Simply having a responsive website is no longer enough to attract mobile consumers. Here are key reasons why your website is not mobile-friendly.
Responsive Does Not Equal Mobile-Friendly!
Every so often I have a conversation with a potential client who tells me they have a responsive website, so they are all set. Not only that; they actually were an early adopter of responsive design and are very proud of that fact. Good for them! But a lot has changed since 2015. In 2019 simply having a responsive site doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mobile-friendly website!
In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of having a mobile-first website for your business or product brand. And being mobile-friendly is an important aspect of that. But simply having a responsive website is not enough. Why is that, you ask?
Having a mobile-friendly website takes a lot more than simply building a responsive website. Having a responsive website simply means your website will size down to render on a mobile device screen. But that does not mean you are providing a great mobile user experience. If you really want to meet the expectations of ever more sophisticated mobile consumers in 2019 you need a mobile-friendly website.
The Importance of Being Mobile-Friendly
In order to be considered mobile-friendly, your business website not only has to look great on mobile devices. Even more important, it has to meet the needs of modern mobile consumer. Ignoring mobile shoppers is a costly business mistake you must avoid. Yet many business websites are not meeting the expectations of mobile consumers. And that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to promote their brands.
Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub, but also the bridge to the physical world. Thomas Husson
Take a peek inside your Google Analytics and you will see the number of visitors accessing your website from mobile devices. According to Hosting Facts, in 2019, 63.4 percent of all mobile phone users will access the Internet from their mobile phone.
And it does not end there. Mobile consumers (and consumption) are here to stay. According to Statista, almost 45% of all e-commerce transactions will be on mobile devices in 2019. By 2021 this figure will rise to almost 54%!
So, unless you are willing to risk almost half of your total business you must make optimizing your business website for mobile consumers an absolute priority! Here is what you need to consider if you really want to be mobile-friendly.
Key Reasons Why Your Website is Not Mobile-Friendly
Page Load Speed
Mobile consumers are in a hurry. They have an urgent need for information, right now! According to Google, people are 5-times more likely to leave your website if it loads too slow. Ideally, your website will load in less than 3 seconds. Less is even better. Here are some free tools to test your site speed.
Page Speed Test Tools
The Google PageSpeed Tester is a free tool to test your site to see how quickly it loads. It will show you the load time for both mobile and desktop viewing. This useful tool that can help you assess if your website needs some work.
GTMetrix is another free tool to test your site page speed. In addition to showing you some basic info regarding your page load speed, page size, number of requests, etc., this tool also provides more in-depth analysis and recommendations for improving your page speed score.
Tools.Pingdom is another free tool to test your site load speed. This tool will not only show you the load time, but also any shortcomings and bottlenecks on your site. This will provide you with specific references and instructions for what you need to fix.
If your website is too slow, there are some things you can do to improve the speed of your web pages. For example, you can optimize your images, compress files, and combine external scripts and style sheets. A professional web developer may have to help you with the latter.
And keep in mind that site and page load speed also depends on your website host. Outdated software, struggling server architecture, and limited bandwidth have a major impact on both page speed and user satisfaction. Therefore you may want to evaluate your business website hosting options as well.
Being mobile-friendly means avoiding overly complex and/or confusing navigation. We recommend you list your most important pages first. Make it easy for viewers to find exactly what they need on the go, and fast.
Keep in mind that in general mobile users are distracted users. Many are multitasking while watching TV, being at work, or out running errands, or even hanging with friends. A mobile-friendly site clearly shows what they need to see and do.
Having image buttons or a complex drop-down navigation doesn’t work so well for mobile use. And any navigation that requires the user to scroll left to right is also a big no-no. This is definitely the place for the by now common “Hamburger Menu.” I am sure you have seen the three bars yourself.
Most often mobile users want quick answers to make a decision and act. Finding a restaurant or making dinner reservations. What movie to see. Booking the next vacation. What groceries to order. You don’t want to make them hunt on the page to do any of that. Make needed items clearly visible.
And here is another thing. Make sure your CTA buttons scale accurately on smartphones and smaller tablets. To be really mobile-friendly this means your buttons get proportionally bigger and spaced further apart. This makes it easier for human fingers to hit them on small screens. Go ahead, try it yourself.
Too Much Content
Mobile consumers are viewing content on smaller screens. And being impatient they will not scroll indefinitely. Therefore, it is important to simplify your page content to include only key facts. The amount of words you can put “above the fold” without users having to scroll is pretty low. Think about what on-the-go users want to know such as contact info, opening hours, products and services. Place this content front and center.
