By Rebecca Bullard, Creative Director at Matice
Mobile Ready. Mobile Optimized. Responsive Web Design. You’ve heard the buzz words. You’ve got a new website on your To-Do List… yet you keep putting it off. But you could be hurting your business and losing customers if your website is less than ideal on mobile devices.
The Importance of Responsive / Mobile Web Design
Why is Mobile Friendly so important? Well you can’t deny the stats! Over 30% of internet traffic is from mobile! Now results may vary here depending on location, target demographic, and industry. For example, Some demographics such as younger adults, minorities, and low-income Americans rely heavily or completely on their smartphone for internet access. Media & Entertainment, Travel & Hospitality, and Retail industries receive between 26-36% of their web traffic from smartphones and another 17-26% from tablets. (Source)
Now you may think that these numbers are unrealistic for a rural area like the Eastern Shore of MD. So I pulled up the web analytics for the Salisbury Business Journal website for 1st Quarter 2015 and found that over 25% of traffic was generated from mobile and nearly 8% was from tablets! So if you think you don’t have mobile users hitting your business’s website, you’re probably kidding yourself. You probably do. And you’re probably losing some mobile users before they even hit your website.
How is that even possible? Back in April, Google released an update to their search engine ranking algorithm which earned the nickname, “Mobilegeddon.” The intent of this change was to serve better search results to mobile users by giving better rank to mobile-friendly websites (when searching via phone only). So if your business’s website isn’t responsive or optimized for mobile but your competitors are, then they could be ranking higher than you when potential customers are searching for your products or services. And you may think it’s not a big deal to lose a few ranking positions but actually there is a significant drop off between positions 1 and 2, and page 1 vs page 2. According to Moz.com, the #1 ranked search result gets a click through rate of over 30%, where the #2 ranked result got less than 15% click through. Within the first page, results 1-5 accounted for 67% of all clicks. If you rank 6th or below, your click through rate is about 4% at best. (Source)
How to Check if Your Site is Mobile Friendly
So what does it mean to have your site optimized for access via smartphones and tablets? Simply being able to access and view your website from a phone doesn’t cut it. Nearly all websites are technically accessible via phone or tablet, but many are not easy to browse. According to Google, there are some key qualifiers that will earn you that “Mobile Friendly” stamp of approval.
- Large typeface, readable without zooming
- Content fits the width of the device screen, readable without horizontal scrolling.
- No Flash or other inaccessible content/media
- Links and Buttons have enough space, easily avoid pressing wrong button
Additionally it’s interesting to note that within Google results, pages are ranked individually. So also mobile-friendliness is determined on a page by page basis. The best way to check your website is with Google’s very own Mobile Friendly Testing Tool.
How to Update Your Site – Your Options
If you’ve determined that some or none of your pages pass the test, then it’s time to bump up a new website design to the top of your To-Do List. After running your mobile friendly test, you will see the main red flags indicating what failed the test. You’ll also see on the right hand side a heading “Make this page mobile-friendly” and some options to choose from which will lead you to some solutions. If you didn’t build the website yourself, if you don’t know your way around Google Developer Tools, and if you don’t know HTML & CSS, you could be in a bit of a bind. This is where a professional web designer/developer needs to step in and give you a hand.
You can either have a developer attempt to update your existing site and make it mobile-friendly or you can have your whole website refreshed with a new design. If you’ve not implemented a content management system (CMS) at this point, you really should go with a new design! Utilizing a CMS like WordPress or DNN means that you can make updates to your web content (text, images, navigation, pages) easily without the need to call your web designer all the time!