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How to Check if Your Website is Mobile Friendly – A Non-Techy Approach (C-Suite SEO Tip #3)

You Don’t Need a Web Developer to Tell if Your Website Is NOT Mobile Friendly

This video is targeted at business managers and owners to give you a couple of easy methods to check out your company website to see if it’s mobile friendly. I’ve also done a video and blog post describing more why this is a big deal, too big a deal to simply delegate it away. (If you’re more of a “written word” type, an audio transcript follows.)

Audio Transcript

Is your website crucial to your business success? Well, then it has to look right on mobile, and you really need to check it out for yourself. If you haven’t done so, I’m going to show you three quick, easy, non-technical, and free ways to check out your website on mobile, coming right up.

Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. In our consulting work at Horizon Web Marketing we find that for most of our customers the website traffic they’re getting, often much more than half is coming from mobile devices. We can see this trend around us just culturally can’t we? Go into a restaurant or a coffee shop you see people sitting at a table, and they may be sitting with other people, but their eyes are always on their phones.

This is driving a lot of website traffic now, so what that means is if your website is not easy to use on mobile, doesn’t look right on mobile, you can pretty much write off half of your visitors, and I don’t think any of us wants to just throw away half of our visitors. Here’s the thing, if you’re a manager, if you’re a business owner, if you’re a C-Suite executive you may have delegated this to somebody else. Maybe they’ve come back and said to you, “Oh yeah, sure, our website is mobile friendly.” But really, you owe it to yourself to check out your website for yourself, and ask, “Is it really okay on mobile for people on their phones?”

Then, sometimes there’s a little bit of a barrier. How do you do that, especially if you’re non-technical yet you’re really interested and invested in the success of your website? I’m going to give you three methods, like I said at the outset.

Method Number One: Check it Out on Your Phone

Here’s method number one. This is the easiest method, and that is, take out your phone and go and check it out. Now, I hate this method personally and that’s because I’m pretty old school. When I can have a choice between visiting a website on my computer — my real computer, and not my phone — I’ll always go to my computer. So, if I have to do much in the way of browsing I won’t be doing it on my phone.

What that means is, if I check out my own website on my phone I’m going to be overly harsh on my website. The reason for that is, because I’m not very skilled browsing websites on my phone (I’m not my 13-year-old daughter), it may be my website is good enough for people who are spending all their time on phones but it’s not really good enough for me because I’m phone phobic. So, that’s not my preferred method but it is a real quick way, and unless you’re one of those few people (like my brother, who doesn’t even own a cellphone), then it works pretty well.

Method Number Tool: Use the Google Mobile Friendly Web Page Test

[click here to use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test]

Now, if you want to do it the official Google way, this is way number two, and this is also free, and it’s also easy for you to at least check out your site in a non-technical manner. Let’s take a look at my screen. If you just go and “google” mobile friendly website test Google will actually give you a way to start the check right here within the search results, and when you click on that it goes to this page here that says enter a URL to test. Now, it doesn’t have to be your home page, it can be any page within your site, and as a matter of fact you need to test more than just your home page to make sure your site is mobile friendly.

I just went and randomly chose a website, I just did a search on a town near where I live in Western Colorado called Montrose, and I just looked for the best restaurant and chose their website. It was the first one I chose, it’s this one here, real nice restaurant south of me, it’s called The Stone House. It’s a little bit too nice, I’ve never been to it. Anyway, here’s their home page. It’s not bad, this is a small business, looks okay. What I did is I took the URL, so I just copied the URL and I pasted into Google’s mobile friendly test.

Screenshot of Google mobile friendly check showing a page is not mobile friendly

Now, here’s the negative for using Google’s mobile friendly test. You didn’t see it here cause I already had it loaded in a tab, but it takes a while to process. So, every page you check you’ve got to put it in, wait for Google to process. Now, Google comes back and it tells me the page is not mobile friendly. The text is too small to read, clickable elements too close together, view port not set, if you’re non technical this won’t mean anything to you. But I’ve seen enough, I see that the page is not mobile friendly. So again, what I pointed out beforehand is really the downside to this, and that is, that this is very time consuming. Every page you want to check out, you plug it in, you sit there, you wait for Google to do its full analysis.

