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Mobile optimisation best practices to follow in 2020

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

It is the age of mobile. Google is now unofficially mobile-first in its indexing approach. Only those companies are going to do good business going forward that include best practices and techniques for an effective representation of their online presence. Whatever the industry be, there must be high-quality mobile implementation of one’s website in an era that is slowly becoming mobile-first. Given below are a few such practices that website owners must focus on to achieve best indexing results in 2020.

The Above the Fold approach still works: It still pays to have some text content above the fold on a mobile design, as readers are still psychologically hooked onto the concept. They get a valid reason to scroll down because of the desire to see what the site has to offer. This still ranks at the top as far as mobile optimisation best practices are concerned.

There are readers beyond ‘Mobile Consumers’: Mobile and desktop are merging. So are the desires of the users of these platforms. Just focusing on what your mobile user wishes to see or what your desktop user desires narrows things down. Instead, a holistic approach focusing on whether the user is purchasing a product or performing research on the services offered or blending the goals and then formulating strategy will help achieve better results. This too is an integral part of the best mobile optimisation practices.

Design and coding

Responsive Design Techniques: Those m-dot websites do not work anymore. Such implementations in a mobile-first era have become obsolete now. These structures can be complicated, what with multiple URLs resulting in plenty of duplicate content if not optimised properly. This is the age of a responsive design. The good thing about responsive designs is that they use media queries to define display resolutions supported by the design. Also, each unique resolution serves as “break point” in the design weeding out duplicate content, which is there more often than not on an m-dot implementation.

Coding Images Will Increase Site Speed: A better option than using a two-colour background of 2 pixel wide by 1200 pixel high is to code the image. Neither will it make a major dent in the site speed besides the optimisations will add up as they are completed. Ask yourself a simple question next time you do a site audit or create a website link that whether you need a particular image there or can simply do by coding it instead. If the image is not really that important, it makes most sense to simply skip it or code it. Benefits? Site speed increases exponentially!

WordPress Customisation for Mobile is Imperative: With so many plug-ins being available for WordPress, it is imperative not just important to customise it for mobile. There are some plug-ins that even offer functionalities for increased mobile compatibility. For this purpose, some of the most useful plug-ins include Duda Mobile and W3 Total Cache. This undoubtedly takes the cake among a few other when it comes to mobile optimisation best practices.

Keep Content Uniform on both Desktop and Mobile: This helps avert duplication of content to the greatest extent. Neither will there be any issues as far as cloaking is concerned. To be on the safest side, keep the content uniform on the desktop version of your website and also on the mobile version. The best possible way to make this happen is by using responsive design. Responsive design entails creating a style sheet that uses “media enquiries” to automatically transition designs between a wide variety of devices and platforms. CSS sprites will help keep the design mean and lean and also help cut down on server-side requests.

Check for errors

Most Preferred Development Approach should be “From the Top Down”: “From the Top Down” development approach means that each decision taken in a web design from start to finish is considered for all possible consequences thoroughly. This kind of development suits “mobile-first” more over “desktop first”. Once this has been done, the next thing to do is tacking on a mobile design after. This development approach helps avoid introducing unnecessary issues into the final design.

Avoid Using Intrusive Interstitials: Frankly speaking, using these is not going to make your website more saleable. You may think of your product to be the greatest possible thing to be existent on this planet, which it may even be. But the last thing you must do, perhaps by getting carried away, is have an intrusive as blocking visitor activity insisting on a sale. You must consciously make it a point to keep intrusive interstitials to a minimum and keep the ads towards the bottom or off to the side with a possible option to click on the ad and remove it the moment you feel like.

Check for Errors in Your Implementation: Besides these, you must also identify weaknesses. These does not always have to be related to site speed. Issues can also be related to implementation across different displays and different platforms. BrowserStack.com can help accomplish this purpose. The worst thing to happen to website owners is at the final stage of mobile implementation, when the client starts having issues with the implementation that should have been discovered during the development stage itself.

Flash Videos are a No-No: There are still sites that use these even in the times that we live in. Flash Videos are a concept that now seem as if they existed during pre-historic times. HTML5 videos are the most in-thing being used on websites and should be the most preferred option. Not using these is one of the best mobile optimisation practices.

Schema.org Structured Data: Using Schema.org structured data not only helps identify pages on the site with special and structured information search engines ought to see but also have their say when it comes to mobile indexing of the website. Reason being, they help understand information better by making it transferrable to rich snippets in mobile search results. These also enhance site visibility provided implemented correctly.

Avoid blocking Supporting Scripts: These include JavaScript, CSS and Images. These are supporting scripts for your mobile design that must never be blocked. Blocking these can result in issues such as mobile soft 404s and desktop soft 404s. By not allowing Google to crawl these, the search engine will never be able to find out whether your website works correctly or not, which will eventually lead to lower rankings.

Shaunvir Singh Mahil, Director, Virtual Employee