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How to Make Your Hubs Mobile-Friendly to Get More Traffic

Updated on March 30, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

In addition to applying his education, experience and professional background to his writing, Glenn Stok also shares tips for other authors.

My HubPages Profile as displayed on a Mobile Device.
My HubPages Profile as displayed on a Mobile Device.

In February 2015 Google announced that it is important to make sites mobile-friendly. If it fails the test it can reduce the number of times our hubs appear in search results of mobile users.

I received an important message on my Google Webmaster Tools warning me to fix mobile usability issues found on my Author Site.

The warning explained that pages on my site “would not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”

I studied the tutorials from Google to reprogram my site to work well for all screen sizes. Both Google {1} and Bing {2} have online test tools to confirm mobile friendliness if any web page.

So how does all this relate to HubPages?

This is the test result stating that my Author Site is now mobile-friendly.
This is the test result stating that my Author Site is now mobile-friendly. | Source

The Reason for Making Hubs Mobile Friendly


Okay, so I’m an HTML programmer and maintain my own site. However, with HubPages it’s easier. You don't need to be a web programmer.

HubPages already makes our hubs somewhat mobile-friendly.

The keyword is “somewhat.” There is still a lot we can do to make our hubs more mobile-friendly and thereby attract more mobile traffic.

The thing I found that needed further attention is hubs that use two columns. Many times there is incorrect placement of right-column images when displayed on a mobile device, making the article unreadable or difficult to follow.

Making our hubs mobile-friendly helps for one major reason – If mobile users leave quickly because they can’t read our hub, over time Google will send less traffic. Just as they alluded to in their warning about my Author Site, our pages won’t appear in the SERPs as often on mobile devices.


HubPages Blogged About Making Hubs Mobile-Friendly


HubPages warned us to make these changes in our hubs in one of their blogs {3} about mobile traffic. Since then I’ve been editing hubs to provide a better reader experience on mobile devices.

I also monitor my traffic to see how many mobile users read my hubs. My Google Analytics reports clearly show a huge increase in mobile traffic. Results may vary based on what kind of audience you attract.

I recommend that everyone should view how his or her hubs look on a smartphone. You can do in the HubTool. Just edit a hub and click “Preview” and select “Mobile Preview” as shown in the following example.

Previewing in the HubTool does not change the last modified date. If you don’t make any changes, the date will not change. However, if you see problems, you'll want to fix them.

Mobile preview example.
Mobile preview example.

How to Improve Hubs to Be Mobile-Friendly

Mobile Only Has One Column


Since our Hubs only display with one column on the small screens of mobile phones, image and text capsules on the right column fall in-line with the left column. If not positioned properly, it may appear in the wrong place and confuse the reader who is using a mobile phone.


Two Columns Layout Will Soon Be Eliminated


It’s best to avoid using two columns so that your hub looks the same for desktop as well mobile users. However, I'll admit their are cases where I like to keep a right-handed column for desktop visitors. When I do that I have to be very careful with placement, as I'll explain in a moment.

HubPages staff members have mentioned in various four threads that eventually two column layout will be eliminated. This means that the right-hand column will automatically be merged into the left column. If you made your hub mobile friendly and confirmed that with the preview, then you have nothing to worry about.

However, if you didn't pay attention, you may have problems with the right column content falling in the wrong place after the merge. And you may already have problems on mobile devices.


Incorrect Placement of Right-column Images


If you insist on using two columns for now, the trick is to place the right-column capsule to align it with the left capsule in such a way that it still makes sense when it is viewed when merged in-line with the left-column content.

If you see one of your images or text suddenly is in an unexpected place when in mobile view, you need to fix it so that the right-hand capsule falls between the appropriate text segments when in a single-line view. You can to this in three simple steps:

  1. Add an extra text capsule to split up the text.
  2. Cut and Paste the appropriate text into the extra capsule.
  3. Now move the right-hand capsule next to that new text capsule.

Then view the results in mobile preview. If done right, the tight-hand image or text capsule should appear above the specific text in the new extra capsule that you just created.


