Once upon a time, there was a King called Mobile..
All good fairy tales start like this… but this is not a fairy tale. This is the brutal truth as specified by Google 2016.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly it will no longer be shown in the search engine result pages (SERPs) when people are searching on their mobiles, which equates to approximately 60 per cent of all users, depending on the country and demographics. You simply will not be found.
There is just no way around it any more. In many countries smartphones have overtaken the number of PCs in use.
In the USA 94 per cent of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones, but the strange thing is that 77 per cent of these mobile searches happen either in the home or at work, places where it is likely that there is a desktop computer available.
*stats from developer.google.com
Google’s main objective is to optimise the search experience for all users to make sure they find what they are looking for. Since 21st April 2015, Google has used mobile-friendliness as a search ranking signal.
How to make your site mobile friendly
There are various options for making your website mobile friendly: either responsive or by creating a separate mobile site. How you optimise your website for mobile devices will depend largely upon the type of business and the products you sell.
For some websites it is enough to use what is called a responsive template that scales and "cleans" the information up for mobiles or iPads. There are many advantages to using a responsive template. One of them is cost - it doesn’t have to cost extra as such, if you have included it in the original price of building the website. Of course if your website is old you might have to scrap the complete site, and start from scratch rather than trying to make the old technology become responsive.
The other big advantage is if you update something on your website, the mobile version will automatically update as well. A responsive template takes the main elements of your site, identifies the important information and displays the elements in a user-friendly size for mobile users.
When buying a template for a website that has this automatically done, it is however recommended that you check whether the responsive adjustments are suitable for your business, will serve the right purpose and allow the right call to actions to be set up. If not, you can adjust the look to accommodate it. In general it is an important rule to test and adjust your responsive design regularly to optimise for mobile conversions.
Google actually recommend using a responsive web design as opposed to a special site built only for mobile.
Separate mobile site
Another option is to build a specific mobile version of your site. The biggest advantage here is that you can design the site exclusively thinking about the mobile user experience – and you don’t have to consider the content that is on your desktop site. Of course the downside is that you will have to maintain this mobile site separately, so any updates must be done on both desktop and mobile websites, and there will normally also be an extra hosting cost.
Google has made a tool called the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to help check if your site is mobile friendly. (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/)
No matter which option you go for, the most important thing when going mobile, is that you consider the following points:
- Navigability: Make it easy for the user to navigate and to do what you want them to do on your site. The colour choice should take into consideration that the user may be outside when looking at their phone. The buttons should be big enough to be clicked on with a finger or the thumb, and the user shouldn’t have to load any information such as heavy images that isn’t essential for the user experience. Take into consideration the customer's journey – what is it he/she (and your business) want to achieve?
- Prioritise: Mobile sites are all about prioritising. You have a lot less space, so you should only choose to show what is essential. If you have an online shop, it is all about making the process of buying as easy as possible for the user. This is what mobile users care most about.
- Conversions: Make your visitor convert! With the right call to actions you can make sure your user goes through the buying or contact process and converts on your mobile site. For example, if you want the user to call your business, this can be done much easier than on a desktop version as they can simply click call on their phone - if this is set up right – it can lead to more conversions than on the desktop version.
If you are unsure if your website is optimised for mobiles, contact Redline today and we can help you analyse your current site to see if it is up to speed.
And they lived happily ever after…
"Google’s main objective is to optimise the search experience for all users to make sure they find what they are looking for. Since 21st April 2015, Google has used mobile-friendliness as a search ranking signal."