How to tell if your website really sucks on mobile

Pete Townshend with guitar

How to tell if your website really sucks on mobile

Pete Townsend was an early adopter. He went mobile in 1971.

For others of us, it took a bit longer.

If I had to pick the one most compelling report that spurred me on to update my WordPress site to a responsive design it was the blunt red warning I got by running my site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site:

Moore Creative old website Google Mobile-Friendly Page Test

That test was one of lots of easy tools I used before my DIY update of my WordPress site to a mobile-friendly theme. It’s not hard to find out page load speed, how your existing site looks on mobile devices and how you’re doing on other SEO factors.

How I found out just how badly my WordPress site was performing on mobile.

In addition to justifying that my site really needed updating, I wanted to gather analytics so I could compare Before/After site performance once my new site went live.

I used to see how my site looked on mobile. Here’s the bad news I got with views on two different iPhones before the rebuild:

Screen shot of Merry Ann Moore old site on mobile

Appearance of old site on iPhone 6s

Mobiletestme old Merry Ann Moore site on iPhone 5

Appearance of old site on iPhone 5

Google Analytics provided more hard proof that my site was not doing an effective job attracting and engaging the right visitors. Below are my Page Views (126) bounce rate (65%), pages per session (1.64) and average session duration (29 seconds) over a one-month period for my old site:

Users & bounce rates BEFORE website redesign

PageSpeed Insights showed my page load time scores—from 72 to 100—were also Needs Improvement, to use the old grammar school euphemism:
GA Page Speed scores BEFORE responsive design

And my mobile PageSpeed Scores could only be called an embarrassment:

Page Speed score mobile BEFORE

Page Speed score desktop BEFORE

My link analytics also stunk out loud. Moz Open Site Explorer showed I only had two inbound links and authority scores in the gutter:

Link metrics BEFORE website rebuild

Google Analytics confirmed I also had a “growth opportunity” on referral traffic (to earn more backlinks):

GA Channels BEFORE website update

WooRank told me my top priority for fixing my site was page load speed:

Moore Creative old website Woorank score

But it’s always darkest before the dawn. Later in this series of posts I’ll compare these baselines to what happened when I updated my WordPress website to a responsive theme.

Collect baseline metrics on your old website BEFORE you launch a new one

If you need to persuade someone up the ladder that it’s time for a website rebuild, get some ammo from the reports above. If you’re embarking on a redesign, don’t wait to export analytics reports and take screenshots on your old site. You’ll want to do Before/After comparisons. And you don’t want to realize you should have after your old site is gone.

Learn more—like how NOT to pick a great WordPress theme for consultants—by checking out my other posts in this series, Why Updating Your WordPress Site to Mobile Responsive Will Drive You Insane.

Merry Ann Moore

I'm a born creative trapped in an analytic's body. My work has spanned comms, content marketing, web development, branding, and political organizing. I will talk your ear off about Serie A, the Portland Thorns, croissants aux amandes, the latest thing my dog rolled in, and the genius of David Byrne.

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