Every so often I get a request for a customization from a customer that I have to say no, I won’t do that. For the most part, if the request is possible, I do my best to help but there is one request I will refuse every time.
Can you make the mobile version have the sidebar stay on the side of the page just like on the desktop/laptop version of the theme?
I will say no every time and here’s why.
Recent studies show that Internet browsing on mobile devices now accounts for more than 50% of Internet traffic. That means more than half your visitors are viewing your site on a tablet or smartphone.
In response to this trend, in April 2015, Google added mobile responsiveness as part of it’s site search ranking algorithm. This means, all other things being equal, a site that is mobile responsive will rank higher in search results than a non-mobile friendly site.
Our themes and templates meet Google’s “mobile friendly” standards. This means better search rankings and more visitors.
A website the merely “resizes” to fit the desktop version of the site into a mobile screen is not considered “mobile friendly” by Google and therefore will take a SEO and search ratings hit.
Bad Reader Experiences
I can understand a blogger’s desire to have their sidebar visible on mobile view, I really can. That’s why our designs keep the sidebar visible as long as the screen size makes this possible and the content is still comfortably readable.
If your visitors have to pinch and zoom to read your content on a mobile phone or smaller tablet however, this is not a good visitor experience. Personally, when I happen across these sites, unless I know they have content I absolutely can’t find anywhere else, I bounce. I move on looking for a site that is more reader friendly. And I do A LOT of browsing on my phone. My laptop is for work and that’s pretty much all I use if for. My tablet I use to read ebooks. My phone is where I cruise the internet and if I have to spend time messing with your site to zoom it so I can read your content, I’m gone.
As a blogger, your content, your blog posts are what draw your visitors. Your posts, not your sidebar content, is what gets you search results on Google and brings in traffic. So, keep your content front and center with a great responsive design that keeps your content at the top. If your content is great and your visitors want to know more about you, they’ll check out your menu links or take the time to scroll down to your sidebar at the bottom of the page. People don’t mind scrolling now days. It’s the way we view content on small screens.
OK, I won’t go on for very long about this topic because I think these 2 points should be enough to emphasize how important a great, readable mobile layout for your blog is.
SEO and good reader experiences are the heart of every blog. With an increasing amount of traffic coming from mobile devices, bloggers have to be aware of what a good mobile reading experience looks like. If you aren’t already on the responsive bandwagon, keep this in mind when you upgrade your site design. Which you should do really soon! The Google algorithm has been out for almost a year and it will probably only get more restrictive, not less.