How to Prioritize Your Efforts


Concentrate on fixing the high traffic hubs first, especially if they are not getting much traffic from mobile. That's where the best reward for your efforts will be. Editing hubs that don't get much traffic will take much longer to show positive results since Google isn't paying much attention to them.

If you’re not using Google Analytics, it’s time you do. Start by reviewing your report under “Audience > Mobile > Overview” and see how many readers you have itemized by mobile, desktop and tablet devices.

Google Analytics Mobile Device Report showing breakdown of traffic by desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
Google Analytics Mobile Device Report showing breakdown of traffic by desktop, mobile and tablet devices. | Source


Now change the date range and compare the most resent 30-day period to a 30-day period of about a year ago. (Note that if you just started using Google Analytics, you’ll only have prior data up to the date you began collecting data).

Based on the results comparing the results of a year ago with the present, do you see a drop in mobile users?

If so, you need to work on your hubs to make them more mobile-friendly. HubPages already did their part with page formatting. Since we have control over our own layout, it’s up to us to perfect it.

Next step...

Preview any of your own hubs in mobile preview. I guarantee you’ll immediately see things you can change to improve results for your mobile readers. Remember to pay attention to position of capsule titles as well as captions on images. When everything is in a single column, these things need to make sense to the reader based on where they appear.

Anything that loses a reader or causes him or her to lose focus will ultimately hurt the ranking of a hub. Readers will click away as soon as they run into trouble with following the logic of the presentation. It's up to us to make sure our hubs are presented in the best way possible on all types of media. HubPages makes this easy with the "Mobile Preview" in the HubTool. Make use of it.


© 2015 Glenn Stok

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    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 2 years ago from Australia

      Some of my hubs are not mobile friendly, now I know how to make them display better on mobiles. Very useful information indeed.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      lady rain - I found many of mine that needed mobile-friendly changes of the type I discussed. Glad you found this useful.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 2 years ago from Texas

      I have checked my author site, and knew it needed a lot of work. It didn't occur to me to check Analytics for my Hubs. Thanks for the great information... I imagine all of us will benefit from your article!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Country-Sunshine - That's great that you have an author site too. I tried to find it but you don't include it in your links on your HP profile. If you use it as a reference to your articles like I do, then you may want to include it as your main point of contact. Thanks for the positive remarks about this hub.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Glenn, thanks for the helpful info. I need to go through my hubs especially the older ones and check out the mobile view to make sure they read ok. Voted up.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Jodah - Go through your best performing hubs first. They have the best chance of benefiting from mobile friendliness. Thanks for the vote up.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      Since we received that notice from HP, I have been checking my Hubs just to see how they look on a mobile device. I had to move some photos.

      I don't use G. Analytic, but I know I should. Thanks for the reminder.

      Voted UP, and certainly shared with others to read.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Glen - Thanks for the info in this hub. I checked out one of my hubs on mobile, and it did pretty well. I did what others on site are doing, and putting text capsule first followed by photo. The first text capsule tells what hub is about. I really like it. I need to check out some of your hubs again. You give good information. Pinning. Blessings, Audrey

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing this important bit of information. Very thoughtful of you, too. Many readers now won't read any other way but mobile.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      mary615 - That's great that you are being proactive with your hubs. Thanks for the vote up and the share.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      brakel2 - Yes. An introduction followed by a full-width image reproduces well on mobile. Thanks for the positive remarks Audrey. And thanks for pinning.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      MsDora - That definitely is the trend. I see the mobile audience growing in my Google Analytics reports. Thanks for stopping by.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Good information on checking our mobile statistics. Mine are still low for mobile use but I imagine that will change in the future. Thanks for the insight.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      PegCole17 - Traffic may be low from mobile for either of two reasons. (1) One's niche tends to attract desktop readers. (2) One's hubs don't display well on mobile devices. You can determine if number (2) is the reason by viewing your hubs in mobile preview.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 2 years ago from USA

      This is very helpful Glenn. My mobile use has gone up, but of course I'd like all of the traffic to go up!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Millionaire Tips - Glad your efforts with making your hubs mobile friendly is working to increase your mobile traffic. Don't worry so much if desktop traffic is not increasing - the overall average is decreasing as more people use mobile devices. When I compare my traffic from the first quarter two years ago to the first quarter of this year, I see an increase in mobile readers over desktop.

