In order to be relevant and accessible to the customer of today, ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile users is a must. Since the launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007, there has been a large shift in consumers opting for mobile technology. In addition, the Apple iPad was launched in 2010 which accelerated mobile technologies in terms of growth and sophistication. In quick succession, Google launched the Android operating system, making mobile technologies easily available.
Subsequently, it is essential for websites to both meet the requirements of the business and the needs of the website user. Why is this so important? Well there are a whopping 1.2 billion people across the globe accessing the web via a mobile device. (Mobify, 2017). In the UK, 61% of the total time spent online, is from a mobile device. (Chaffey, 2017). Furthermore, such statistics have rapidly grown year on year and show no sign of slowing down. What this means for you is that if your site is not designed to be optimised for mobile users, you are losing business. Simply put, mobile web is the future, and your website needs to be ‘future friendly’.
2.0 ‘MobileGeddon’: What it means for your business
If the brief overview of figures in the introduction have not convinced you of the necessity of mobile optimization, then let us start by exploring a major turning point in the case for mobile optimization in detail.
The 21st April 2015 saw the start of ‘MobileGeddon’. The phrase MobileGeddon was coined following the release of a mobile-friendly algorithm from Google. This large algorithm determined whether a site was mobile-friendly or not. It did not determine how well a site was optimized for mobile users. A website either was determined to be mobile-friendly or it was not.
If you have noticed a significant decrease of web traffic or even business over the past two years this could easily explain why. How so? Well, for the first time, Google considered mobile-friendliness in its ranking factors. Meaning if you are not mobile optimized, then your business is less visible than your competitors who are. However, you may not have experienced any detrimental side-effects from MobileGeddon… yet. Let me explain. The algorithm only targeted mobile results, i.e. those users searching from a mobile device. Desktop results were not affected and SEO visibility to desktop users remained largely stable. Yet, this does not mean it will remain stable in the future. In November 2016, The Telegraph reported that mobile web usage had overtaken desktop web usage for the first time (Titcomb, 2016). Given the fact that these figures continue to grow steadily, it is only a matter of time before those without mobile optimised sites get left behind.
It is important for me to state however, that although mobile-friendliness is an official Google ranking factor, it is only one of many other factors that determine SEO visibility. Therefore, MobileGeddon was not quite the catastrophe its name would have you believe, but even so, there was a 21% decrease of non-mobile-friendly sites on the first three search engine results pages (Prudhhomme, 2015). Suggesting that Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm marked a significant shift towards favouring mobile optimized sites from both internet corporations and web users.
3.0 The Difference Between Desktop Users and Mobile Users
We have already established that there are 1.2 billion mobile web users across the globe. You may be wondering why mobile users cannot just engage with your desktop site on their phone. It is because people accessing the web on a mobile have different objectives than those accessing the web from a desktop. Indeed, mobile users are looking for information to be given to them quickly and concisely, but there are further issues to consider with mobile users. Research from Mobify (2017), suggests that there are three different types of mobile web user.
• Urgent Now These users are seeking urgent instantaneous information based on their location or activity. There web activity tends to occur via a web browser, or location-based information sites such as Yelp or Foursquare.
• Repetitive Now Users such as these are checking for recurrent information such as sports scores, online auctions or share prices.
• Bored Now These users are searching for entertainment or distraction through sites such as YouTube or Instagram, or a connection through social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
Looking at users in this way allows us to explicate how the requirements of a mobile website differs from that of the desktop site. In the case of the Urgent Now user, clearly the site they turn to needs to respond and load quickly and contain all the information they need without being too wordy. It must be easy to navigate. A site not optimised for mobile use will be frustrating to use and require the reader to repeatedly zoom in and zoom out just to get the information they need. It is much easier for a consumer to simply move on to a mobile-friendly site than it is to spend time trying to get a site to function correctly whilst out and about.
Repetitive Now users will often be visiting the same sites for the information they need. However, if your business website is a sector in which a repetitive user will visit, then it simply must be optimised for mobile use. The very reason why repetitive users are choosing mobile technology over desktops is because it is less time consuming, and easier to reach the data they need. If your website leaves the mobile user feeling they would have been better off logging into their PC then quite simply they will find an alternative. A further reason to make your site beneficial to repetitive users is because mobile advertising is largely under-utilized. You already have a captive audience in the repetitive user. According to McMillen (2015), mobile advertising offers an unparalleled opportunity in advertising returns. He goes on to state, that Americans spend 24% of their time on their mobile devices, yet only 8% of advertising budgets go towards mobile advertising, thus creating a cost-effective gap for opportunity.
Finally, the Bored Now user presents any type of business with an opportunity for sales and growth. Many customers report that many of their mobile purchases are spontaneous impulse buys. In fact, 88% of people agree that having a mobile device with real-time information makes them more spontaneous with shopping and in general, more open to discovering new things. Mobify (2017).
However, your mobile site will need to meet these users’ expectations if you want their business. More statistics from Mobify, (2017) suggest that mobile users will do everything that desktop users will do if the site is optimised for them. Nevertheless, 30% of mobile online shoppers are quite happy to abandon a transaction if the site is not mobile-friendly. This may be because 71% of mobile web users believe a mobile site should load and respond equally as fast, if not quicker than sites on their desktop or laptop computers.
