With statistics showing that just over half of all website traffic to be of the mobile variety, a website that is not mobile-ready can translate into a loss of interactions and potential business. Those two outcomes lead to a third: lost revenue.
Recently, Smart Insights reported that 80% of internet users own a smartphone. And, with the proliferation of "Buy One, Get One" deals repeatedly promoted by cell phone providers, those numbers will only increase. Moreover, 48% of respondents report they begin their research for information on their mobile devices rather than laptops, tablets, personal computers and more.
According to Tom Murzenski, chief technologist at Impel.Digital, a mobile-friendly website “is sized to fit on a mobile screen without horizontal scrolling, the text is easy to read, images are the right size and the site is easy to navigate by touch.” Offering a mobile-ready website offers users “a first class experience for visitors coming from mobile devices,” he says.
Mobile-ready web sites are easier to navigate than those that are not. For example, when a user clicks on a business’ phone number on a mobile-ready website, the number instantly appears on the phone. Just click your “call” icon and the number gets dialed. No need to write the number down to then punch it into the phone.
But simpler phone dialing isn’t the main reason for ensuring your site is amenable to mobile users. “Google's research indicates mobile visitors are five times more likely to leave a site that isn't mobile friendly and nearly half will leave if a site doesn't load within three seconds,” says Murzenski. “You've probably fought hard to get a visitor to come to your site. Do you want them to leave right as soon as they get there?”
Yet another reason to have a mobile-friendly website is that Google analytics favor those sites. That means a mobile-ready website is likely going to get a higher Google ranking than one that is not.
Making Your Site Mobile-ready
A website that was built more than eight years ago and has not been updated is a good candidate for the virtual trash can. In other words, time for a new and improved site, constructed to be mobile-friendly.
However, if your website was created using WordPress and was created fairly recently, it is already mobile-friendly and requires little, if any, customization. Services such as Wix or Weebly have mobile capabilities built in, although tweaking the templates to your liking might take some time, Murzenski says.
Want to check if your web site is mobile ready? Google offers a free tool allowing users to test a site. If you discover your site is not mobile-ready, it might not be the best use of your time to do it yourself unless, of course, you’re an IT expert.
Murzenski offers three tips to know about mobile-ready websites:
- Go responsive
- Keep it slim
- Watch your navigation
“Responsiveness design means your site will rearrange itself to make it easy to see your information, even on a small screen,” he says. Keeping a website slim is imperative because it impacts the speed it can be navigated. “Speed is a huge issue on mobile,” says Murzenski, who advises people not to use a lot of bells and whistles on their site so that accessibility speeds won’t be diminished.
He also says to use as few images as possible, and keep the ones you do use small, as graphics also impact a website’s speed of accessibility. When it comes to navigation, Murzenski says to keep the visitor in mind when creating your site’s navigational buttons.
“Your visitor may be holding their phone in one hand and trying to navigate with a stretched thumb,” so keep it all accessible, he says. Another tip? “Keep your menu easy to use.”
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer. She is the chair of the Marketing Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.