Scary Changes Coming Up

There are some changes underway for website owners.

Google indexing goes Mobile First

Google is in the process of indexing the mobile versions of websites first. That means that the index for your mobile website will be more important than the index of your desktop website. We’ve gotten quite a few notices that this has happened for websites we take care of, and we’ve seen no effects yet.

Google says that it will take years before it gets all websites re-indexed. So far, they say, there hasn’t been much difference between desktop and mobile websites. This makes sense, since Google has been recommending responsive websites for years.

This change does matter for websites that have big differences between their desktop and mobile sites, and for unresponsive websites. If you’ve been meaning to get on top of your mobile web presence and haven’t gotten around to it yet, this is definitely the time to do it.

WordPress switches to Gutenberg

Sometime next month, the new Gutenberg editor will become the default editor for all WordPress websites. So they say. We’ve heard plenty of “It’s almost here!” announcements already and this might be another case of excessive optimism, but it’s going to happen sometime.

The editing experience will be completely different. If you are used to being able to write up your own posts and pages when you feel like it, or to edit posts and pages yourself, you should be prepared for a little bit of a learning curve.

Gutenberg will not mess up your existing content. You will be able to continue using the Classic Editor if you prefer (just be sure to install the plugin).You will probably find that at least some of the plugins you use will not be compatible with Gutenberg. You might want to start lobbying the makers of the most important ones now.

You can install the Gutenberg plugin now and get some practice time before the big change takes place. What you probably can’t do if you like to be able to work on your own site is to ignore it. The difference between Gutenberg and Classic is significant.

Google maps requires payment information

Google says that 98% of users won’t have to pay for maps, but everyone who wants to embed a Google map on a website will have to provide credit card information.

This could be a move to get that 2% of heavy users to pay their way, but it looks more like a marketing effort. Google Maps Platform is now part of Google Cloud Services, which is where you’ll need to set up your billing account. You get one year of those services for free when you sign up.

Signing up is not optional. It will take a while for Google to get around to all the websites, but you should decide now whether you want to sign up or look for an alternative source for maps on your website.

How scary are these changes?

We know that people are often ready to throw in the towel at the first sign of an algorithm update or a Facebook policy shift. We’d say none of these changes have to be scary — as long as you’re prepared.  We’re happy to help. Call 479.966.9761 to discuss your needs.

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