Producing a 'mobile-friendly' SEO compliant website ....
Following on from my previous post, it seems to me that in today’s technology-dependent world you’re penalised to some degree if you have an internet presence that isn’t ‘mobile friendly’. Even a personal, non-commercial website like this one needs to fulfil certain SEO requirements in order to survive, and to be listed and found on Google. I discovered this the hard way when I lost my original site, and must learn from the experience and accept that more websites are now viewed on a mobile than a computer.
It’s a sign of the times whether I like it or not, but how much attention should I give the matter?
From a personal point of view I don’t really want people looking at my website on their phone. It’s not designed for that. In my opinion, photos should be viewed at a sensible size, whether that be on a desktop monitor or a laptop, not on a tiny 4-inch screen. The format and layout of this site was designed for larger displays. I gave a considerable amount of thought to the size of photos, associated text and the way that my articles would look. How can I expect it to work properly on a mobile, even if I wanted it to?
Obviously I fully appreciate why companies need to ensure that they have a properly designed mobile version of their website. They have an image and a brand that they need to protect and, of course, they’re businesses that have products or services to sell.
But I’m talking about photography, and in particular wildlife photography, where the photographer probably invested a lot of time and effort in getting the shot in the first place, and then more time back home on the computer carefully editing it, only for it to be viewed on a mobile. I guess that much of this modern way of looking at photos is being driven by social media or networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter or, I have to say, even photography sites like Instagram and Flickr that have mobile apps. I fully accept that people use website in different ways and that many are perfectly happy to scan through screen after screen of photos occasionally pausing to add a ‘like’ or a ‘fave’, but rarely if ever stopping to look at the photo properly and add a comment. If that’s what you want to do then I suppose it’s easier and more convenient to do it on your phone.
I use Flickr, and I like Flickr. I think it’s a really good platform for displaying and storing photos. I even admit to using the Flickr phone app, particularly if I’m out and want to show someone one of my photos, but I only view and comment on other people's photos on my laptop, or occasionally on my iMac, where I can look at them properly.
I guess that I’m just old fashioned in this respect, which is why it irritates me so much. I’d like to put the matter out my mind, but the danger is that if I don’t attempt to make the site 'mobile friendly' now' it will be forgotten about and, although it won’t lead to the same problems I had before, it would affect my Google ranking. Whilst that doesn’t particularly bother me, it would be foolish to simply ignore the issue. Now the website is ‘live’ I’m slowly and methodically going through the SEO process of writing meta tags, checking links, adding keywords, alt text, etc.
The final part of this process will be trying to make the site function on a phone screen. Fortunately all sites built on the WiX platform are supposedly optimised for mobile. At the flick of a switch you can decide whether you want your standard website to be shrunk incredibly small to fit a mobile screen or whether you want the optimised version. That’s certainly a good start, because it was the lack of this facility with the Clikpic system that caused the problems with my original website. Furthermore, the WiX platform includes a separate mobile editor that allows certain elements of the website layout to be adjusted without affecting the desktop version.
That all sounds great until you realise that your options are somewhat limited. Ideally I would have liked the mobile version to have a completely different simplified ‘welcome’ screen, but that’s not possible as it has to use a compromised layout of the desk-top home page. I do have the option of including a landing page, but that would only include a logo, behind which would be the modified home screen. The other problem that I can already see is that most of my pages don’t scan properly on a phone screen as photos are imbedded within write-ups and articles, rather than being placed between separate text boxes. That's a fundamental error on my part and something I really need to address regardless of the reformatting work that will be required.
So, despite my feelings about the matter, this new ‘tickspics’ site will be optimised for viewing on a phone even if it isn't truly ‘mobile friendly’. I guess that’s as good as it will get, but given that "optimised" means "to make the best of a situation" I feel happy that I have made an effort in meeting Google’s SEO requirements.