Mobile Friendly Website: Why You Need One & Who Says So (Google...and Us)Imagine two thirds of the world’s population has a mobile phone. Oh wait, hold on. That’s actually accurate… Well, imagine this: 1 in 5 of those mobile users have shopped online from their mobile phone in the last 30 days. Shouldn’t be too hard to do, given this is also a current mobile Internet usage statistic.

Where am I going with this? Google. Cause let’s be real, most things Internet-related begin and end with Google, am I right?

Google recognizes there are a lot of people in the world with mobile phones, and a lot of them seem to be using their phones to search the web, and guess what: Google treats websites that are mobile-friendly differently than those that aren’t.

What’s that mean for you? If your website is going to be worthy of Google’s love, it’s gotta be mobile friendly.

Survival of the Fittest

You may be wondering, “Why does this matter?” Well, the words “self preservation” come to mind. Because if your site isn’t being served on Google when mobile users are looking for your products and services, you’re missing out BIG TIME.

To refresh your memory, Google unleashed what Search Engine Land coined Mobilegeddon in 2015 with the release of their mobile-friendly search ranking algorithm. The algorithm was designed to give more prominence to the mobile-friendly sites when returning search results while frowning upon all other sites. (If you’re worried your site is included in “all other sites,” find out now with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.)

What this meant (and still means) is Google wants to cater to the ever-increasing number of mobile users by enhancing the user’s mobile search experience.

Mobile usage is on the rise.

You may recall from an earlier article we wrote that mobile phones account for 37% of global web usage, and this percentage is steadily increasing. Google knows this and has acted accordingly with their mobile-friendly algorithm.

I want to be clear though: this isn’t to say the importance of marketing to desktop users is diminishing, just that the importance of catering to mobile users is rising rapidly.

Build trust.

Did you know 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website?

Why risk losing your audience’s trust over something you can control? Consider the user’s experience and design/evaluate your mobile website to help gain mobile users’ trust in your business. Cause even if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you better believe your biggest competitors’ sites are.

Create opportunities.

Try thinking of it this way: it’s not that Google is out to get you if your site isn’t mobile-friendly. Google just understands how beneficial ease of Internet access and functionality is for mobile users and wants to create more opportunities for you to connect with your mobile audience.

Consider mobile usage in 2017: these days, over 8 in 10 internet users use a smartphone to access the web regularly. That’s over 80% of people on the web. Not good with percentages? That’s…well, that’s quite a lot. And if Google is favoring mobile-friendly sites and yours isn’t one of them, well….do I really need to explain what that means? Yes? Okay, well it means 80% of Internet users are being served your competition’s websites instead of yours because they got on board with creating a mobile-friendly website to accommodate for the changing times.

If ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

The lesson here? Don’t make it that easy for them to get in front of your prospects! Make your website easy for mobile users to access too.

Like I said, consider the user’s experience.

Our attention span as humans has gone down by 30% since 2000 to a measly 8 seconds in 2017, so it’s not surprising that 61% of Internet users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they initially had trouble accessing, and 40% will actually visit a competitor’s website instead.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

While simply having a mobile-friendly site gets you a step ahead of the not-so-mobile-friendly ones, it may behoove you to really dig deep into the quality of your visitors’ experience while they’re on your website. Feel free to consider your own mobile website experiences while asking yourself these questions:

  • Is my mobile navigation functioning properly and easy to use?

Bruce Clay suggests 6 great tips for structuring your mobile site navigation, stressing the importance of accessibility, readability, touchability, and understandability. Okay, so the last one’s not a real word, but you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down, right? In case your answer is no, understandability essentially refers to the common sense behind your phrasing and content placement so that it’s easy for mobile visitors to understand how to navigate through your site.

  • Does size really matter?

In the world of mobile-friendly sites, you bet your bottom dollar it does. You want your text to be big enough to read and buttons big enough to click. If your mobile visitors have to zoom in to read the text on your site, or if they have to search for where to click on something, you’ve lost ‘em. Again, ain’t nobody got time for that!

  • How do my images behave?

If your pictures are too big, your mobile users might experience some weird scrolling issues. Or it’s possible they’re so tiny they’d need a microscope to see them. Either way, no good my friends. Think Goldilocks and the Three Bears: your picture size and quality should be just right to keep your mobile user’s experience up to par.

  • How long does my mobile site take to load?

Great question. Because again, 8 seconds. No, not the Luke Perry movie…Focus, here!

Which allows me to return to my point: the human attention span. We don’t like waiting. So it makes sense that over half of mobile users will just straight up leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Internet speed is often slower on a cellular network, so you’ll want to ensure nothing on your end is weighing down your mobile site’s load time if you can help it.

  • Can visitors easily contact me from my mobile site?

People tend to seek instant gratification when researching products and services on a mobile device, whether it’s just bookmarking for later research or calling a immediately contacting a business with inquiries, so make sure you’ve got easy-to-use contact forms and a clickable phone number on your mobile site.

Industry also plays its part.

We’re web developers, so 77% of our website traffic understandably comes from desktops during normal (9 to 5) business hours because our prospects and clients are typically sitting at their desks in their offices while researching web developers. Looking at the website traffic for a beloved local pizza joint in a college town will not yield the same data. More than 60% of Gumby’s Pizza traffic comes from mobile phones between the hours of 6:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

Interestingly enough, the same general concept applies to the construction industry.

Over half of the website traffic for Chapman Heating & Air comes from a mobile device! Kimberling City Plumbing provides general and emergency plumbing services as well as plumbing renovation services for remodeling projects, so their traffic comes more from desktops than mobile. BUT, mobile traffic still accounts for roughly 40% of their website traffic. Same goes for Spradling Home Inspections, who works with homeowners, real estate agents and contractors.

The Takeaway

If you’re a pizza, plumber, electrician or HVAC company, chances are good many of your mobile visitors need you NOW. Therefore, it’s detrimental for your business to have a website that enables mobile visitors to easily contact you while they’re standing in front an empty fridge or clogged toilet, stranded in a powerless office or sweating profusely in their overheated living rooms.

What’s more is having a mobile-friendly website creates better consistency in the time visitors spend on your site and the number of pages they visit while they’re there. This is because mobile visitors aren’t coming in, seeing a horrid excuse for a mobile site and bouncing right back out again.

Sink or swim.

I could type until my fingers turn blue, presenting mountains of evidence for why a mobile-friendly website is so important to have for your business. The fact still remains: Google reigns supreme, and in the sea of websites available to mobile Google searchers, the sites that aren’t mobile friendly will sink to the bottom of the search results while the mobile-friendly sites swim to the top.

If you’re self-absorbed, you’ll jump on board simply because Google says you should. If you’re not, you now have plenty of information at your disposal, enlightening you to the power of the mobile-friendly website.

Either way, be there or lose out. Need help getting there? Just ask.

More about the Author

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Katie Guinn

Katie is the Online Marketing Manager at MayeCreate Design. A true people person and creative at heart, she’s the “Jane” of All Trades around the office and enjoys having her hands in ALL of the cookie jars. Her fascination with how people communicate and interact coupled with her motivation to meet clients’ social media marketing needs make for a great combination in this industry. As a wife, mom, twin, karaoke singer and rock climber, she’s seen the world from many perspectives and thrives to bring an open mind and clear vision to help develop your online marketing plan.

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