Optimising your Website for Mobile Use

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Half of all internet traffic comes from smartphones, so if your website isn't optimised for mobile visitors, you could be losing potential customers and sales.

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Mobile Commerce Statistics

Mobile phones are here to stay. 1.2 billion smartphone owners worldwide make up 63.4% of all internet users (according to Hosting Facts) and half of all internet traffic comes from smartphones – so if you want to increase traffic and sales, optimising your website for mobile users is a worthwhile goal.

Google also recently introduced mobile-first indexing, as more and more traffic is coming from mobile phones. This feature means that where you rank in the search index is based on the mobile version of your website, not on the desktop version. (Note that this is not just on mobiles, but computers as well. Google only has one search index.)

What does this mean for you? The more mobile-friendly your site, the better it will rank.

Another Google feature that you may have noticed is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP is a way to build fast, lightweight web pages that will make browsing a better experience for mobile consumers. If your website is built using HTML, using AMP might be an option for you. AMP’s website teaches will take you through converting your HTML pages to AMPHTML.

According to a survey by Google, 61% of mobile users will abandon a site if it has bad user experience, and 40% will go to a competitor’s website instead.  If your mobile website is difficult to navigate, you may be discouraging potential customers and actually boosting your competitor’s traffic.

When you’ve created your website on a computer it can be easy to forget about the experience of your mobile visitors. Remember that your mobile site is just as, if not more, important, and should be created with that in mind. (Tip: tablet users are also more likely to buy products using their device.)

Differences Between Desktop and Mobile Users

Mobile consumers actually behave differently to more traditional internet users. Not only are they a very young demographic (primarily under 35 year-olds, according to Statista),  they interact better with photos and videos, and the results of a survey conducted by Akamai and PhoCusWright show that they have a lower attention span. Mobile users are usually searching for very specific items or services, rather than just browsing.

Design Elements

Apart from the technical adjustments that will need to be made to your site, it’s worth thinking about the thought patterns of your mobile visitors.

They want the site to load just as fast as its desktop counterpart, which means cutting out unnecessary content. Take some time to think about what content you really need — and what you really don’t. Most mobile users aren’t interested in your company’s fundamental values or your community outreach program, as interesting as they may be.  

However, if you don’t want to make too many drastic changes, you can place it on another page so that those who are interested can locate it, but those who aren’t don’t have to navigate around it.

Some ways to make your website easier to navigate:

  • Larger buttons (to accommodate all touchscreen users)
  • Legible font size
  • Changing image size to fit smaller screens.
  • Placement of buttons near the bottom of the screen (so that people can reach the buttons easily without having to stretch to the very top of their screen)

 Make sure that the mobile version of your website keeps the memorable branding of the desktop site. You don’t want to lose any of your brand’s personality during this process. 

Technical Tips

If you’re using website building software such as Wix, Shopify, or Squarespace, optimising your mobile site will be relatively easy. If you’re using Wordpress, this might be trickier. You can download a plugin that will help you edit the mobile view.

However, if your site is built using code, you will need to know some basic HTML and CSS to adjust the code. There are many resources and tutorials on how to do this available online.

Mobile App

If you already have a website that is optimised for mobile, you may be considering creating an app. 90% of the time, a HostingFacts survey shows, smartphone users spend time on apps rather than their internet browser, which is understandable, as well-designed apps have better User Experience than a mobile website.

Of course, it all depends on the service you are providing. Unless you plan to create an app which offers features that are different from those on your mobile website, your app will struggle to compete with others on the market. After all, there are now 2.6 million apps on the Google Play Store and almost as many on the App Store. Less than 0.01% of apps will succeed financially, according to Gartner, the world’s leading research company.

If you plan to create an app for your business, make sure you put a great deal of thought into it. A lot of time, work, and resources go into making an app – not just ideation, creation, and promotion, but continual updates and bug fixes. Carefully research your competitors and ensure that your idea is solving a problem. 

Final Thoughts

As the world is moving increasingly towards mobile use, making sure that your site is accessible and easy to navigate on all devices is very important. If your visitors have a good experience on your website, they will return again and again, boosting both traffic and sales. 
Optimising your website for mobile use will engage more users and boost sales for your business.