When it comes to your photography website, have you ever heard of Mobilegeddon? Or mobilepocalypse? Or mobilegeddonocalypse?
Do those terms scare you? Do you have any idea what you should be scared of?
These are just a few of the names people gave to Google’s mobile-friendly update last year. In case you missed the fear fest in April of 2015, the update basically meant Google’s mobile search results would start favoring mobile-friendly sites over non-mobile-friendly sites.
It wasn’t the kind of breaking news to inspire doomsday prepping, but it did (and continues to) affect everyone with a website — yes, even us professional photographers.
The truth is, too many photographers’ websites are not mobile friendly.
I know highly skilled and experienced photographers who’ve run their own business for years and think, “I know it’s important for my site to be mobile friendly, but I’ll have to get to it later. It’s just so hard and expensive — not to mention time consuming!”
This way of thinking just doesn’t cut it anymore. Ten years ago, having a non-mobile-friendly photography website wasn’t a big deal, but times have clearly changed.
Google rarely discloses any information about their searches, but in 2015, they announced more searches were completed on mobile devices than on desktops. That’s astounding!
Even more, when searching for local businesses, over 60% of searches are carried out on smartphones and tablets, and the number keeps growing.
So Why Should You Care?
First, this is primarily an issue of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Basically, if your photography website isn’t mobile friendly, it ranks much lower on mobile search results.
That means if someone is searching for senior portrait photographers in their area, photographers with mobile-friendly sites will typically show up much higher than photographers with non-mobile-friendly sites.
Is this a big deal for you? Absolutely! How often do you search Google for something on your phone and actually hit the “NEXT” button to see the results on the following page?
Improving your search ranking can take months or years through other kinds of SEO, but converting your site to a mobile-friendly version is one of the only SEO issues you can fix in one day.
Second, we all know how frustrating it is to view a non-mobile-friendly site on a device.
How long do you think your visitors will pinch-zoom and swipe on an outdated site before going to another photographer’s mobile-friendly site?
What You Can Do About It
First, if you’re not sure whether your photography website is mobile friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test here. Just enter your site’s URL, and you’ll quickly learn whether your site is considered mobile friendly.
If your photography website is not yet mobile friendly, you have several options:
1. Build a separate site for mobile users and keep your current desktop version active.
Building a separate mobile site can be cheaper to design on the frontend, but it requires continual site maintenance. To update your site, you’d need to manually update both the desktop and mobile versions. Also, mobile-only sites have difficulty adapting to different screen sizes, so what may work on a smartphone could be distorted on a tablet.
2. Build a responsive website.
When a website is ‘responsive’, it incorporates special code to display properly on all devices — desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. This is much more flexible than mobile-only sites, but hiring a skilled site designer to create a responsive site isn’t usually cheap.
3. Build your responsive portfolio site with a platform such as StickyFolios.
We’ve managed to make it so easy that you just don’t have an excuse anymore. In a matter of minutes, you can build a simple portfolio site (like this) that looks great on all platforms, including desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones, for a fraction of what you’d pay an individual site designer.