My Favorite Method: Use Google Chrome Developer Tools

So, I’m going to give you my favorite quick, easy, free, non technical way to do it. Let’s go to that website in a different tab. Here we are. Now this particular test I’m going to show you, what I’m going to show you here is going to work if you’re using Google’s Chrome browser. With Google’s Chrome browser they have built into it a set of what they call developer tools. Now, these tools are really geeky. Typically, you’re not going to be using them, usually it’s going to be a web developer, but there’s something really easy to use that’s built into these developer tools.

Here’s what I want you to do, look at the website you want to test and then hit the F12 key on your keyboard. Now, when I hit F12 notice how a panel has opened up on the right. These are Google developer tools and they’re very, very technical. You really don’t want to do anything with them, okay. As a matter of fact if it opens up you can resize it like this, and like that. What I do is I just resize it as narrow as I can get, and the only part I want you to pay attention to here is right up at the top. You see this little icon, and then it gives you a tool tip that says toggle device toolbar, all I want to do is click on that, and what it will do is it will show me the mobile version of this website.

screenshot of page with Chrome developer tools

Now, when I go over here notice how my cursor turns into a round circle, well this is to simulate the typical persons finger rather than a mouse. I can see just without having had to go into Google’s mobile friendly test, I can see just looking at it that the font is way too small. But here’s something else I can do that I could not do either looking on my phone or looking at Google’s mobile friendly test, and that is I can switch between a variety of popular phones. For example, this one here is Galaxy S5. Let’s take a look at this on iPhone X. I did the iPhone X. Now, notice up here it’s got a zoom, 67%, that changed, if you noticed it from last time if I go back to Galaxy S5 you see it’s 85%, well that’s because Google is trying to cram the whole thing.

It’ll shrink it down to show you if you were looking at the phone itself this is how much you could see. Let me go back to the iPhone X, you see it’s got a form factor that’s taller and thinner, and you can also see if somebody is trying to navigate around this it’s going to be really tough on a mobile device. I just tried it there, I clicked on about us, I’m going to click on the lunch menu, here’s the lunch menu. I can scroll up and down, see none of this I can really do with the other two methods, at least not easily. I can go back and forth, I can switch between different ones. If I want to see what the screen would look like at 100% it won’t fit within the browser window but I can still switch to 100%. If I actually had physically the phone it would be a little bit better but still it’s just obvious to me that it’s unacceptable.

And so, I can even, up here at the top I can rotate it. See what it would look like if I rotated the phone, rotate it back. This is extremely handy, very fast, totally free, and it’s all you need to know, is, F12, click on the icon, jump around, and then if you find that your website is not mobile friendly, well, you need to take action. Get somebody who knows what they’re doing, and get them to start making some changes because you really don’t want to leave half of your audience out of your website experience.

I hope this has been useful. At Horizon Web Marketing and Horizon Web Marketing Academy we’re all about helping businesses be able to succeed and make more money online, whether it’s through training at our academy or consulting. Subscribe for more video tips. There’s a big red button down there. It’s also going to be a way for you to get a free SEO checklist for an SEO audit as soon as I stop talking, and so I’m going to stop talking right now.

Again, my name is Ross Barefoot and I’m with the Horizon Web Marketing Academy, until next time.

Mobile Friendly and the Busy CEO: C-Suite SEO Tip #2

The Culture Goes Mobile: Is Your Business Ready for That?

How does a half hour on the phone with Apple customer service tie into the way Google treats your website? In this video I explore an anecdote to illustrate why ignoring the mobile trend in website marketing is tempting but dangerous (a transcript appears below the embedded video).

If you would like an assessment of your website’s mobile friendliness, contact us today.

Video Transcript

Yesterday I had a really frustrating experience with Apple customer service. When I was done with that frustrating experience, I realized that I needed to reach out to top level managers and CEOs and business owners and give them fair warning that they could end up having a very unpleasant surprise in the very near future with Google. If those things don’t seem to line up, stick around. I’ll put the pieces together in just a few seconds.

Hi. I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing. First, I’m going to tell you a little bit about this frustrating experience that I had with Apple customer service. Like many of you out there, I have a teenage daughter, and a teenage daughter who spends a lot of time on her iPhone. She’s a really responsible girl, so I let her use my Apple sign-in ID. The other day, she downloaded an app that came with a subscription. She had no intention of buying it, but she just wanted to see what it was like. There was a trial period. She deleted the app, and I said, “Well, I need to do due diligence. Let’s log in to Apple and see if there’s going to be any consequences to this. Is there anything that we need to cancel?”

