According to Fortune Magazine, 85% of American adults read the news on a mobile device in 2017. That has jumped from 54% in 2013 and 72% in 2016. 85% was the number two years ago, one can imagine the number is even higher. People want information where they are and they want it and when they think of it. Most likely they are away from their computer and are looking at their phone. Even if they are at home, feet away from their computer, it’s more convenient to access the information on the device already in their hand.
Unfortunately, many website owners still have sites designed for desktops. At WTI, we find some clients that are resistant to a redesign or want us to force their old design into new technology. This can be done, but it isn’t the best way of doing things. It is much better to create the website to be optimized for mobile and, secondly, works well on a desktop. Last year, Google announced that they are using a Mobile First policy for ranking and indexing websites.
So what exactly does “Mobile First” mean when it comes to Google? In the past, Google would use the desktop version to determine how to index and rank the site. As of March 2018, they now use the mobile version of the page. This is to help the majority of people that use Google find the information that they are looking for.
Site owners will notice the Smartphone Googlebot will be crawling their site more and Google will show the mobile version of the pages in their search results. Google states that they don’t use mobile-first indexing to populate rankings, but they do take into consideration on how useful a page is to a user. Having mobile-friendly content can only help you with rankings and search results. As Google puts it: “We may show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if our many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.” That’s a lot of signals you have to have right to overcome not being mobile-friendly or slow loading.
If you are looking for ways to get performance out of your site, looking towards a mobile-first design is probably one of the best steps you can take.
Many people try to convert their website from desktop to mobile. Aside from the fact that you are probably using old methods, old SEO tactics, old code, old images, and so on, it isn’t the most efficient option.
Converting an old site would be like when television stations stopped broadcasting standard definition images and moved to HD. Some programming remained that was not shot in HD or formatted for the larger screen shape. People could still watch the old programs on their TVs, but as more and more programming switched to HD, the difference between the two formats was more noticeable. The images didn’t fit the new ratio and there weren’t enough pixels to make the pictures very clear. It wasn’t as enjoyable or useful to watch old methods of broadcasting on the new technology. The same goes for making a desktop site responsive. Yes, it will work, but it won’t be optimized for a mobile device. People will choose to use the sites that are easy to use and navigate.
The responsive desktop site may do the job for a limited amount of time, but if you are going to spend the time, money, and effort to redo your site, you may as well do it right from the start. In the example given above with the TV, broadcasters and creators were able to make their programming ready for the change or they had to play catch-up. While you are trying to match the new technologies with old-fashioned methods, your competitors are stealing your market share.
There are similarities between these two options, but the differences are what matters.
If a site is responsive, the CSS uses code to adjust the site to fit the type of device it is being viewed on. This takes a complex code and the desktop version is still considered the “main” website. The website is designed for desktops and is made to fit on mobile devices.
When a site is designed with Mobile First in mind, it is created that way from the beginning. It is also responsive, but it is designed with mobile users in mind. Instead of designing a website for a minority of users then forced to fit on devices for others, the site is created for the majority of users on the internet. Over 65% of the population has a mobile phone (that’s around 5 billion people) and of that number, over half are smartphones. As of 2018, over 50% of all global internet traffic was done on a mobile device.
There are several steps you can take to make your site user-friendly for those on mobile devices.
As a writer, this one really hurts, but it’s the way of the world now. People don’t have as much time or desire to read, so you have to make sure your content on the main pages is concise and easy to read. (It’s still true that long blog posts bring more leads than short ones, but that’s a subject for another, uh, blog.)
In addition to sparsing your content, you need to format it in single-sentence paragraphs, whenever possible. There is no place for redundancy and flowery language.
People today are bombarded constantly by information, whether they are wanting it or not. Websites are no different. By keeping your site simple, it is easy for the user to find the information they are looking for, which in turn should lead to contact with the user regarding your goods or services. Just provide and ask for the basics to complete the task. If something is complicated or takes too long, people will move to another site that easier to use.
A Gallup Poll states that texting is the most used way of communication for American 50 years old and younger. Many people don’t want to make phone calls or wait for your business to open to speak to someone. Make it so they can text or message you. I’m not saying to take your number off, there are times when a potential customer needs to speak to a human, but provide other means for users to communicate with you.
Some website owners (and poor designers) don’t think about mobile any further than the front page. A Call To Action (CTA) is worthless if it doesn’t work on a mobile device. The CTA may lead to a page that isn’t responsive or a form that is difficult to fill out on a phone. People are not going to fight to give you their business, make it as easy as possible to let them get in touch with you.
Make your CTA something that is mobile-friendly like a chat box or an SMS text messaging option.
The Design Council released a report stating that companies that made sure their graphic design was forefront, did better than other companies by 200%! The study also showed that people found well-designed websites more memorable, trustworthy, and easier to use. Just because the site is designed for a mobile device doesn’t mean you should cut corners on the graphics.
The designers at WTI make sure that our sites are not only user-friendly, but look good, also. Some of the aspects of graphic design that we make sure are in every site include vibrant colors, the right font, eye-catching color schemes, custom graphics, and photos and videos that are generated from your company’s projects.
These elements are combined with easy navigation to make a site that is appealing and useful.
We talked a lot about why and how you should make your site mobile first, the next step is yours: contact the professionals at WTI and make your site work for your site visitors. It can seem daunting to make all of these changes, but we make it easy. You let us know you want to make your site mobile first and we’ll do all the hard work. We know the steps to make and the best way to optimize your site to help you drive more business to your company.
We want you (and your users) to love your website, let us show you how!