In today’s world your site simply must be optimized for mobile use.
We all love to surf the web, and the devices we use to do this has changed enormously since 2008. Less than a decade ago we surfed the ‘net on a desktop at home or in the office, connected to the work or home internet provider. Over the last few years, however, our surfing habits have shifted to mobile devices, whether it be a tablet or smartphone. We lead busy lives, and we are now able to check our bank account balances, buy the toiletries we need, find out the cinema listings for tonight’s films, and of course check our social media accounts, all while on the go. However, all of these scenarios only work if the websites we are accessing are optimized for mobile use.
So let’s have a brief look at the journey of static internet use versus today’s fluid mobile internet use. In 2008, Mary Meeker, a technology analyst, predicted “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014”. And indeed it became true: in 2014 the number of global users using mobile internet access overtook those accessing the internet from a desktop. Needless to say, the trend is still going up.
According to SmartInsights, “If you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience you will miss out compared to competitors who are.” Ian Mills, CEO of Magicdust, says: “Research shows that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.”
For small businesses, websites are of the utmost importance. So what can we do to achieve mobile optimization?
We first need to understand that users on mobile devices, especially on smartphones, want to access things quickly, and not be overwhelmed by endless information. There are numbers showing that mobile users spend more money than desktop users. This could be linked to the “on the go” feature of mobile purchases allowing for impulsive purchases. Secondly, one quarter of global search volumes are performed on mobile devices (that’s over one billion users). Often users are surfing the web on their smartphones whilst also engaging in other activities. Google backed this by introducing the Hummingbird update: websites which don’t function (properly or at all) on mobile devices will be punished in ranking. Thirdly, let’s face it, if a user is trying to access your website on their phone and can’t use it easily, they are very likely to go to your competitor. It’s that simple.
What is mobile optimization?
In essence, mobile optimization is taking content from your existing desktop site and restructuring it in “a in a mobile-friendly design pattern”. Technically this can be quite a task, so it is best to redesign your website using a responsive template which automatically adapts itself to the device it’s being viewed on. When you build your website with WestHost’s website builder tool your site will automatically be optimized for mobile use.
A mobile optimized website will typically have “larger navigation buttons, reformatted content, and differently optimized images” than its desktop version. The reformatting of the layout allows the mobile users to engage easily with the site, facilitating buying decisions. Some design features for mobile optimization include:
—Easy to use navigation: large areas to easily click on with your finger without accidentally clicking something else.
—Smaller sized graphics
—The choice to pick between mobile and desktop versions
—Easy online checkout
For those of you who are still not convinced as to whether your business needs to undergo mobile optimization, take a look at your Google analytics account and check the percentage of traffic/users on mobile devices accessing your website. This should give you plenty of motivation.