Mobile-Friendly Websites: How To Reach Mobile Users & Increase Conversions

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Mobile-Friendly Websites: How To Reach Mobile Users & Increase Conversions

By | 2017-09-07T13:03:54+00:00 August 30th, 2017|

Mobile-Friendly Websites: How To Optimize Your Website For Mobile Users & Increase Conversions

Mobile has changed our lives. We now spend more time on our mobile devices than on computers. Mobile-friendly websites are essential for businesses to reach and convert mobile users.

Mobile Optimization is a process of ensuring that your website provides an optimum user experience to visitors who visit your website from mobile devices.

Mobile users are more impatient, impulsive and expect instant information. We are using our smartphones to search online and address our immediate needs throughout the day. The majority of online searches on Google are made on mobile devices.

As mobile device usage continues to soar, a mobile friendly website has become critical for every business. Businesses that do not have mobile friendly websites will lose a large number of potential customers.

The Popularity of Mobile Devices in the US

Mobile continues to grow at a phenomenal pace in the US. Mobile devices have become more popular than computers. The number of mobile users is only expected to increase as people become more familiar with mobile technology.

A Google report on “How People Use Their Devices” found that Mobile Devices are used by a majority of users on an average day. According to this report,

  • 27% or 1 in 4 users use only smartphones
  • 80% of all users use smartphones
  • 94% of users browse the web in an average day
  • 71% browse on smartphones or computers
  • 25% browse on smartphones only

A ComScore report titled “Cross-Platform Future in Focus 2017” discovered that,

  • Mobile media usage exceeded 1 trillion monthly minutes in March 2016.
  • Smartphone usage doubled in the past 3 years. Digital media time grew by 40% since 2013 and all the growth is due to smartphone usage.
  • 1 in 8 Internet users are mobile only. These mobile-only users are women who are 18-24 years old.

All these reports indicate how incredibly important mobile devices have become in 2017. Your website must be mobile-friendly and responsive to perform well on mobile devices. Business websites that are not mobile-friendly will be unable to reach 25% or more of their potential customers.

Most Online Searches Are Made on Mobile Devices

Most people are using mobile devices to search for information online. This is happening even when we are at home or at work and have access to a desktop computer. We are choosing to use our smartphones to look for online information, make a purchase or contact a business.

In 2015, Google announced that the number of search queries on mobile devices on Google in the USA exceeded those on desktops.

Estimates vary but it is estimated that about 60% of online searches are now made using mobile devices.

Here are some interesting statistics from Google,

  • In 2015, the number of search queries on mobile devices on Google in the USA exceeded those on desktops.
  • 94% of people in the USA who own smartphones use their smartphones to search for local information.
  • 77% of mobile searches will occur at home or at work where desktop computers are also available.
  • 82% of smartphone users search online to find local businesses

These statistics show that people are increasingly choosing to use their smartphones to search for information online even when desktop computers are available. Our smartphones are much more accessible and convenient.

A Google report titled “How People Use Their Devices” offers these statistics on mobile search,

More Google Searches are taking place on smartphones than computers.

  • 39% or 4 in 10 users search on smartphones only
  • 32% search using computers only
  • 28% search on more than 1 device

Mobile Users Are Using Their Smartphones in “Micro-Moments” All Day

People are engaging with their smartphones in intent-rich “Micro-Moments” throughout the day.

A Google article on “How Micro-Moments Are Changing the Rules” discusses how Micro-Moments are influencing customer decisions.

Micro-Moments are dozens of targeted moments during the day that customers are engaging with their smartphones to look up information online.

These micro-moments include:

  • I-want-to know moments- when customers are using their smartphones to search for information online
  • I-want-to-go moments- when the customer is searching for a local business or planning a trip to a store to shop
  • I-want-to-buy moments- when the customer is consulting their smartphone in a store and ready to buy
  • I-want-to-do moments- When the customer is looking for help on how to do something.

According to the Google article,

  • 91% of people use their smartphones to find additional information while they are working on something
  • 82% of people check their smartphones while they are in a store to make shopping decisions

These micro-moments are very focused on using smartphones to accomplish a task. Since users are trying to get quick information to make decisions, websites must be mobile-friendly, load extremely fast and be easy to use on a mobile device.

Tips For Mobile-Friendly Website Design

1. A Mobile-Friendly Website Should Have Responsive Website Design

Your website must be mobile-friendly and have responsive web design to perform well when used on mobile devices.

Responsive web design is used to design mobile-friendly websites. A responsive website is mobile-friendly and “responsive” – the website will scale in size and change its layout to fit the size of the browsing device. A responsive website is designed with a flexible design that performs well on devices of all sizes from desktops to mobile devices.

