By Brian Richardson
In mid-2015, Google started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. In layman’s terms, this means your winery’s search ranking has been negatively impacted sicne 2015 if you fail to have a mobile-responsive website. As Google warned, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” Why this penalty? Google wants its users to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices. In short, when your winery website looks terrible on smartphones and tablets, it reflects negatively both on your business and on Google for suggesting your site in the first place…
So what does it mean for a website to be mobile-friendly? It means that your site has been coded in a way that makes it display nicely on smaller screens. The website is smart enough to recognize the size of the screen being used, and it adjusts page layout accordingly. With over a billion people using mobile devices to browse the web, your winery can’t afford to alienate potential customers via a poor mobile website.
You can check whether your winery’s website is currently mobile-friendly just by doing a google search for your winery name while using a smartphone or tablet. You will see a gray “Mobile-friendly” indicator in your website description section of the search result page if it is responsive. If you don’t see this gray indicator, you should be getting your new site developed now or else face a costly search engine penalty. You can also use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check your URL.
A Bit of a Background on Mobile Websites
When smartphones and tablets first came to market, developers usually created a second website that would be shown just to mobile viewers. This is known among techies as an “m.dot” site after the usual way the separate url is written (m.wineryname.com). One of the main problems with an m.dot site is that every time you update your website, you have to update it both on your normal website and on the mobile version! Your expenses like hosting and maintenance also double.
Nowadays, you don’t have to create a second, separate mobile website. Rather, your developer can create what is known as a responsive website, which means it is coded to display differently (and properly) on any size screen. This is a fundamental shift in how websites are developed and of pivotal importance considering new web-browsing devices are hitting the market every day. With a responsive website, you don’t need to pay to develop two websites (a desktop and a mobile version) with different URLs, as yourwinery.com will cater to any and all screen sizes. Any time you want to edit your website, you only have to edit it once for changes to reflect on all devices. This is a much better solution than maintaining a separate mobile website.
How To Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website right now, you unfortunately can’t flip some switch deep in your admin settings that automatically makes your existing site mobile-friendly. The site will have to be rebuilt using modern coding standard of responsive websites. This is a good opportunity to give your website a facelift a the same time, rather than paying to have the same design rebuilt but with mobile-responsive code.
A good website developer should NOT charge you extra to make your website mobile-friendly. Good website developers understand this is of critical importance and build it right into their normal services.
Mobile Websites for Wineries from Vinbound Marketing
All of the websites that we build for wineries are mobile-friendly. For small wineries, we suggest a new website built on the Squarespace content management system. For medium and large wineries that need larger sites and more complex ecommerce solutions, we build using WordPress and ensure your site is completely responsive. Our goal is to make sure your site impresses visitors and encourages tasting room visits / wine sales whether they discover you via desktop, iphone, ipad, iwatch, etc. etc. etc.