Your Non-Mobile Website is About to Get Seriously Penalized

A Boon for Mobile-Friendly Law Firm Websites?

According to a recent study, “60% of US adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline.” This means if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re probably already missing out on potential website traffic, and with Google’s algorithm update, you could be missing out on even more. However, if your site IS mobile-friendly, you stand to benefit from the traffic your non-mobile competitors’ sites will be losing.

This shift represents one of the biggest opportunities we’ve seen to make a land grab in SEO. While Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, rarely do they make such a significant change all at once. And in the legal industry, where many attorney sites aren’t mobile-friendly, this represents a HUGE opportunity to shoot up in the rankings for law firms with a mobile-friendly site.

What Distinguishes a Mobile and Non-Mobile Website?

There are two main types of mobile websites – responsive sites, and separate mobile sites. A responsive website is a website that is formatted to fit the dimensions of your monitor, whether it is a large desktop monitor, tablet, or a smartphone screen. To determine if your website is responsive, open a web browser and go to your law firm’s website. Make sure the browser is not full-screen. Make the window extremely narrow to the point where you would be cutting off text on the page. If the site is mobile-responsive, the text will re-adjust to fit on the screen and the navigation menu at the top will be in a narrow drop-down. If the site is not mobile, the text will be cut off.

Related: What is a Responsive Website?

What about separate mobile sites? A separate mobile website is a completely distinct website made for mobile devices. You can tell if your website is mobile if you check it out on a mobile phone and the website has a URL like “m.mywebsite.com” or “mobile.mywebsite.com”.

How Can I Tell if My Website is Mobile?

Here’s an easy, quick way to check if your site is mobile-ready: ask Google. Go to this link and type in your address. You’ll get an answer right away. Interestingly, Google has stated that it’s either all-or-nothing when it comes to sites being mobile-ready. There are no shades of gray here.

What to Do if Your Site is not Mobile

If your law firm’s website is not mobile, time is short.

Option 1: Find a web designer and have them port over your website to a mobile platform. If your site is not already in Wordpress, we recommend it. It’s easy to work with and does well in search engines.

Related: Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Law Firm Web Designer

When getting a mobile website redesign, make sure you are getting a redesign with all of your existing content and links intact. Also, make sure that your designer has done a port and mobile redesign before. For more tips on hiring a web designer, check out our ebook.

Option 2 (for experienced designers): If your website is in Wordpress but not mobile, buy and install a mobile-responsive theme and change it over. The drawback here is that all themes need to be customized and your site may end up looking very sloppy once you make the migration. I don’t recommend this option if you don’t know how to code CSS and HTML, since you will have to make some edits to customize the new site, and there’s always a chance things can get messed up more.

Andrew Cabasso
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso
Andrew Cabasso is a practicing attorney and VP of Web Services at Uptime Legal where he runs JurisPage, an Internet Marketing firm specializing in online presence solutions for law firms including website design, SEO, and search marketing. He has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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