What is the big deal about mobile-first web design?
Answer: Google now determines your sites SEO ranking and score based exclusively on the mobile version on your website. Therefore, if SEO is important to you (and it should be!) then mobile-first should be foremost in your website design planning.
What is mobile-first website design?
Mobile-first design is the process of planning, drafting and building a website with priority placed on the mobile version of the website.
Many DIY website owners using website builders like Wix, Squarespace or WordPress will build their websites primarily using the desktop layout. Sadly, many don't even think to look at the mobile layout of their website which is crucial with website builders like the aforementioned ones.
With a mobile-first approach, you design the website for mobile and the desktop version secondary.
Why is mobile-first important in website design?
As mentioned above, Google has announced that they now index a websites mobile version and it is the mobile version of the website that will be scored for SEO, Usability, Load times, Structure etc.
In addition to this, over 60% of all internet activity is performed on a mobile device so it makes absolute sense that search engines will put more empathise on how a website performs on a mobile device when determining the SEO score.
You may have a great looking website that functions and looks beautiful on a desktop screen, however when used on a mobile, it may look completely broken. I have for example seen websites where the text is in different (wrong) places on the mobile version compared to the desktop version and therefore the website doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I've seen websites where images are missing or not optimised for a mobile screen. Other sites have text that goes off the screen and forces the user to scroll left or right to read it.
ALWAYS check your mobile version of your website on as many different devices as possible.
How to build your own website
I am currently in the process of drafting a blog post that will provide guidance to those business owners who simply cannot afford to engage with a website designer. I absolutely do recommend where at all possible, you engage with a professional website designer who isn't only good at design, but is also an expert or has a thorough understanding of SEO. A great design with poor SEO isn't going to get you far I'm afraid. And unfortunately, a website with great SEO but poor content won't do any better.
So unless you have a really good understanding of SEO the chances are real that you are going to build a website that people simply won't find without you directing them to it (for example posting links on social media etc) which defeats the point really. A websites main purpose is to convert visitors to paying clients and to show up when someone requires your service. If your SEO is poor, no matter how beautiful your website, it's just not going to be returned in search results.
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