In April, I was among zillions of others who received a message from the company that hosts my bootedman.com website to advise that the site is not considered “mobile friendly” according to google, and therefore some of its pages may no longer appear in results from searches.
How did I, a non-mobile-device-user, feel about that?
(rolls eyes) … well, I knew this was coming. Earlier this year, I reviewed data that shows that now about 90% of my website’s visitors come from a mobile device. Wow — 90%! Who woulda thunk?
As recently as February, I updated mobile-friendly drop-down menus on my website. And now big-bad-imposing Mother Google is saying that my little old hobby website still fails its review of what it considers to be a mobile-friendly site.
Okay, I understand the issue. Making web pages visible on all sorts of devices using many different screen sizes and operating systems is what needs to be done, yet is a nightmare for us old-school “hard-coding” website hobbyists (who won’t pay a nickel/euro/shilling/rupee to anyone else to do that work.)
Note: key word — “hobbyist.” My website is a hobby. It is not my full-time job. I am not trying to sell things on it. It is not a business. For those pushy search engine optimization (SEO) people from Bindeshwar, Odessa, India — NO, I will not pay you to revise pages on my site to make it more findable by search engines!
Now, back to the topic at-hand. (Or in the case of my bootedman.com website, the topic at-foot.)
I have read various guidelines and instructions on what I have to do to make each page on my website more mobile-friendly. Key actions include:
- Removing tables that I had set up to make the screen fit the optimum size for a traditional screen used with a desktop computer.
- including a “viewport” meta tag at the top of each page that reads [meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″]. This allows the page to scale to the correct size for the browser viewing it.
- Implementing a too-long-avoided use of CSS to state the font style and size of the text on my pages instead of using the old font tags throughout.
- Changing how embedded YouTube videos are included by using “iframe” references instead of the old “embed object” coding.
- Changing the “you are here” breadcrumb links on the top of each page to 44px square icons instead of text.
The only thing that I am not changing (yet) is to state the fixed height and width of the images on my site or resize them. I now have more than 10,000 images on my website. Resizing or stating the scale of each image throughout the entire site would take impossibly too long for me to do, and I am not convinced that the images on my site are not visible on mobile devices anyway.
If YOU have a mobile device, especially a smartphone, will you visit this page about my Chippewa Firefighter Boots and let me know by leaving me a comment (below) or writing to me about how the page looks and what you see? Do my images automatically rescale to fit the screen, or are the images of fixed size and they run off the screen — that is, do you have to scroll to see the entire image?
I will eventually change all 600+ pages on my website with the coding changes described in the list above. I have to do that one page at a time. I do not know of an automated method to do that work any faster than manually, one-at-a-time. It will take me several months to find the time to implement those changes. But 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there eventually adds up. Note: I may also be deleting a number of pages that I will choose not to maintain for various reasons. It’s like purging a “friends list” on Facebook — sometimes, the “low-interactors” need to go.
Thank you for your patience with this non-mobile-friendly dinosaur.
Life is short: make changes to keep up with technology, even if you choose not to adopt the technology yourself.