During a presentation at SMX East 2014, Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst for Google, told an audience of agencies, business owners, marketers, and webmasters to stop using the term “smartphone” and instead use the word mobile. He also said that Google been telling us for four years to make our websites mobile-ready, but that has yet to happen.
Having a site that is mobile-ready means making sure your web content and assets are accessible, legible, and usable to visitors across all devices.
How to Make Your Site Mobile-Ready
There are multiple ways to make your website mobile-ready. One currently popular option is to create a mobile-specific version of your site. Typically, this version is hosted on a separate domain such as m.bluecorona.com. Mobile-specific sites offer several advantages. They’re inexpensive to build. They’re typically very fast, and the content can be customized for the difference in user intent between people visiting your site from a desktop vs. a mobile device. The drawbacks of having a mobile-specific site are that, while they’re inexpensive to initially build, they’re more expensive to maintain.
Another popular option for making your site mobile-ready is to re-build your website onto a responsive framework. Unlike a mobile-specific website, responsive sites do not utilize a separate URL. With a responsive site, you’re showing the same HTML code to all visitors, but adjusting the styling of various assets to better display on different types of devices. In a way, the opposite of creating a mobile specific website. Responsive websites are more expensive to create initially, but far less expensive to maintain over the long-run. If not properly—and heavily optimized—they also tend to be slow.