Why is having a mobile friendly site important?
Smartphones have revolutionised the way that people browse the web. Mobile devices have become the primary way people view online retailers and social media.
For website owners to stay competitive, being mobile friendly is an absolute must. It’s now even recommended by Google and considered an industry best practice.
Despite all this, we still stumble across too many websites that haven’t been optimised for mobile. So in case you‘re one of those yet to convert, here are the biggest benefits of having a mobile friendly website.
Benefit Your Users
The biggest benefit of having a mobile friendly website is to the user. User experience (UX) is the key concern of all web designers, and with good reason. A good UX leaves the user with positive feelings towards the brand, builds loyalty, and encourages them to return.
When it comes to designing a website, using the ‘mobile first’ approach, which makes sure each element works as well for mobile users as it does for desktop, makes a huge difference. It creates consistency across the two, creating a sense of familiarity for the user. It also makes the desktop version cleaner and more direct, as features are more considered and carefully applied.
The difference it makes for mobile users themselves, of course, is massive.
Firstly, sites that aren’t optimised for mobile take much longer to load, sometimes taking up to 30 seconds upwards. This is more than a slight inconvenience, the longer a page takes to load the higher its bounce rate.
Secondly, when the user finally reaches the page legibility is a real problem. Users have to zoom and scroll to properly see the content on the page. This hinders the experience and makes it harder for users to view your content, deterring them from coming back.
Finally, navigating around the site itself becomes just as difficult. While text links and menus work great on desktops, with the pinpoint precision of a mouse, human fingers aren’t so accurate. This has become so troublesome that most phone operating systems now include a double-click zoom feature, that magnifies the area clicked after the first click requiring the user to click again to verify.
While this is certainly an improvement over constantly being routed to the wrong page, it still interrupts the UX and will deter users from spending too long browsing your site.
Benefit Your Brand
As mentioned before, the mobile first approach creates consistency across platforms, which is vital to creating a strong brand.
Brands are made up of people’s opinions of a business, which are formed with every experience they have. The 2 key factors branding has on a mobile site are consistency in design and consistency in experience.
To have a strongly branded mobile site means to have a site that is instantly recognisable with your business. If your design deviates from your core brand, you’re users will fail to make the connection, or worse, form a negative opinion of your brand as a whole.
Consistency in experience is directly linked to the UX. Having a good mobile experience will create positive associations for your user with your brand, whereas a bad one will do the opposite. Even if they are a customer, who is familiar with your desktop site and dealt with you in person, a bad mobile experience will damage their view of your brand.
With the negative effect it has on already loyal customers, imagine how devastating it is to your brand image for new prospects.
Benefit Your Visibility
Since Google’s algorithm change, back in April 2015, a sites mobile compatibility has been a key factor in SEO ranking. But this is just one of the ways a mobile friendly site will boost your visibility online.
Starting with the SEO benefits, quite simply, the higher your site scores in each factor, the further up Google’s search results you’ll be. Having a mobile friendly site is not only a factor in itself, but has the added benefit of the faster load times. Google adds a penalty for sites that take longer than 10 seconds to load, so a site that is not mobile friendly will be taking more than one hit in the SEO department.
Another key area for visibility is social media. Social media use has probably been the biggest revolution of the last decade. In fact, 91% of Internet usage from phones is on social activities.
No doubt you are aware social media has also become a key tool for marketers promoting their brands and content. The biggest boost a social user can give is through interaction. By liking and sharing your posts, they spread their audience as well as yours, further increasing your visibility.
With so many social users on mobile devices, giving them a positive mobile experience when they click is essential to getting likes and shares for your posts.
Benefit Your Future
When we look at the numbers it is clear to see the rise in mobile browsing. In 2013, 55% of the time spent browsing digital retail outlets was done on mobile devices. In 2016, 79% of all time spent on digital media was from smartphones. There is a continuous rise in mobile usage across all online arenas, and it’s not hard to see why.
Mobile is often the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to access the Internet. The trend for increasing mobile browsing is affecting different industry sectors at different rates with B2C (business to consumer) experiencing a faster move towards mobile than B2B (business to business). Whatever your industry sector, being able to appeal to mobile users is a great boost to your business now. But it is fast becoming essential and before too long, failing to do so could see you losing your audience to a more forward thinking competitor.