View the image below showing a single mobile-friendly website changing in size and layout on different devices.

dallas web design

A responsive website will change in size and layout to fit a smart-phone when a customer accesses your website from a mobile device. The text will be easy to read & images and contact forms will scale to fit the smaller device.

A responsive website is very user-friendly and provides an optimum user experience on devices of all sizes. Your website will perform well on any size device that the customer chooses to access it including smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops.

Responsive Web Design is recommended by Google.

Google recommends using responsive web design. The advantage of responsive web design is that it will serve the same html code to devices of all sizes. You only have to have a single website on a single URL to update and maintain. The same website will scale in size and perform well on both mobile devices and desktop computers. You will not need to have a separate mobile website and a desktop website with all the maintenance headaches of keeping 2 websites updated.

A business website that is responsive provides an optimum user experience and ensures that your website performs well in today’s multi device environment. It keeps your website visitors happy and they are likely to visit again. It helps to increase leads and conversions.

2. A Mobile-Friendly Website Should Provide a Positive Mobile User Experience

In addition to responsive web design, your website must provide an optimum user experience to mobile users.

To provide an optimum mobile user experience, your website design should have:

  • A large font size for easy reading on a mobile device. A font size of at least 16px is recommended. The user should never have to pinch and zoom or scroll sideways to read the content.
  • Short and easy-to-use navigation menus.
  • Calls to action placed above the fold and clearly visible.
  • Buttons that stand out from the colors of the background and are large, visible and easy to use.
  • Forms, like contact forms, with a minimum number of fields which are clearly labeled.
  • Site search that is visible and provides relevant results.
  • Images that are quick-loading, optimized and compressed.
  • No flash.
  • No pop-up ads.

Google and AnswerLab published a report titled “Principles of Mobile Site Design: Delight Users & Drive Conversions”. This report provides mobile site design tips that will help ensure that your website is easy to use on a mobile device.

Here are some of their suggestions:
1. Home Page & Site Navigation

  • Keep your calls to action visible and prominently displayed on your website
  • Menus should be short and organized into categories
  • Users should be able to click on your logo and easily get back to your Home page

2. Site Search

  • Site search should be visible & placed at the top of the Homepage in a text field.
  • Search should provide the most relevant results first
  • Use search filters to improve search results

3. Commerce and Conversions

  • Allow users to use the site without registering for an account
  • Let users checkout as a guest
  • Offer 3rd party payment options

4. Form Entry

  • Design forms with a minimum of fields
  • Make information entry easy with number pads and auto-advance features
  • Visibly label form fields and provide real time validation of errors

5. User Experience

  • Design your website for mobile users. Google recommends responsive web design.
  • Font-size should be large enough that the users never have to pinch and zoom.
  • Provide high-quality close-ups of product images for users to zoom in.

Using these suggestions in your web design will ensure that your mobile visitors have an optimum user experience. Providing an easy and fast mobile web experience will increase conversions and reduce bounce rate.

3. Page Speed Has to Be Very Fast On Mobile-Friendly Websites

Usability and speed are the most important factors for a mobile site.

For mobile users browsing on smartphones at 3G speeds, your website page speed and page size become really important. Web pages that load fast is essential for mobile users.

According to a Google report,

  • 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load
  • As page load time increases from 1s to 3s, the bounce rate increases by 32%
  • As page load time goes from 1s to 10s, the bounce rate increases to 123%

For your web pages to load fast, images have to be kept small and compressed. Large, slow-loading images may look great once loaded, but no one is going to wait around for them to load.

53% of mobile site visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load

Images must be formatted to the right size that is needed on the page. Images can be compressed for the web with tools like Adobe Photoshop.

Page Speed and page size have to be kept low for optimum mobile web experiences and to reduce bounce rate.

The values recommended by Google are:

  • Average page speed should be 3 seconds or less
  • Web page size should be 500KB or less

Other changes you can make to reduce mobile page speed include:

  • reduce redirects from the landing page
  • reduce server response time
  • use browser caching

You can test your website page speed with Google’s tool available at https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-us

4. Search Is Becoming Mobile – Google’s New Mobile-First Search Index

Since 2015, Mobile-friendly websites receive a higher search ranking on Google’s search results pages. Your SEO rankings will be higher on Google if you have a mobile-friendly website.

Google is now making more changes to the traditional way websites are indexed by the Google search engine.

Google is currently testing a new Mobile-First search index which will change the way websites are being indexed. This is expected in 2018.