There are more ways in which mobile users differ from desktop users. For example, mobile users tend to access more images and videos, despite having potentially limited bandwidth. To capitalise on such traffic, your mobile site needs to be designed with this in mind. Offering quality visual media will attract more potential customers, but only if it works well on mobile devices. Furthermore, mobile users tend to be more inclined to share visual media on social networking sites, potentially giving your business more cost-efficient exposure. This is why we at Altitude believe that professional design of your mobile-optimised website is paramount to your online success.
4.0 Designing Your Mobile Optimised Website
There is no getting away from the growth of mobile technologies, they are the future. Every website owner wants to increase traffic to their site. Considering all the statistics we have discussed so far, it is clear to see mobile optimization should be a top consideration and feature in your website’s design. Anyone looking to create or update a website must decide whether to do it themselves or to hire a professional to create a site that not only meets the requirements of their business, but also meets the needs of their current, potential and future customers.
Build it yourself websites, such as WordPress and Wix have proved to be very successful over the past few years, however business owners are increasingly realizing the advantages of a professional website design service for truly optimised mobile website design. It is important to understand how a professionally design site and a build it yourself site can affect your website’s ranking. Search engine algorithms are becoming smarter. Self-built websites tend to rely on ‘black hat’ SEO methods which are ineffective in today’s smarter search engines.
In order to reach a wide audience your website not only has to be optimised for mobile uses, your site needs to be responsive. Having a responsive website with a single URL will adapt to whichever device the consumer is using. A responsive design cannot be flawlessly programmed by a build it yourself site. The templated website with stock images cannot be tailored to be suitable for all devices. Build it yourself websites may well offer a mobile-friendly version of your webpage, but it will not be a responsive webpage.
Responsiveness is enabled by a blend of web technologies, design and coding techniques that enable flexibility for how wide or narrow a webpage displays. It utilizes flexible images that can resize themselves. (Thacher, 2014). As you would imagine, crafting such a site takes far more time and energy than creating a desktop site with a mobile site added on the end as an afterthought. It requires a high professional level of coding and design to make it work. Our award-winning team at Altitude can create a site that is future-friendly in its design and compatible for all types of devices.
At Altitude, we believe that one of the main benefit of having a responsive website relates back to the user. Research shows that the majority of web users switch between devise to complete a task. For example, a returning customer having had experience of your desktop site may visit your site from a mobile device to check for updates on orders or any new product or company news. Likewise, a potential customer may discover your site on their mobile device and return to your desktop site at a more convenient time and location. It is good practice to ensure your continuity and familiarity for your site visitors. For the user, the difference between viewing your site on a mobile device or a desktop should be largely unnoticed. This level of attention to detail and professionalism is guaranteed with a website designed by us here at Altitude.
The majority of mobile internet activity is used for social media; therefore, your site should link seamlessly to and from social media sites. If your business has a presence on social media, then a large volume of traffic will be generated from these sites. Your site needs to be expertly designed to ensure social browsing click-throughs are successful. Our marketing team knows how to harness the power of the mobile internet to get your business the results it requires.
In the discussion of optimizing your site for mobile users, many statistics have emerged to support the necessity of your website being both current and future friendly. Mobile internet is not a phase or a fad that will drift out of fashion. It is here to stay. It will grow, evolve and become more sophisticated. Forward-thinking business owners must therefore, adapt to show their customers that they can compete in this market. At Altitude, we know that the way to do this is through having a functional, responsive website that is designed with the future in mind. True graphic design and site responsiveness will ensure your website is more favourable to SEO rankings. We can produce a site with a marketing package that will create a buzz around your business. We have researched and studied the mobile web market, so that we can work in partnership with our clients to create a website that is worthy of the 21st century. Our design packages and SEO expertise can ensure your website does not get left behind on search engine results pages.
Chaffey, D. (2017) Mobile Marketing Statistics compilation. [online] Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/ [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].
McMillen, J. (2015) 10 Reasons Your Website Needs to be Mobile Optimized – Treehouse Blog. [online] Available at: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/10-reasons-website-needs-mobile-optimized [Accessed 7 Sep. 2017].
Prudhomme, A. (2015) Data Stats, Impact April 21 Google Mobile Algo Change. [online] Available at: https://www.brightedge.com/blog/non-mobile-friendly-share-of-serps-decreases-21-with-april-21-mobile-algorithm-change/ [Accessed 7 Sep. 2017].
Resources.mobify.com. (2017) 50 Must-Know Mobile Commerce Statistics and Facts. [online] Available at: http://resources.mobify.com/50-mobile-commerce-stats.html [Accessed 6 Sep. 2017].
Thacher, Z. (2015) Responsive Web Design. Global Cosmetic Industry, (April 2015), pp.35-36.
Titcomb, J. (2016) Mobile web usage overtakes desktop for first time. The Telegraph. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/11/01/mobile-web-usage-overtakes-desktop-for-first-time/ [Accessed 7 Sep. 2017].
Welder, L. (2017) The Pros and Cons of DIY Website vs. Professionally Developed. [online] Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269992 [Accessed 7 Sep. 2017].