Fixing Mobile Usability on WordPress websites

Hi guys,

Last week we started receiving notifications in Google Webmaster Tools, informing us about mobile usability errors on some of our WordPress websites. Have you seen those already?

Google systems have tested 315 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 315 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

We received a dozen of emails and phone calls from our clients (all owners of WordPress websites) asking about what needs to be done. Start planning, guys, and don’t panic. Here is why.

Is it really, really urgent?

No doubts about the meaning – Google will prefer mobile friendly web sites when ranking results on mobile. This a big change, it’s officially happening and we are taking it very seriously, which is what other website owners and developers should probably do too.  At the same time, we don’t see any reason to panic or worse – rush into some not well-thought-out endeavors.

The notification message itself creates a sense of urgency and approaching cataclysms, but its purpose is to provoke action and it serves it pretty well. Apart from this, most small and mid sized websites will have enough time to go mobile friendly if their owners start planning for it now.

What to do next

Check your stats – if you have more than 10% mobile visitors, you can expect this number to grow and should consider it important to have a mobile-friendly web site.

If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, check it with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test here.

Also, run a PageSpeed Insights check here – you want your scores in the Mobile tab to be over 80 points for both Speed and User Experience, anything over 90 would be perfect.

Now you know if Google is happy with your Mobile results. Congrats if it is.

Planning to go mobile-friendly

Most of our customers have small or medium sized websites, so here is our best advice and what we told those of them, who will need to modify their websites:

“Set your mind on going mobile-friendly in 2015. You will want to have at least a month for the transition. Small websites usually take a week, maybe two to be converted, and mid-sized could take up to a month. However, we have seen “small website gone wild”, so no matter the size – give yourself some buffer.”

Some of you already want to have their whole websites re-written using a mobile-first framework like Bootstrap. Some will chose to fix their existing code-base by adding appropriate media queries and styles. Others will want separate mobile website built for them. All those approaches are valid – as long as it is the better choice for your case – time and money wise.

What do you think

Does it make sense for Google to push website owners to go mobile-friendly?