    • Jacobb9205 profile image

      Jacob Barnard 2 years ago from Gloucestershire

      Ahh I never thought about how my hub would look like on a mobile device, thank you!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Jacobb9205 - It's important now more than ever to make sure everything we write on the Internet is mobile friendly. Google just started using that in its ranking algorithm. HubPages does a lot towards that end, but as I mentioned in this hub, there are still many things we need to consider as we format our hubs.

    • Jacobb9205 profile image

      Jacob Barnard 2 years ago from Gloucestershire

      Glenn Stok, Indeed, I completely agree. I don't know anyone really who doesn't use their phones most of the day. Ahh awesome! Ahh ok.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Jacobb9205 - I'm noticing the same that most people use their phones to search. And Google Analytics shows that detail too. Thanks for your comment on that.

    • enamateur profile image

      Perry 2 years ago

      Awesome hub. Mobile site friendliness is becoming ubiquitous all over the web now, and it makes sense since almost all of our devices are portable now.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      This is a very useful hub for all Hubpage authors who have forgotten the great number of mobile readers we have. Thanks for sharing the information in this hub.

    • Supuni Fernando profile image

      Supuni Fernando 2 years ago from Colombo, Sri Lanka

      Most of the users read hubs through mobiles, and this article is very useful to us authors. And yes Google Analytics is a great tool for keeping up to date with your hub statistics.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thank you all, Jacobb9205, enamateur, Paul Kuehn, and Supuni Fernando, for your confirmation about the increasing use of mobile devices.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Glenn, thanks for the pointers. I would have to check mine out this week and next month to make them mobile-friendly. BTW, another hub of mine have been declined for niche-approval with the same email I posted to you this weekend. I'll do some tweaks every now and then.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Kristen, Dont forget to make everything single column. Also get ride of the horizontal lines you're using in some of your hubs for separators. I don't think they want those because they may cause trouble when format layouts are changed. Good luck with it.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 8 weeks ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Glenn: Thank you for your tutorials. I'm still way behind the power curve with the changes here at HubPages, but your articles at least give me a fighting chance to catch up.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Gotcha Glenn. Bios and mobile-friendly layout should be a quick fix for my articles. I'll retry my first declined article to be approved for a niche next week and see what happens if these tips.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Kathleen Cochran - You're ahead of most others just because you are paying attention. Make sure to review my 20-step check list too. That should help.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Good luck Kristen. Let me know how that goes next week with your niche hub submission.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Glenn. I will via here or email. Right now, I'm not able to select hubs to move over from one column to another under a bio under About the Author. Can you help? I can highlight it but nothing moves or is saved.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Kristen, I needed to reassign some hubs to a different bio and discovered that bug yesterday. I reported it and Matt said they will fix it. In the meantime you can go into the HubTool on each hub individually. Open the Display Options on the right side. Then you can make changes to you bios there. Don't forget to click "save" when done. It's awkward since you can only work on one hub at a time, but it gets the job done.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Glenn. I'm glad I'm not alone. Let me know if you hear back from Matt. I'll do that in the meantime, a few at a time.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Kristen, Matt will probably post the update where I reported it in the following thread:

      http://hubpages.com/community/forum/141138/is-the-...

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Glenn. I did email HP yesterday on tips to get more hubs approved for niches--Karla posted the stellar hub tips and the editorial guidelines for here, and told me to look at the ones for the niches. She told me to aim for a score of 8 or higher, which would be hard for me to do. I did ask her when my Arizona hub will be off the editing queue. She told me she doesn't know when that would be. So I'll see what I can do to fix my hubs.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Kristen, It gets easier as you continue to apply the stellar hub tips and the Google quality guidelines to your hubs. It becomes second nature after a while. Just keep doing what you're doing. The niche sites, by the way, each have their own guidelines that you can find by clicking the Editorial Policy link on each niche site.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Glenn. I'll try my best. I'll keep it in mind and hope to rewrite and write new hubs in the weeks to come.

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