Why Is It Important That Your Website Is Mobile-friendly?
30th March 2017
With mobile taking over the desktop usage, one would assume that most websites would already have a mobile responsive version. To my surprise, I recently came across a considerable number of web pages which were not mobile-friendly. This is what prompted me to outline and highlight the importance of having a mobile responsive design, as well as the whole bunch of benefits it can bring to your business.
But before we begin, let’s start by defining what mobile-friendly web design really is. As you probably already know, a responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design which automatically adjusts layout, sizing, orientation and proportions to display the website in a legible way on different devices.
The smartphones became the social norm in the mid to late 00’s and since then mobile usage has only been exponentially growing year on year. It has even got to the point where mobile is completely taking over and desktop is becoming a secondary device. According to Smart Insights, mobile now accounts for 65% of the overall digital media time.
As people spend more and more time on mobile they also expect you to keep up with the trends. As a result, users are five times more likely to leave a website that isn’t mobile-friendly, Google reports. So in order to prevent missing any exciting opportunities, you should ensure that your website is mobile responsive.
5 reasons why it is important to have a mobile-friendly web design:
Google has always been encouraging mobile optimisation – first by rolling out mobilegeddon in 2015 and then the mobile-first index in 2016. Mobilegeddon is the name of the algorithm update which rewards mobile-friendly websites by giving them priority and ranking them higher than the non-mobile responsive ones. In other words, mobile optimisation is great for your Google rankings and SEO.
If you are unsure whether your website is mobile optimised, Google has a great tool which tests how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device. It also shows you any particular errors that the Googlebot encountered, such as page sources being unable to load for instance. Another Google tool called TestMySite gives you a full report on your website’s mobile friendliness and mobile speed performance together with recommendations on what to improve or fix.
Better user experience (UX)
Your website is one of the most important branding tools in your arsenal and it’s also one of the first stops in the customer journey, in other words it is the digital equivalent of a first impression. And you know what they say about first impressions, they can either make or break you…
In order to get that good first impression, what is the single most important thing that your website can provide visitors with? That’s right, a good experience. At the end of the day, it’s all about the experience users have on your website. Negative experiences will make users leave your website and you will consequently lose potential business. Negative experiences and first impressions are hard to forget, so make sure you provide good ones!
More than half of the total digital time spent is spent on mobile, where 10% of it is spent browsing. So mobile optimisation plays an essential part in ensuring that visitors have a good time on your website. You need to make sure that your website displays accordingly on mobile and that the most important information on the page is also present on the mobile version. Otherwise, not only will you upset the users but also it might hurt your rankings with the introduction of Google’s mobile-first index last year.
Multiplatform and cross-device usage
In the recent years we’ve seen a growing trend towards multiplatform and cross-device usage. People turn to the closest device to find immediate information, to make a purchase, or take a decision. I am certain that most of you can relate even solely based on personal observations; most people these days own at least a laptop/desktop computer and a smartphone, not to mention that a large part of them also have a tablet device. Consistently, a recent research from ComScore shows that the overwhelming majority of users now use multiple devices and will often multi-screen. Therefore, it is essential that there is a consistent experience across devices and that the journey across these micro-moments is as smooth as possible.
Technology companies also recognise the multiplatform state of Internet user behaviour with many brands introducing integrations which make cross-device interaction even easier. For instance, Apple introduced Continuity, an umbrella term referring to a group of features which allow Apple devices to connect together so you can move your work seamlessly across them. Features include a universal clipboard, multiplatform SMS/MMS messaging and cellular calls, the ability to easily hand off tasks across devices, among many others.
Therefore, providing an even more undisrupted and seamless cross-device experience to users will make them more likely to access your website on more than one device.
The majority of social traffic comes from mobile phones
Try to remember the last time you accessed your social media account on a desktop… Nearly 80% of social media time is now spent on mobile devices, ComScore reports. I’m assuming that your business is already present on social media which means that the content you are sharing there will most likely be seen and clicked through on a mobile device.
As I’ve already mentioned, a non-optimised website is likely to result in negative UX, causing the users to leave your website. Make sure that your website is mobile responsive but also that your social media sharing buttons are mobile-friendly as well.
Mobile user behaviour
People’s behaviour patterns are different for each device they use. Here are the most fundamental differences you should be aware of:
- Mobile users are usually after an immediate answer to a question or a quick fix to a problem. In contrast, desktop is usually used for more time-consuming tasks. So browsing sessions on mobile tend to be shorter and more “to the point”. Desktop sessions usually last longer, and usually the more in-depth searches are carried on desktop computers.
- Most of pre-purchase research is done on mobile, whereas the actual purchase is mostly done on either desktop or in store.
- According to a Pew research, mobile devices are mostly popular with 18-49 years old with more than 88% of people surveyed owning a smartphone. As expected, usage rates drop as the age increases.
- According to a study conducted by Twitter, Millennials are also more receptive to branded content on mobile rather than on desktop.
There are many more important differences between mobile and desktop users, however this is a topic for another article. The bottom line is that at least one of these behaviour patterns will be applicable to your organisation’s activity which can only lead to one conclusion: you need to optimise your website for mobile, if you haven’t already done so.
We hope this article has been of interest. If you want to improve your marketing efforts but don’t know where to start please contact us and we will be more than happy to help!