I’ve been blogging since 2013 and I feel pretty confident that my blogging knowledge is at a good level. Especially since I like to keep myself updated on new changes, what’s working etc.
However, the truth is no matter how long you’ve been doing something, things can still surprise you! Which is what happened to me recently, when something I was sure about… turned out to be not quite right.
So, since I made this discovery, I thought I would share it with all of you. It might be that I’m the only one who didn’t know this, but in case I’m not, I thought it prudent to pass on the information.
A quick note: Rather than resurrect my Blogger Series posts on Thursdays again, I will just be adding new ones as I see fit into my Friday Schedule.
What does Mobile-Friendly mean?
As technology changes, so does our behaviours. Mobile phones, tablets and the likes are now being used more and more to do things online.
So having a website/blog that is “mobile-friendly” is essential.
Mobile-friendly just means that the page is set up so that when viewed on different devices, it is readable, workable and easy to navigate.
Come on, we’ve all been on a website that wasn’t mobile-friendly and you had to constantly scroll left and right to read anything or pinch and stretch to make the text big enough to even read.
No-one… and I mean NO-ONE spends more than a cursory moment on websites like that and even then, I’m being generous. Because in truth, if we saw that and it wasn’t urgent, we wouldn’t give those websites the time of day.
NB: since this blog is a WordPress blog, I will be discussing mobile-friendly in terms of WordPress websites.
But WordPress is already Mobile-Friendly
WordPress has been designed to function on multiple devices and so I (apparently wrongly) assumed that my blog was automatically mobile-friendly and in some ways it was.
If you viewed my blog via a mobile phone or tablet (and I did, many times), it certainly seemed mobile-friendly. Everything was stacked nicely and you didn’t have to scroll left and right to read my posts.
The text size seemed easy enough to read, pictures fit within the screen edges and all is right with the world!
A Mobile-Usability Error Message
So imagine my surprise when I kept getting email updates with error message via my Console* about “mobile usability issues.”
When I went into the issues, I found these issues even affected me with Google. Oooh, that’s not good! After all, we want our blogs to be found, right?
So, if my WordPress blog was automatically mobile-friendly, why was I receiving the above messages and why was Google penalising me in searches?
*A few people have asked me about Console so I’ll be doing a specific article on that shortly.
When I FINALLY took the time to read into my error messages about mobile-usability, I found that the mobile-friendly view my blog was currently showing wasn’t good enough for Google.
This may have been due to my theme and layout, but it was enough that it affected my blog with Google.
Not all themes are created equal. Some are not “responsive themes”. A responsive theme is one that changes slightly when viewed on a mobile device. This allows important details to be read on the reduced screen size.
Now a quick check of my monthly Console review shows that the majority of my readers view this blog on a desktop computer rather than a mobile device, but I don’t want ANYONE struggling to enjoy my blog.
So I looked into how to make it Mobile-Friendly so that Google didn’t hate me.
How To Enable Mobile-Friendly
Since I didn’t want to change my theme (yet) I thought I’d look into another way to enable mobile-friendly viewing.
Log into your WordPress website and you will have the Dashboard sidebar on the left. Scroll down until you reach the bottom where there should be WP Admin.
When you click this, you will go into the Admin dashboard, with yet another sidebar menu down the left-hand side. Scroll down until you reach Appearance.
This will open the appearance option and give you the following options. From these, select Mobile.
You will finally be in the correct place to see…this 🠗
Now, while the above screenshot states my theme is already “mobile-friendly” the Enable Mobile Theme was not selected. So I selected it.
My error was assuming that just because it was mobile-friendly, that it was enabled.
Now my mobile-version of my blog does look different, and to be frank, not as pretty as it used to. However, it is DEFINITELY better for navigating and clicking. So overall, I’m happy with it.
As I said earlier, you may already have this enabled, you may already know about this but for anyone who didn’t, I hope this information helped.