Quick Tips

Quick Tip: The Importance of Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

If you didn’t already know it, mobile is king. Just look at the numbers:

  • As of January 2018, 77 percent of Americans owned a smartphone
  • At the end of the third quarter this year, mobile web traffic accounted for 42.79 percent of all Internet traffic in the U.S.
  • By 2021, more than half of all online users in the U.S. will access the Internet exclusively via mobile devices
  • 95 percent of mobile Internet users will look up local information for the purpose of calling or visiting a business
  • About four of every five mobile Internet users are shopping on their devices
  • Mobile retail commerce, also known as m-commerce, is projected to make up more than half of all e-commerce sales by 2021

So, whether your business is a law firm, a heating and air company or retail-centric, you can all benefit from a mobile-optimized website.

What exactly does that mean? It’s a bit different from simply having a mobile friendly website and also from having a mobile responsive one.

“Mobile friendly” was essentially the first generation of websites to be accessible on mobile devices. These websites were functional, but they weren’t exactly designed with the user experience in mind. Many times, this means a website will appear the same on a computer’s Internet browser and a mobile device’s. (Think: small text, small navigation buttons, etc.)

Mobile-optimized, then, would be the second generation. These websites are designed specifically with mobile devices in mind. If you picture all the different types of devices, you’ll note that each has its own dimensions. A mobile-optimized website will reformat itself depending on what device you’re using.

And, the latest iteration is responsive design. This is by far the priciest option, so you may be wondering why you should still build a responsive website. The answer is simple: Internet users are switching between multiple devices. Responsive web design is similar to a mobile-optimized one, but instead of focusing on just mobile devices, a responsive website is designed to work seamlessly across any type of device. This can prove especially beneficial to retailers, but also to companies that, for example, have a blog or text-heavy materials.

So, what’s the importance of a mobile-optimized website? The stakes are high: this year, Google rolled out its mobile-first indexing, meaning the company will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of your website’s content instead of the desktop version — even if users are on a computer. So, if your website is not up to snuff, it could mean less brand or business visibility, less online traffic and, ultimately, less revenue.

Not where you want your business to be, right? Fortunately, our Kinetic Business by Windstream team has identified some key areas that you can focus on to help improve the mobile version of your website.

1. Site Speed

To state the obvious, if your website pages take too long to load, customers may grow frustrated, leave your site and look elsewhere for a product or service. (Note: the loading-time threshold is three seconds.) Less glaring is the fact that site speed can play a role in search engine results: your website will drop in search engine rankings the longer your page takes to load.

Couple that with the fact that mobile devices already fall behind when it comes to loading pages, compared with their computer counterparts.

So, what all can you do? First, know that each image, video, script, font, stylesheet and other items on your website is its own file, meaning it has its own size. And, the bulk of content that slows down load time the most is images. That said, it’s important to have smaller file sizes on mobile. To do that, you’ll want to resize your images for mobile browsing, and it wouldn’t hurt to compress all your files, especially those images. Other ways to improve speed is to reduce redirects, which automatically send Internet users from one webpage to another, and “minifying” — or removing redundant data — resources such as HTML, CSS and Javascript.

2. Content

Gone should be the days when mobile Internet users had to zoom in or fiddle with their screens to read a webpage. Your website should have visible text on whatever device your customers are using.

It’s also important to remember that mobile Internet users are likely on the go, so writing for that crowd is crucial. Some studies show that webpages with 150 words or fewer above the fold — or before someone will need to begin scrolling — perform best on mobile. Try, too, to write shorter sentences and paragraphs and to break up text with more consumable bullet points, numbered lists and images.

3. Design and the User Experience (UX)

Everything on your website — speed, content and design — should ultimately come down to the user experience. In short, that means you’ll want your business website to be easy to use and easy to navigate across all devices.

But, let’s linger for a moment on navigation. A website may appear on your desktop with what is essentially a drop-down toolbar, where users can find products, contact information and other resources. Fitting that toolbar — that likely stretches across your computer screen — onto a mobile device’s  screen is neither feasible, nor user friendly. Instead, you’ll see a lot of websites include a condensed version with the three lines that will drop down into a navigation menu.

And within that navigation system, you’ll want to use larger font sizes, so users can see where they’re going, and bigger buttons, so they’ll click on the page where they actually intend to visit.

To round back once more, be aware of the files and programs that you use on your website, as not all are compatible with mobile devices and as they might affect your site speed.

Overall, as you’re designing your mobile site or optimizing it, keep the user or your customer in mind. Simply put, prioritize your webpages based on the journey that your customers take as they’re researching and purchasing your product or service.

And let our team help! Find out how our Kinetic Internet, with speeds up to One Gig in qualifying areas, can give you the strong, reliable connection you need to enhance your website for mobile devices!