Here's a quick test for you: We'd like for you to visualize what your website looks like. (Go ahead… we'll wait.)
Now, what did you see? Most of you probably envisioned the desktop or the full version of your website. This is the default “home” of your site, but not all of your games will be played at home; you need to win a few on the road games too. For people viewing your site on the go with their smartphones or tablets, the mobile version or the responsive version is the default “home” of your site. How do you win there? We're glad you asked.
Is your site mobile friendly (or as we like to call it ‘finger-friendly')?
Building a mobile site is more than just cramming your desktop site into a smaller screen size. Mobile users typically are more goal-oriented and are focused on a narrower set of tasks. Your mobile site needs to respond directly and quickly, or you'll be sitting on the sidelines and lose viewers-who are primed to be buy-to your competitors.
With so many people searching for information on their mobile devices lately – 80% of internet users own and search the web on their smartphones. It seems that Google has determined (along with the rest of the world, it seems) that if you're not mobile, you're toast. That doesn't mean you should ignore those customers who still use desktops and laptops, though. They still account for a significant portion of your customer base and new prospects.
Stop riding the bench and get in the game. Here are 5 reasons to create a mobile website:
- Because Google said so. (This is kind of like your parents' “because I said so” argument when you were little.) Google's newest algorithm ranks mobile-friendly websites higher in search results on mobile devices. Now, if your website isn't mobile friendly, Google will recognize that and be less likely to display it as a legitimate search result. That makes sense, since Google wouldn't be doing its job if half of the results displayed were useless to mobile users.
- Set Yourself apart from competitors. Less than 10% of businesses have websites that are mobile-optimized, but it's quickly becoming a top priority. So acting fast will give you a competitive advantage!
- It's What Your Customers Want – and They Expect You to Provide It. In 2014, mobile users accessing the internet overtook desktop users for the first time in history! Increasingly, your customers are not sitting in front of desktops or laptops. Instead, they're on the go accessing your website from their mobile devices. What does that mean for you? If you don't give customers what they want (easy visibility and navigation so they can browse and shop while on the go), they'll go someplace else. With mobile usage on the rise, having a poorly developed mobile website, or lacking one all-together, is just as useless as a screen door on a submarine; it will just sink to the bottom of customer's minds.
- Getting a mobile website is relatively inexpensive and are often easy to create.
- A mobile-friendly website can increase user engagement. Research shows a mobile-friendly site is able to generate almost twice the average traffic per user than non-mobile-friendly sites. More engaged users spend more time on it and therefore will see more of what you have to offer.
So how do you go about creating a mobile-friendly site?
Don't try to simply “tweak” your existing desktop website to try to make it so.
Smartphones have smaller screens and will often distort images that look good on desktop websites. Trim down your site to only the essential features, with content that includes links to secondary information pages. You should also enlarge interface elements (buttons, etc.) for easy touchscreen navigation.
Why should you care?
According to Google, 85% of Americans are never more than three feet from their cell phones. And a recent Search Engine Watch blog says that 80% of searches start on a mobile device. If your website isn't mobile friendly, potential clients will quickly go find a site that is. It is simply smart business to design your website to be mobile-compatible, since so many customers are accessing the web on the go.