Do I need a mobile friendly website?

If you have a website but it’s a bit old, probably.

Or perhaps you haven’t got a website but are thinking of getting one, definitely.

Here’s why.

Firstly let’s clarify what a mobile friendly website is, in the trade it’s called a responsive website. Responsive means your website can be used easily on a number of different devices, websites, tablets (like ipads) and mobile phones.

Why do you need a mobile friendly website?

Got it – why is that important?

It’s important because more and more people are using tablets and mobile phones to browse the web. In fact, according to Google, searchers are now using their mobile phones more than desktop computers. If they can’t use your website properly on their phone they won’t hang around long. Say goodbye to half of your potential customers.

Really?

Ok perhaps that is a bit dramatic, and I should caveat that mobile browsing does vary from industry to industry. ADMAN works for a wide variety of clients including hairdressers, hotels, training companies, interior design and software companies. The latter is in the Business to Business (B2B) sector, people are searching in the office so web browsing is more desktop driven. But when you get to Business to Consumer (B2C), some of my clients do already have more visitors to their websites using mobiles. Across all sectors mobile usage is on the increase, so even if mobile browsing is not so relevant for your business now it soon will be.

Now that’s just the people already using your website. If your website isn’t responsive, Google isn’t likely to rank you for searches performed on mobile devices. Back in April 2015, after an uncharacteristic pre-warning, they officially changed the way they rank results on their search engine based on a website’s performance on mobile devices. They even provided a tool to help businesses check if their websites were mobile friendly or not. Try it here for your site. Though the change in search rankings wasn’t as a dramatic as the industry thought it might be, I did quickly see some significant increases in rankings for some of my clients with responsive sites. For those without responsive sites I can’t tell you there was a sudden drop but there is evidence of some starting to lose their positions and the industry predict it is only going to become more and more important as mobile usage continues to increase. I should add that you also need to start thinking about browsing devices of the future, like watches.

What should I do now?

Don’t panic! As I said above I do have some clients with non-responsive websites, who are in sectors with high mobile usage and they are still getting a strong amount of visitors from Google. There has been a bit of scaremongering in the media including the phrase ‘mobilegeddon’ being bandied around. I would advise getting some good advice from someone you trust on what the situation is for your industry. If you have Google Analytics set up on your website (if you haven’t you really should) you can find out what devices people are using to browse your website, you can also use the Google tool and lastly give your website a try on a popular smart phone like an iphone or Samsung. Even if the Google tool shows you have lots of mobile issues you may find that customers can find their way round your site easily enough, for now.

Once you have made the decision to go responsive it is typically easier, more practical and cost efficient to redevelop the website as opposed to adding a mobile site. It is possible, if you have an old site, that you might have other issues building up; like problems updating it, site slowness or poor site navigation, and the need for responsiveness is the final straw forcing you to take action. Either way I wouldn’t advise you rush to the nearest web designer. Take time to think about what your new website needs to achieve and make sure you get some good advice from someone with experience in web design and digital marketing.

As it happens I’m project managing a number of new websites at the moment, both first time websites and responsive led upgrades. I’d be happy to do some quick analysis on your website and sector and give you some free advice. Please contact me via this page.

Finally, here are some further articles you might find interesting:

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