Go Mobile or Go to the Upside Down.
It’s no longer a question whether or not internet users are using their mobile devices to access the web. Mobile devices already surpassed desktop usage by 21% as the most used platform for media consumption. In fact, Wired declared that the smartphone will be the primary computing device in 2017 – that’s just eighty-five days away. So what happens when your business’ website isn’t optimized for mobile use?
We like to call this place the internet’s ‘Upside Down’. A world that operates similar to our own but something just isn’t quite right. One that’s dark and terrifying. Once your non-optimized webpages send mobile users to the internet’s Upside Down, they disappear, never to be seen at your website again.
If a webpage doesn’t load within 2-3 seconds on a mobile device, nearly 25% of your mobile traffic will disappear completely to the Upside Down. While no big government agency is covering up or sabotaging your website’s mobile usability (as far as we know), or no Demogorgon trolling the lives of your visitors, there are a lot of bad things happening in this world’s Upside Down.
If a mobile user has to squint, zoom, pinch and backtrack from pressing the wrong buttons on their 5.5in screen, your business can say bye-bye to the millions of people using the fastest growing media and marketing channel. If your website visitors try to load a webpage and it disappears, they’re not going to launch a full on investigation to find where their missing webpage disappeared (R.I.P. Barb). They’re going to move on to your competitor whose website is fully functional in the real, mobile-first world.
Simply, websites must possess a mobile-responsive design to support and target the growing volume of mobile
web traffic. This guide explains how optimizing websites for mobile usability will improve traffic acquisition, increase web conversions and ultimately drive your business’ top line growth – plus it’ll keep your website and its users out of The Upside Down.
Please the Google Gods
Mobile’s takeover started last year with “Mobilegeddon“, Google’s announcement that its algorithms will boost search rankings for mobile-friendly pages. Similar to other 21st century apocalyptic outcries – Y2K, the Mayan ‘doomsday’, global warming – the hysteria over Mobilegeddon was completely overblown.
Or maybe, it was only premature. Google has doubled down on their promise, announcing on March 16th that their algorithm will further improve the search rank of mobile friendly pages and disfavor non-mobile friendly pages. Google’s focus on website mobile usability signals to marketers that they not only need a mobile-first web design but that they need to be thinking mobile-first, too.
Mobile traffic surpassed desktop in 2015 for the United States, meaning that it now accounts for 51% of all digital media consumption. Businesses seeking to re-design their outdated websites should consider using a mobile-first approach, by creating a responsive website, designed specifically for mobile usability, and translating the design elements for desktop and other devices. Rather than having a watered-down version of your desktop website, a mobile-first website ensures that your webpages and page elements are functionally optimized for a mobile screen.
To please the almighty Google Gods and improve your site pages’ search ranking, keep the following considerations when creating a website designed with a mobile responsive approach:
- Determine the optimal breakpoints
- Ensure proper spacing of touch elements
- Reduce page load and speed time
- Optimize readability for small-screens
- Configure conversion points for mobile use
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Google offers a free URL test.
Optimize the User Experience and Provide Instant Gratification
Mobile technology brings unprecedented connectivity to our lives. Only by having a smartphone are people able to see the latest local deals offered; interact with their BFF across the country; compare competitor prices in real-time, and even just make a phone call while you’re driving. Mobile devices have completely transformed how we interact with information, people and, of course, marketers.
More and more people are using their mobile devices to satiate their boredom and cultivate online experiences, with people checking their smartphone an average of 46 times a day. This revolution of mobile connectivity increases the difficulty of marketers’ jobs – supplying people’s demand for instant gratification. If people can’t find what they want, when they want, then they’re going to turn to businesses that can satisfy their needs.
But people’s shift to mobile, “on-the-go” lifestyles also provides marketers with more time to reach their consumers. Google calls these “micro-moments,” the moments throughout the day when people consult their smartphone for everything from entertainment to research and communication to making buying decisions. Previously, people and especially marketers had to know where a person was to communicate with them or target their behaviors.
A mobile-first, responsive website provides business owners with an optimized touchpoint for every consumer, whether they’re on their tablet, smartphone or desktop. Mobile users make researching and purchasing decisions under time pressure, whether it’s while they’re standing in line or waiting at the doctor’s office. In order to facilitate consumer’s online decisions, businesses should consider the following elements when designing a mobile-responsive website:
- Simplifying or remove design elements to have a minimalist design
- Decreasing file sizes to improve page loading times
- Creating easy navigation that’s “thumb friendly”
- Optimizing content for mobile, local searches
- Removing pop-ups and minimize form fields
- Using HTML5 over Flash
Take Back Customer Retention: Watch Your Sales Soar
As I mentioned above, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly you’re already losing valuable web traffic. By accessing Google Analytics, business owners can measure their website traffic: What portion of your website traffic comes from iOS and Android? Is your bounce rate higher for mobile devices? Over the past six months has there been a steady decrease in new mobile traffic?
These key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial for business owners and marketers. Only through understanding your online audience and measuring a customer’s online journey, can companies optimize messaging, marketing and targeting in order to increase conversions and sales.
Even if you’re not an e-commerce business, having a mobile-first website is proven to result in conversions. Apart from dominating web traffic, on average 73% of searches convert. In May, Google detailed that, in a randomized controlled study, ¾ of local mobile searches resulted in an in-store visit and 28% of those visits led to purchase.
Not only will a mobile-friendly website lead to more web traffic, an increase in SERP rank, and both online and in-store sales, but it also improves customer retention. Sure, a mobile-first website will cost money – sometimes, upwards of $25,000 for just medium-sized businesses. But businesses are virtually guaranteed a return on their investment by providing an online storefront that optimized for mobile traffic.
Mobile users spend roughly three hours checking their device every day, and they frequently switch between devices when performing online research. By having a website that is mobile-first – and through the optimization of your webpages – business owners can ensure that when a mobile user lands on their website, they can easily and intuitively convert. With a mobile-first website businesses can nurture the growing segment of mobile users and take back customer retention.
What are you waiting for? Upgrade or redesign your website today by contacting 3W Studios or Kidd Group so your business can dominate the mobile marketplace. After all, you don’t want to end up in The Internet’s Upside Down, because even if your website makes it out, there are going to be some lasting repercussions.