Keep all your content as concise as possible if you want to be mobile-friendly. Consider shortening product descriptions. Condense the company history into bullet points and edit down your products and services pages. Create shorter bios for your team and keep descriptions for different locations zippy as well. Always remember, less is more when it comes to mobile-friendly content.
Confusing design is especially bad when you have too much content, and it is generally not considered to be user-friendly. When it comes to mobile-friendly design big bold elements, and less of them, work a lot better than creating a visually overwhelming experience.
Even if you use them on your desktop site, remove any pop-ups or splash screens. Use the correct image sizes for mobile design and allow your web code to detect the size of the mobile device and resize images to fit the screen. If you must have a slider or slide shows make sure they resize correctly for mobile devices.
The future of mobile is the future of online. It is how people access online content now. David Murphy
Too Many Fonts
This is not about how many different fonts you can use before your visitors get dizzy. This is about providing a mobile-friendly experience for your potential clients and customers. So pick a Google Fonts or Adobe TypeKit font that reflects the design of your website. I recommend a sans-serif for improved readability.
And don’t pick more than two or three at the most. Each font will increase your page load speed. Instead of selecting too many fonts I recommend using different styling such as weight or style to create a variety of additional options.
No Visual Cues
When users are clicking on their smartphone to navigate a website, it is not always easy to see if they have clicked in the right place, or if a page is loading. Providing visual clues to make the experience more intuitive is another way to ensure that your business website is mobile-friendly.
Remember, visual clues themselves need to be bold and easy to see, even in low light or distracting conditions. A very effective approach is to have elements change or revert colors on swipe or click. This involves no images that might slow down your site, making it very mobile-friendly.
Not Tested on Mobile
I am always surprised that some of our new clients have actually never seen their own website on a mobile device. It makes it even harder for them to understand why mobile-friendly web design is so important for any business.
Since mobile devices like tablets and smartphones themselves operate a bit different from a keyboard or mouse it is a good idea to test on mobile devices. Test to ensure that any website forms function on a mobile device. This includes contact forms, estimates, order forms, etc. You should also check to ensure all links and calls to action function properly.
Not Optimized for Mobile SEO
If you want to come across as really mobile-friendly it is not enough to optimize the desktop version of your business website for search engines. You need to make sure your mobile-friendly site is optimized for SEO as well. If people are googling “Electrician in Seattle” because their lights just went out and sparks are coming from the electrical panel, you want your business website to come up on top of their search engine results page.
Making Your Website Truly Mobile-Friendly
And there you have it, folks. If you already have a mobile-friendly site, meaning it will look and function awesome on your iPhone X, you should be good. And if you notice a few things on our list, don’t panic. But you should consider fixing them before too long.
Fix any low-hanging fruit first. Cutting down on content by developing a better is usually a good way to start. Make sure your CTAs stand out and are easy to follow on a small screen. Use correctly sized and scaled images to cut down on page load time.
Other obstacles to having a mobile-friendly business website can take a little longer to overcome. That includes optimizing your site for mobile SEO and potentially performing some local SEO as well. Page speed optimization can be another time-consuming process. And depending on your existing host you may need to consider a better hosting option.
Usually moving your site to a new host definitely is a more complex process, and most business owners should consult IT professionals before attempting that on their own.
Remember, if your mobile visitors don’t have a truly mobile-friendly experience and they will go elsewhere. And speaking of that, have you checked your competitors’ websites on your smartphone recently? Maybe you should.
Of course, if your business website is still stuck in the 2000s you have a bit more work ahead of you. In that case, you may need a complete website redesign instead of simply an update of your existing one. Here are a few ways you can tell which approach will provide the best results in your case.
Confused About Mobile-Friendly Web Design?
Our innovative mobile-first web design team can help you develop just about any type of website. We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-friendly websites to meet (almost) any budget. From designing new WordPress websites, redesigning or updating an existing website, building responsive e-Commerce websites to creating a multilingual online presence for your business we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever more demanding mobile consumer. Why not get started by requesting your free web design estimate?
And if you are still not sure how you can benefit from a mobile-friendly website, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to implement mobile-friendly web design strategies in your online presence. It is one of our specialties, after all!
Is Your Website Mobile-First?
Do you have a mobile-friendly web site for your business or product brand? If so, how has this helped your brand meet its business objectives? If not, what is the biggest obstacle you face getting a mobile-friendly online presence? Do you have other problems with your business website design? Please feel free to let us know so our audience can benefit as well and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our post with your audience!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Schmidt
Co-Founder / CXO