Creating an operational website can be hard work, and making it SEO-friendly for your target groups adds plenty to your plate as part of a business. Since the internet boom, the main focus of website usability was making it work for computer monitors, keyboards, and mouse devices (and touch pads).
You may not even realize how bad your mobile site is, but even if your domain is set up to guarantee mobile-usability, it might not be up to the standards that search engines and mobile users expect. To do a quick check to see if your website meets Google’s standards, you can use their Mobile-Friendly Test. Whether or not your website is found to be mobile-friendly, fixes to make your business optimized for mobile devices certainly aren’t impossible and can give a strong boost to your views and rank.
The Importance of Being Mobile-friendly
Having a mobile-friendly website is important because, quite simply, your potential consumers/readers are probably using mobile devices to access your site very often. According to Pew Research, 90% of Americans have a cell phone, with 58% have a smartphone. And at least half of the U.S. owns a device like an e-reader or tablet. Of these users, a growing number are using cell phones to access the internet, with over a third spending more time on the internet via their phone than a laptop or desktop. And these trends aren’t static. The amount of time that Americans and users worldwide are accessing the internet on a phone or tablet is growing at an incredible rate. In order to keep up, it’s necessary to make sure that your website is easy to access and use via a mobile device.
If your website involves commerce, like a shop or charity, then it could be even more difficult, but also more important, to consider how mobile-friendly your pages are. A growing number of users are purchasing products over their smartphones and tablets, and the majority of American users will combine information they gather from their both their mobile device and a laptop/desktop to make purchasing decisions. Therefore, you need to make sure purchasing forms and actions like “add to cart” or “donate now” are easily viewable and accessible. Having a website fully optimized for mobile gives users a convenient and simple experience that will mean more money for your business.
Common Issues with Mobile Websites
There are plenty of examples of how un-friendly mobile websites can make it cumbersome and simply annoying for users to access and navigate. According to the same study mentioned above, three-fourths of mobile internet users experienced frustration while accessing mobile sites. Here is a list of some of the most common issues with these websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices:
- Flash and other unsupported media are used. This can slow download time and make your website completely unusable for mobile users.
- Slow pages bogged down by too much text or media.
- Inaccessible menu buttons. For instance, when a drop down menu is expected to be “hovered” over.
- Forms that don’t work correctly. Inability to type into boxes and properly navigate through a form are two common problems.
- Links which are too close, causing someone to accidentally click the wrong one.
- Pop-ups for advertisements or logging in which are inaccessible/can’t be removed.
- Difficult to zoom in/out.
If you’ve ever used your mobile device to access a website and experienced any of these issues, you’ll know full well how frustrating the browsing experience can be. And the issues mentioned are just the most common and basic. There are many more potential pitfalls for site that isn’t mobile-friendly. If you do nothing to optimize your page for mobile users, they surely won’t stay for long and you will lose money and readership.
By becoming aware of the issues that your business’ website may have when being used by mobile consumers, you can more easily address them. Once you are prepared to become mobile friendly, you have a few options about how to address it, and all of the plans have their pros and cons. You can create an entirely new website or make the site you have work better on mobile devices.
Another popular option is to make an application (app) for your site, which ensures the best mobile optimization, but isn’t quite feasible for all businesses. Basing your business on a third-party site (i.e. Facebook or Google+ Local) is another option that is simple and trustworthy yet limiting. Regardless of your choice, what matters most is that the growing population of mobile internet users can easily go from a potential consumer to a faithful customer.