Today, Google’s search ranking algorithms evaluate the desktop version of a web page to decide if it is relevant to a user search. If it considers the web page to be relevant, it will be listed in the search engine rankings results pages that is presented to the user.

However, with the growth of mobile usage, the majority of online searches on Google today are taking place on mobile devices. If the Google ranking algorithms continue to evaluate the desktop version of a website, there could be inconsistencies in the information that is presented to the mobile user.

Since user experience is very important, Google solves this problem with their new Mobile-First search index. With the new mobile-first index, Google’s search ranking algorithms will use the mobile version of a website as the primary method to rank web pages. The mobile version of the page will be evaluated for relevancy to the search, and then the same page will be presented to the mobile user. This will result in a consistent user experience and a happy customer.

By changing their search index to make it mobile-first, Google provides a better search experience on mobile devices.

Google’s new mobile-first search index makes having a mobile-friendly website with Responsive Web Design even more important. A website that is Responsive will ensure that the key content is available across both mobile and desktop searches. A responsive website will be well prepared for the new Mobile-First search index.

5. Your Website Must Be Optimized For Mobile SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your website is essential to improve your website search rankings in Google and other search engines.

For mobile devices, titles and meta descriptions will need to be shorter to appeal to the mobile user.

Your website content must be shorter and rich with keywords that are used by your customers for mobile searches.

Mobile users use more local or “near me searches” to find businesses near them. Your mobile website must be optimized for local SEO with local links and city mentions.

You should use Google Analytics to determine which keywords your mobile users are searching for and optimize further for SEO.

How to Test If Your Website is Mobile Friendly

There are several test tools provided by Google that allows you to test your website and check if it is mobile friendly.

1. Google Search Console Mobile-Friendly Test
Enter your url in the box. This test will analyze your web page and tell you if its mobile-friendly.

2. Think With Google Test Your Mobile Website Speed & Performance
This is a more detailed test. It will check your website speed on a 3G network and also check your website code. It will provide your page loading time. You can request a report.

3. Google Page Speed Insights
This is a detailed page speed test for both mobile and desktop. It will give you a score and a list of possible optimizations which you can send to your web developer.

Conclusion

Its time to Go Mobile.

Businesses have to take a mobile-first approach to their websites. A mobile-friendly and responsive website is no longer an option for a business website. It is essential for reaching mobile users. A business that does not have a mobile-friendly website could lose 25% or more of potential customers.

Your website must be optimized for mobile users and ready for Google’s new mobile-first search index which is expected in 2018.

To be optimized for mobile users, your mobile-friendly website should have the following features:
Responsive web design, optimum user experience for mobile users, fast page speed, compressed images, ready for Google’s Mobile-First search index and search engine optimization.

A mobile-friendly and responsive website can help you reach more customers including mobile users who are accessing the web only on mobile devices. A mobile-friendly website helps you reach more customers and increase conversions, leads and sales.

If you need help with mobile websites, we design mobile-friendly and responsive websites for small and medium businesses. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com

References

• Google, “How People Use Their Devices”, September 2016.
• Google and AnswerLab, “Principles of Mobile Site Design: Delight Users & Drive Conversions”.
• Google, Why Great Mobile Experiences Should Be A Priority Of Marketers, February 2017
https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/advertising-channels/mobile/mobile-experiences-should-be-priority-for-marketers/
• ComScore, “Cross-Platform Future in Focus 2017”
• Pew Research Center, Mobile Fact Sheet, January 12, 2017
• Think with Google, How Micro-Moments are changing the rules, Sridhar Ramaswamy, April 2015,
https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/how-micromoments-are-changing-rules.html
• Google Webmaster Central Blog, Mobile-First Indexing, November 4, 2016, https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html
• Pew Research Center, Technology Device Ownership: 2015

Related Articles

Responsive Web Design: Why Is It Important?
5 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design Is Essential To Your Internet Marketing Strategy
7 Reasons Why Mobile Friendly Websites Are Essential For Online Marketing
Google’s Mobile-First Index and Its SEO Impacts

Gold Mango Design LLC. helps small and medium businesses build a strong digital marketing presence. Our digital marketing services include Responsive or Mobile Friendly Web Design, WordPress Web Development, SEO or Search Engine Optimization and AdWords Pay-Per-Click marketing services. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com

 
 

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About the Author:

Tanuja Mahdavi is a web developer, engineer and digital marketing consultant. She is the owner of Gold Mango Design LLC, a web design and digital marketing company located in Plano, TX near Dallas. She blogs about web design and internet marketing. Follow her on twitter @goldmangodesign.