Just when you thought it was safe to good in and code again, Google has essentially demanded that all websites be mobile friendly. This essentially means being what is called “responsive”. For those not in the web trade this is a school of design wherein you use on code base to create a website that automagically resizes to look good on a computer, tablet, or phone. This wasn’t even really possible until a couple of years ago due to how crappy browsers used to be which is why you saw all those website like m.bbc.com which were the mobile versions of the websites that, while the same guts underneath, had a different skin on the surface.
Responsive design is a pain in the ass to get right. There is always some quirk of some browser that flushes your hours of hard work down the toilet which is why I’ve generally stayed away from trying to do too much of it. Then of course Google has drawn a line in the sand in that they have started to suppress search results on mobile devices for websites that they see as not displaying well on said device. Fair enough. But, given how much mobile has become a major way in which we view content on the web these days, if they view your website as not being up to standard, you’ll lose a ton of traffic.
This is somewhat similar to how they insisted that websites which were encrypted would place higher in rankings a little while back as well. I gave that a try and it didn’t make much difference. What I have noticed has been a slow decrease in traffic though as I just haven’t had time to deal with this redesign issue. I finally bowed to the pressure of almighty data lord, Google and tossed a new theme I downloaded from someone else over the top of my wine review site, Wine on VI. That theme is far from fully tweaked to my liking but overall it works and I have to say that while I’ve given up a ton of control, the end result looks a lot sharper than it did previously.
Also interesting is that traffic has suddenly doubled over the same day in previous weeks. There hasn’t been any swift increase in content or anything else. The only major change was to introduce this new responsive theme and it seems like Google quickly took note of it. Naturally, this sucks as it means that I’ll have to go through and deal with this on all of the websites that I run. It also means that I’ll probably have to delve into learning some new coding structures as well and it all comes back around to the reason that I sorta checked out of web development a couple of years ago as you can never really keep up with everything and it seems that once you’ve gone through and upgraded everything to the newest standard, something else needs to be done. All of this of course when the only thing you’d like to do is spit out an article here and there and otherwise enjoy life. Apparently, Google has other plans for all of us.