Mobile Websites in 2014

This year more people will use mobile devices than desktop computers to find and visit your website. Continue reading to find out why this matters to you.

Who Uses the Internet?

97% of consumers use online media to find local businesses. Of those, half are on tablets and smartphones. Did you catch that? Half of all Internet traffic in the US is from mobile devices. Your website needs to look good on these devices so people can easily find, learn about and buy from you. I’m talking about the user experience (UX).

mobile-statistic-infographic-2

User Experience

When someone visits your website you only have a few seconds to grab their attention before they leave. User experience is about the look and feel of your site. Is it easy to use? Does it look good? Can the visitor easily find the information they’re looking for? These should be true for desktop websites, but especially now for mobile sites. Since most people will meet your business for the first time on your website what is their first impression?

Mobile Websites

There are two ways to implement a mobile website and one of them is a clear winner for most businesses. The first option, is to create a separate mobile site. This site would stand alongside your desktop website. The advantages are that it’s usually cheap and quick. The major disadvantages to this approach are: you will likely have two sources of content to maintain (they are two separate sites), it’s bad for search engine optimization (SEO), and they often display only a portion of your desktop content (they are considered “thin”). There are specific situations where this type of mobile site is appropriate but for 95% of businesses I recommend Responsive Web Design (RWD).

mobile-website-vs-desktop-website

Responsive Web Design

RWD is a way to build a website so it looks good on all devices. A website built this way “responds” to the screen size and adjusts the site layout to look good on that screen. The primary benefits are: you have one website and only one set of content to maintain, Google Search prefers this type of site and, all else being equal, will rank it higher in search results (SEO), your customers get to experience all of your content, not just a thin layer.

rsz_responsive-example

How Do You Look?

What does your website look like on a mobile device? Does it fit on the screen in a way that’s easy to read? Is the menu easy to use? If you have a tablet or smartphone take a look right now. If you don’t have a website yet take a look at Apple.com (it doesn’t have a mobile site). Notice how you have to zoom in to read and navigate? That’s a bad user experience for mobile devices (I’m at a loss for why they haven’t updated).

What Now?

You need a responsive website. If you don’t have a website then you’re in a good position to start off on the right track. If you do have a website, but it doesn’t have a good mobile experience, you still need a new website. Mobile devices have seen a staggering adoption rate since Apple released the first smartphone in 2007. Most businesses have probably had a new website built since then. Unfortunately, RWD didn’t become widely used until 2012. This means that even if your website is just a couple of years old, it might be too old for how quickly mobile devices are being adopted. This year, half of all Internet traffic in the US will be consumed from mobile devices. You can’t ignore it anymore.

When you’re ready to build a new site contact me.

Postscript

If you currently have a website, with no mobile experience, you’re probably thinking it will be OK to just add a separate mobile site. After all, they are cheaper and quicker to build. Please consider this analogy:

Your website is like the front door to your business. If it’s inviting, then visitors will be inclined to enter and shop. If your door has a broken handle and a sign that reads “enter through the back,” you have just lost business. It’s easier for the visitor to keep on walking, to hit the back button on their browser, than to go around back. This describes a website with no mobile experience. Half of your visitors are being sent to the back door. How many actually go?

Adding a separate mobile site is like creating another, smaller store. Now you have to maintain two shops and one of them is just a shadow of what you intended. Again, half of your visitors are entering your secondary store. When does it make sense to remodel the whole shop to accommodate all visitors?

What you want is a shop that’s flexible enough for everyone, no matter how they come to you. You need one store so you can put more energy into a cohesive experience that will convert visits into sales.

When you’re ready for a remodel contact me.