You probably already know that it’s important for your website to be appealing, responsive, and fast for mobile users.
But do you know how important that is?
Consider this: Mobile devices overtook desktops as users’ go-to internet source in 2014 and, according to Cisco, “Global mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021.”
Your website’s mobile adaptability just went from important to imperative.
Of course, well before the Cisco report was released, Google had already done its part to skyrocket the urgency of having a mobile-friendly website. On April 21, 2015, Google rolled out a new search ranking algorithm that was half-jokingly dubbed “mobilegeddon” by nervous webmasters everywhere.
Essentially, the algorithm was put in place to rank websites’ mobile performance, as opposed to desktop performance, and give mobile device search preference to those sites that worked the best for mobile users.
The upshot for several websites that were already enjoying a high desktop ranking, but either weren’t mobile-friendly or had a few pages that weren’t, was that they were suddenly carrying a mobile ranking that was much lower than their desktop ranking.
While perhaps mildly scary, and certainly an inconvenience for many, mobilegeddon was really a much needed wake-up call for website owners. It forced companies everywhere to “get real” about prioritizing user experience and satisfaction for their mobile visitors, which, based on mobile’s dominance of the web today, should be non-negotiable.
There are many ways to ensure that your website looks as good on a mobile device as it does on a laptop, but the primary goal is simplification.
Mobile users have a limited amount of space (and time) to find what they’re looking for on a website, and they’re typically not fond of intensive scrolling and reading lots of small print.
Here are a few recommendations for how to approach this process on your website:
- Employ responsive design. Better for smaller business due to its affordability, responsive design utilizes CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) technology., which allows your website to auto-adjust itself to the size of the device on which it’s being viewed.
- Employ adaptive design. The most comprehensive method, and, therefore, the most expensive, adaptive design allows your website to detect device types and then respond accordingly by generating device-specific versions of each of its pages.
The caveat: While adaptive design is certainly an attractive option, the cost involved typically makes it a reasonable expense only for very large companies with vast audiences to reach.
- Build a separate mobile version of your site. This method is often easier and cheaper than editing your existing site, mainly because there are several free build-your-own mobile website services available.
The caveat: Your mobile site will have a URL that’s different from your original site, which may create confusion and make it harder for people to find you. It may also be more difficult to track how people use your website and where your leads/customers are coming from.
Even if you’re not ready to take any of the steps listed above to improve your website on mobile, you can still implement some of the elements we discuss below so that it’s more appealing and responsive to mobile users.
The Feel (Functionality)
At least as important as how a website looks on a mobile device, if not more so, is its functionality. To this end, mobile-friendly websites should have:
- Large, easy-to-read print
- Essential information only
- Simple options
- Clickable buttons or links that are large and not too close together
- High-resolution images
- An option to view the full site
No one has a greater need for speed than a mobile user. In fact, a 2016 DoubleClick by Google report found that 50% of mobile users surveyed expect a page to load in one to two seconds, and that 53% of site visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than three seconds to load.
As if that doesn’t sufficiently illustrate how profoundly each second counts, a 2015 case study by Soasta found that mobile pages that load merely one second faster experience a 27% higher conversion rate.
In February of 2017, Google released a particularly insightful report on its new industry benchmarks for mobile page speed in order to help marketers better understand how they are currently performing versus how they need to be performing.
When seeking to improve your mobile page speed, our best advice (short of hiring a mobile optimization company) is to analyze your pages in Google PageSpeed Insights and then follow its suggestions.
If you have questions about mobile optimization, or need help creating PPC campaigns that are tailored specifically for mobile users, feel free to reach out to us any time.