If you are wondering whether getting a mobile friendly website design is worth it, try the following 30-second ‘litmus’ test: Visit your website from a Smartphone or tablet. If it is “thumb-friendly”, you have passed the test. In other words, if you are able to maneuver through each Web page with your thumbs, without constantly pinching and zooming, continue reading.
If you find yourself struggling to navigate from a mobile device (e.g. iPhone, Android, Blackberry or tablet), imagine what it must be like for your visitors. Most visitors have one thing in common: when they become frustrated, they leave (bouncing back to the Search Engines to go elsewhere). That increases your website’s “Bounce Rate,” a metric usually indicating a lack of engagement. User engagement metrics are used by Google as part of their algorithm and they can either help or hurt your SEO.
Obviously, there are other ways to know it’s time to make your website mobile friendly. Here are five additional considerations:
1. Customer Behavior
Are your customers on the go? If your business is in an industry where people are constantly on a go, such as a restaurant, ecommerce business, etc., having a mobile friendly website is no longer optional. Mobile users demand instant access to a company’s website. If they are not able to view a website from their phone, they will abandon the site and go elsewhere. If you do not know, reach out to customers (ask on Facebook, do a survey, call key customers, etc.) and find out what they think.
2. Overall Mobile Device Penetration
According to Forbes, 87 percent of adults in the U.S. use a mobile device. Approximately,
45 percent of these mobile users have a Smartphone and 90 percent use it to surf the Web. In addition, 74 percent of Smartphone users will leave a website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to pull up on a screen. These numbers are expected to rise over the next couple of years.
Mobile users are very active on social networks too (one of the reasons Facebook and others are investing so heavily in mobile advertising), so if your brand has a Fan page that posts content with links to your website, you want to provide a mobile friendly experience for them when they click thru to your site.
3. Your Competitor Has One and You Do Not
You want to have the edge over your competition online. If your competitor has a mobile friendly website and you do not – redesigning your website should be the first item on your to-do-list. A positive viewing experience on your website can result in more leads and interest in your company. Mobile users are more likely to revisit a website that provides the best usability.
4. Check Your Website Analytics Data
If your website is an important part of your marketing plan, the stats can help you justify an investment in a mobile friendly design. If your data (such as from Google Analytics, a free program you can use on your website to provide you with website performance information) shows that the percentage of mobile users visiting your website is trending up, this is a sign that it may be time to optimize your website for mobile. If only 7% of your visitors use a mobile device, it may not warrant the expense. However, we have seen many companies move from 5% in one year to 30% or more three years later. Especially, for ecommerce websites and lead generation sites, mobile can directly impact your top line.
5. Consistent User Experience Across Devices
The key to improving your website visitors’ experience is to provide them with an optimal and consistent user experience. People should be able to have easy access to information on your website whether they visit from a PC or a mobile device. Remember, you only have less than 5 seconds to capture your visitors’ attention. If your customer or visitor struggles to view your website from his/her mobile screen, you could potentially lose a sale.
If you do find that you require a mobile friendly experience, you have two basic options.
Option 1: Have your web marketing agency recode your site to be “Responsive” [more info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design]. A Responsive website itself will recognize the devices used by visitors and optimize the viewing experience (this is the recommended approach).
Option 2: You build a separate mobile website customers can use (this will require you to maintain two websites which may or may not be advantageous to you).
Your marketing agency can help you determine what is appropriate for you based on your needs.
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