Of course, what do I do? Troglodyte that I am, I go to my desktop computer, I go to the Apple website. You see it right here. Of course, you got a way to sign in. I’m signed in right now. Once I sign in, I navigate on over to my account. Within my account, I check the status of any orders. No orders showing there. I can’t find anything about subscriptions, so I figure, “Hey, I’m good. Right?” What do you think happens? Of course, two days later, boom, I got a $50 charge on my credit card.

I get on with Apple chat customer service. Long story short, after 30 minutes, I finally was able to get the subscription canceled. In the meantime, while I’m chatting with this lady who’s trying to help me, she’s directing me to articles like this one, “View, change, or cancel your subscriptions”. I’m sending her screen captures of the place where I’m at. By the way, she wasn’t even looking at my screen captures, so bad for customer service in that respect. Finally figured out that the only way to cancel the subscription was on the iPhone. There was a workaround if I would have had iTunes installed, but I didn’t. There’s just simply no way though the web browser interface to get this simple job done of canceling a subscription.

Alright. Why am I going into all of this? Because it illustrates a point. The point it illustrates is how strongly the culture, users, and major companies are moving towards a mobile-centric world. I don’t like it anymore than you do, at least I hope you don’t like it, if you’re like me, but that’s the way it is nowadays. You know who’s paying attention to this? Google. That’s why Google is writing like on their official Webmaster Central Blog recently, they did an article on how they are moving to a mobile-first index and how eventually they may even move to a mobile-only index. Not going to try and explain what mobile-first index or even what index is, I’m just going to tell you the impact.

The impact on your business website is if your website does not run smoothly, look good, load quickly on a mobile device, it’s going to start hurting you in Google search results, and most likely Bing as well, although most people only really care about Google nowadays. Basically, the ante has been upped. You need to make sure that your business website, if you need visibility in search, and who doesn’t, has to be ready on mobile. You might be saying to yourself, “Well, we got web developers and we hired this company that does our website and everything.” Maybe you haven’t even checked it out.

That factors back into why I’m talking to top level business executives. If you’re, for example, a CEO, you’ve got a really busy schedule. It’s entirely understandable if you’ve never actually pulled out a phone and taken a look at your company’s website on the phone. I’m going to tell you that you need to engage with this and not just delegate it away. Here’s a couple of examples of why.

I’m going to go to a website, or I’m going to show you here a large company website. This company is $87 million in annual revenue estimated. Look at their page over here on the right. You can see their page on a mobile device. This tool here that I’m showing you is Google’s own mobile friendly test. Notice what Google concludes, “This page is not mobile friendly.” This factors back into what I was telling you about Google. If the page is not mobile friendly, it’s not going to be well situated for a mobile-first world, the world that Google is preparing for.

Let me give you another example here so you can see this is not an isolated incident. Here’s a $106 million business. On mobile, their website doesn’t even render correctly. I doubt if the CEO or if the top level senior management people in this company even know that this is the case. You also might be thinking, “Hey, our clientele is always going to be looking at our website on a desktop computer, so it doesn’t really matter”, but it does because Google says, “Page is not mobile friendly.” Google is basically saying, “Page is very possibly not going to do well for search in the future.”

screenshot of a large company website that is not mobile friendly

Here’s my final example to show you really quickly, and that is … Let me see if I can find it here. Here is probably the most egregious example that I have. A $410 million company, half a billion dollars almost in annual revenue, and their website does not render correctly on a mobile device.

The purpose of this video is not to give you a how-to of how to check out your website. I have done a video that shows you how you, without any technical skills, can check out your own company’s website in order to see, “Hey, are we measuring up? Is our website mobile friendly?” I’ll put a link to that video in the description for this video, but no, the purpose of this is to give you my “dad” lecture, like I did with my oldest son when I said, “Hey, listen. If you drop out of high school, you’re going to regret it.” He did drop out of high school, and yeah, he does regret it. The point is if you don’t check this out, if you don’t engage with this issue, you’re likely to regret it when you find that you’re losing ground in Google search results.

If you need any help on this, at Horizon Web Marketing, we do consulting and we also do seo training, either for you or for your staff, around all sorts of digital marketing issues, including issues like this. What impact does this type of thing have on your placement in search results? That’s part of what we do for SEO, or search engine optimization. Definitely if you like videos in plain business English, subscribe down below. Also in the comments, let me know what you’d like to learn more about so that you can be more effective in managing your company’s digital marketing presence, or making sure that other people and companies do a good job of that. Until next time, my name is Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and Horizon Web Marketing Academy. Thank you very much for your time.