on social media, and make it attractive enough to get people to come to your space, then you have a real opportunity to possibly make some money. Think about why we all hate those people posting links telling us they can get us thousands of Twitter or Facebook followers; it’s not only that we don’t believe them (it’s a scam by the way) but how does that help us?

5. Unless you’re already well known, famous people or people thought of highly in your industry aren’t coming to your blog unless they hear about you via social media.

I’ve had a couple of folks known fairly well online stop by here for a comment or two; it’s rare but it’s happened.

However, I’ve connected with a lot of famous people via social media… and they followed me first! lol I’ve ever had the opportunity to talk to them; that’s pretty cool.

Here’s the overall thing, at least from my perspective. I’ve never really tried to get anything from any of these people and I don’t go out of my way to show who I know and how I know them. In 13 years of being online and 10 years of blogging the only person I ever reached out to for anything was asking Guy Kawasaki to add my business blog to the leadership section of his Alltop site, and that was after I helped edit his book Reality Check (and my name’s in the book; pretty cool!).

The thing is, you can connect with someone via social media in a way you probably won’t on a blog. If you’re genuine they might even stop by your blog or possibly help promote you. Don’t ever expect it though; do your own work.

6. You benefit most from both blogging and social media by sharing.

You might benefit more from sharing things on social media but your blog can get a benefit also. If you mention and link to others on your blog you may get more people to your blog. That’s because a lot of people look at trackbacks for their stuff and sometimes if they see you’ve linked to them they’ll stop by to see what you had to say or share.

Social media allows you to easily share the content others produce. If it’s certain people better known than others it can bring you some attention. If it’s regular folks like you, then they’re more apt to stop by your blog or website to take a look… Some of that depends on…

bloggingdemotivator

7. Blog titles are important; social media is but it’s not always in your control.

Don’t even think about changing someone else’s article title to fit your own needs, even if it’s just to tell people what the article is about. For your own missives, finding creative titles will be productive because that’s what a lot of people are looking for. They’ve all been told that one way to garner trust is sharing other people’s links so they’ll do that, even if they never read what you’ve written. This leads to #8…

8. More people will read your blog posts than your links on social media, even if more people see them on social media.

Isn’t that a shame? I have way more people comment and share my stuff on Twitter and Google Plus without reading it than I get comments on the blog.

How do I know this? I have posted videos that take at least 5 minutes to watch and seen them shared in 30 seconds. I’ve checked viewer counts later in the day and the counts, if I had any views, never match how many times the link has been shared.

On Google Plus, I’ve gotten responses to a link that don’t match up with the article but might match up with the title. Every once in a while I’ll press someone on it and they’ll admit they didn’t read the article. The same happens on Twitter; although I have a couple of folks who’ll retweet my stuff because I’m on their list and they know me, many more share my links and occasionally comment on the title that never come to the blog.

However, if people come to the blog, I can tell who’s actually read the article or not. Some comments aren’t even worthy of keeping and I immediately move them to spam but that’s not the majority of what I get anymore, thank goodness.

What does this mean overall? It means the people you’re really going to reach are the people you can get to come to your blog. Sure, every once in a while you might get some attention on Facebook if you do certain things, but in general people are going to skip it unless you can bring them into your space.

9. Neither blogging or social media is going away any time soon.

As a matter of fact, I predict that both are going to continue growing in some form or another for decades unless there’s some type of world catastrophe; I hope against hope on that one.

Since both are going to be around, both individuals, bloggers and marketers still have time to figure it all out, how to work with each other, how to make each other grow, how to protect each other… well, I have big dreams I suppose.

There are some things that need to stop. Trolling needs to stop. Bullying needs to stop. Revenge sites need to stop. Honesty needs to be spoken of more. There probably needs to be more social progress. The world needs to find better ways to talk to each other rather than at each other.

I don’t have that answer; I’m probably too old and set in my ways for that one. However, when there’s the potential for discourse, I’ll probably be there. I’ll comment on the blog; then I’ll share it on social media.

How will you participate?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell