The Internet is making a pivot to mobile viewing. Experts declare, "We're now past the mobile Tipping Point" changing from desktop to laptop, mobile, and tablets. In the four years since I got my first smart phone the suggestions I considered as "optional" for mobile design have become website essentials. Google anticipated this pivot to mobile over a year ago. In April 2015, Google threatened to reduce the visibility of your website or blog in search results if it is not "mobile-friendly."
What does mobile friendly mean? How can you tell if your website fits that restricted definition by Google? Here is one simple test.
Just try to grab the right side edge of your website (on your computer screen) and pull in the width of the page. As you can see in the image (left) the content on the right side of my website doesn't show anymore. The viewing window is smaller and obscures half my content.
If your website layout doesn't change, move, or realign to the narrower width of a phone or tablet...your website is not mobile friendly.
The current goal in websites is a responsive web design. This means the same website works for all platforms. With adaptive web design layout, the content should automatically reformat to be tailored for any desktop, tablet or smartphone screen dimensions. SquareSpace templates work for all platforms and came highly recommended.
Now I am taking the huge step in creating two, yes two whole new websites. One website is for my silver repair business and the other for my artwork. For the past two months the intensive effort uses every free moment. New domains, new platform, new design, and completely new website. This has not been easy.
With sad heart I finally had to acquiesce to a template - the only way to go for a small business. At least the code is updated regularly to comply with current and frequently changing internet standards.
To get this job done within a reasonable amount of time, I hired a graphic design student from the local community college as a paid summer intern. She has been gaining great experience each week working at home and at my house so we can discuss problems and solutions at a moment's notice.
As the first goal while learning SquareSpace, we constructed a new website for my silver repair business "Berman Fine Silverwork." Purchasing a new domain name allowed the transition from the old website to new pages to be swift and painless.
TIP #1. Keep URLs as short as possible.
A new domain name for "Berman Fine Silverwork" shortened the URL.
TIP #2. Create a website that functions on phones, tablets and computers.
SquareSpace is designed to function on all platforms. During the construction you can double check how it looks on each device.
Create a "301 redirect" for each page of the old website to the new site. My silver business is a relatively small website so with a few 301 redirects all the pages (and page rankings) were moved over to my new website. In less than 24 hours I was getting inquires for silver repair jobs.
301 redirects are permanent. The closest analogy is like a change of address card that you would use at the post office for snail mail. A 301 redirect tells browsers to go to a different URL when someone clicks a link to a nonexistent page. The purpose is to tell search engines that a page has moved. It also automatically transfers the old website page rank to the new page.
Moving page ranks to your new web pages is essential when creating a new site. If you don't do a 301 redirect from your old site to your new website....the years of history, internet activity, and even the links (from other people and websites) to the old website are lost forever. A 301 is easy to do and moves the established credibility from the old site to the new one.
Ideally, create a 301 redirect from each page of the old site to the corresponding page on the new site. Do not just create one 301 redirect from the old website to the new home page. That is truly missing the point of a 301. You want to retain the old page rank from each page when creating the respective new website page. Each page of the old website should ideally link to a corresponding page on your new website.
My future work is creating an Excel spread sheet listing every page of my old website anticipating the corresponding 301 redirects to my new website pages. In the meantime.....I will share my web design experience.
More information in future posts may help guide your new website construction.