According to Google, more than half of all web traffic is consumed by users on mobile devices. It’s well past the time to pay attention to mobile users. If you haven’t organized your site and made it mobile friendly, you stand to lose out on a lot of business. Users expect easy-to use-and fast-loading sites developed for mobile devices.
In fact, Google has stated its intent to roll out a mobile-first search index. Instead of search results being generated favoring the desktop version of a site, Google will begin to favor mobile versions. If you have a half-hearted mobile site and a full-fledged desktop site, you better be careful once Google starts favoring the mobile site.
First announced back in 2016, Google hasn’t set an official “go-live” date, although many sources are pointing to an early 2018 deployment. With this in mind, let’s focus on some of the tools you can use to help improve the mobile versions of your website.
1. Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
The Mobile-Friendly Test Tool provided by Google will take a look at your site through the eyes of a mobile user and report back any issues it finds. Are links too close together? Are the fonts used appropriate for a small screen? Are all resources available to the mobile user?
This should be the first stop for anyone looking to get a high-level picture of how their mobile site performs.
2. Google robots.txt Tester
If Google can’t access portions of your site, it can’t index them. Verify you aren’t inadvertently blocking important sections of your site in your robots.txt file by using Google’s free robots.txt Tester.
3. Google Structured Data Testing Tool
Structured data is just as important on mobile sites as it is on a desktop site. Structured data helps identify the content of your site to Google indexing bots. Thus, search results will be improved when properly tagging your data. Google has a free structured data testing tool available to users. Make sure to verify your mobile site is configured properly when compared to your desktop site.
4. Google PageSpeed Insights
The PageSpeed Insights tool will analyze your website for common issues and will give you an overview with detailed guidance on how to best speed up your page. Recommendations may include compressing images or eliminating render-blocking resources.
If you want to get extremely technical with your analysis, take a look at Dareboost and the next entry in this list WebPageTest.
Dareboost has a great site with easy to read information. After analyzing your site, it will report back various categories weighted by the importance of things you should do to improve both the performance and security of your site. I find their descriptive guidance to resolve issues especially helpful.
WebPageTest offers many of the same tests and feedback as Dareboost but without as much prescriptive guidance. However, I do tend to prefer WebPageTest’s waterfall view of the site giving you a visualization of which components are taking the longest to load. This makes it easy to pinpoint slow loading components or pictures you may want to consider compressing. Make sure your mobile site is faster to load than your desktop site.
7. What Does My Site Cost?
We may take it for granted, but not all countries or mobile networks offer unlimited data plans. Many countries offer minimal data plans or pay as you go. What Does My Site Cost will run a test on your site and will come back with how much users in various countries would have to pay to visit your site through a mobile plan in that country.
Although not prescriptive, this site can give you some insight into the effect of having a graphics “heavy” site.
8. Cloudinary WebSpeed Test Image Analysis Tool
Once you have a few speed tests under your belt, there are likely to be images that need to be altered to better compress them and reduce your site cost. That’s where Cloudinary comes in.
With its image analysis tool, Cloudinary will visually offer you alternatives to improve performance and reduce cost. Although they offer paid plans, the free plan is likely to work well for developers of small and medium sized sites.
Screenfly doesn’t analyze anything and it doesn’t make any recommendations – instead, it provides an easy way to view your website at different resolutions.
Want to know how your site looks and feels to a mobile phone user and compare it to how a tablet user views your site? Just select the device you wish to emulate and you can interact with your site from your desktop.
10. Qualys SSL Server Test
An SSL certificate is important – especially so on mobile devices where you may have payment information saved and a wealth of other personal data. You will want to ensure your mobile site is just as secure as your desktop site.
Although the Qualys SSL Server Test focuses on SSL, it can detect openly known vulnerabilities. It won’t replace a full penetration test, but a quick measure will help you spot the low hanging fruit.