Most people remember Mobilegeddon from last year, when Google started ranking mobile-friendly sites over ones that are not optimised for mobile browsing. It is more important than ever to make sure your website is optimised for that traffic – mobiles have overtaken laptops as the UK’s most popular device for internet users, and consumer spending on them is set to top £53bn by 2024! This is because smartphones are so popular – people are using them to communicate, shop, bank, watch TV and much more. In fact, two thirds of people now own a smartphone, spending two hours using theirs every day – twice as long as time spent on PCs. It is reported that retailers are missing out on £6.6bn a year by not “going mobile”. This is a huge loss, but you can easily avoid this cost by making your website responsive or by building a mobile or app version.
You can use this link to see how Google ranks your website for mobile-friendliness. Other tell-tale signs that your site is not mobile-friendly include: constantly having to zoom and pinch the screen to clearly read any text or click links; going to click a button but selecting a different one by accident because the buttons are small and/or close together; noticing certain features do not load or work correctly and your site does not look as good as it does when viewed on PC.
Three options for making your website mobile friendly include:
1. Make your website responsive:
Responsive design means that your website’s appearance is consistent over all devices (mobiles, tablets, PCs). For example, if you are viewing your responsive website on a mobile device, it will automatically adjust itself to fit the screen – so that you don’t have to pinch and zoom. The same happens whatever device you are using, meaning that your site is effective across the board.
– It is one single website, so it is easy to keep consistent and updated
– It uses one URL, therefore it will load faster without waiting to be redirected to a mobile version
– It assists in SEO because it averts the need to create content specifically for mobile devices
– It might not be the way forward for your website – if very complex with lots of information, different links, products, etc., it may be difficult to assure every page looks as good or works as effectively for users, negatively affecting User Experience
– Responsive design is a relatively new concept, so if a user hasn’t updated their browsers or devices, the responsive site may not load correctly for them
Example of a responsive website (andygotts.com – designed & developed by GML Consulting):
2. Create a mobile version of your website:
This involves building a separate site specifically for mobile devices, taking into account the small screen sizeand analysing what is most important for the user to be able to do/access on your pages. When a user on a mobile device visits your website, they will be automatically redirected to the correct, mobile-friendly version.
– The website will be specifically optimised for mobile devices, meaning improved User Experience
– Mobile optimised websites usually stand better ground in Google Search Engine Result Pages
– Mobile sites (along with responsive sites) do not require the user to download an appso they are instantly accessible
– Your website will load faster on mobile platforms
– You will have to maintain two separate websites
– The mobile site will need extra SEO work
– Because some mobiles are touch screen and others use a keyboard, mobile sites won’t work consistently across every single device.
Example of a mobile website (brecklandlodge.co.uk – designed & developed by GML Consulting):
3. Build an app:
This involves having a native app, built specifically for mobiles, which the user will be prompted to download when they visit your website using a mobile. For example, if you are using an Apple device and you are prompted to download an app version of a website, it will take you through to the App Store where you can download it.
– If built correctly, apps can provide a better User Experience
– Most apps work even when you are not connected to the internet, so information remains available all the time
– Once the app is downloaded,its icon stays on the screen of the user’s mobile device, meaning they are always reminded of it when they look at their phone
– People may be put off using your website if it’s prompting them to download an app while they are impulse buying or intending to complete a one-off purchase. They might not want to go through the effort of downloading an app that they will only use once
– Apps won’t work across all systems, you will need to build an OS version and one suitable for Android, etc.
– It is harder to keep an app updated, as any changes or fixes need to be approved by the App store
– Apps are the most expensive mobile solution
Example of an app version of a website:
Make 2016 the year you go mobile friendly, if you haven’t already – it really is imperative for digital success! To find out the best option for going mobile-friendly for your website, please feel free to contact GML today to discuss – we offer everything from responsive sites, to mobile apps, SEO and much more…