Published On: Fri, Mar 15th, 2019

Is Your Website Turning Smartphone Users Away?

In today’s digital world, many people use their smartphone as their sole access to the internet. Smartphone companies take advantage of this to produce and unveil flagship devices that are innovative and groundbreaking every year. Just this February alone, Huawei and Samsung officially announced the launch of smartphones that cost thousands of dollars to the excitement of the public.

photo/ Mashiro Momo

In many parts of the world, owning a PC is a luxury but having a smartphone is a necessity. The proof is in the numbers. According to a recent survey, there are 4.2 billion estimated Internet users. Out of this number, almost 3 billion of them use a smartphone and only about 1 billion access the internet using a computer. This means that if your site is not optimised for mobile, you are alienating smartphone users and already losing out on a huge chunk of traffic.

What is mobile optimisation?

The shift from computers to smartphones is occurring faster than expected. Mobile optimisation is the process of ensuring that visitors who access your site from mobile devices have an experience optimised for the device. Mobile optimisation takes a look at site structure and design, page speed and more in order to make sure you are not mistakenly turning mobile visitors away.

More and more customers use mobile phones or tablets while they’re on the go. In fact, mobile digital media time is now higher at 51% compared to desktop use at 42%. That is to say mobile users have outgrown computer users. Therefore, if your site is not optimised for mobile, you are losing out on millions of customers.

Why should you optimise your site for mobile?

A study published by Google showed that web users spend 80% of the time on their smartphones and 67% on their laptop. The growing number of mobile web users alone can turn your website into a goldmine if you optimise it for mobile visitors. Some of the benefits of mobile optimisation include:

  • You will get more business. Having a mobile-responsive website increases conversion by 11.7% as against 10.7% of the desktop-only website.
  • A whopping 78% of mobile searches result in an offline purchase. This means having a mobile-responsive website is quite lucrative especially for e-commerce businesses.
  • It gives you a competitive advantage over your competition as search engines will rank you higher.
  • A mobile-responsive website has a much lower maintenance cost

Ways to optimise your website for mobile devices

Here are the six steps you can take to optimise your site for Google’s mobile first index:

Speed up everything

Ensure your website loads quickly – no more than three seconds. 50% of mobile users will abandon a page if it doesn’t load in 10 seconds and 60% of them will not return to that site. Shoppers on mobile devices make up to 30% of retailers’ site traffic so a fast website optimised for mobile users is crucial to a good user experience.

If your website does not load fast enough, you would be losing a huge chunk of potential customers. This translates to high bounce rate. The higher your bounce rate and the longer the time it takes your web pages to load, the more damaging it is for your search engine optimisation (SEO).

Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP), is already dominant in e-commerce results so it is pertinent you enable it for your site. AMP is meant to strip mobile pages of all extra features and focus on only the necessary details.

By optimising for AMP, you create a duplicate layer of your content just for mobile devices. This amplifies your content and gets you more mobile traffic. As you enable AMP, also remember to use bigger fonts that are easy to read on smartphones. Use images and copy sparingly, conveying only the information you need.

Mobile Friendly Design

Now more than ever, it is imperative that your website has a mobile responsive design. This is because search engines give pre-eminence to websites with mobile-friendly designs in search engine pages. Responsive design is the most effective way to personalise each end user’s experience while also minimising HTML code on your end.

Therefore, if your web design is not mobile-responsive, you may rank lower on search engine pages. More importantly, mobile users are likely not to bother with your website and your business as a whole if your website is not mobile-friendly.

Choose a reliable web host

Choosing the right web host for your site is one of the most important decisions there is. As earlier pointed out, speed is a vital factor in mobile optimisation. If your host does not offer adequate speed, all efforts to optimise your website will fall short. You need to choose a host and a plan that can guarantee high performance with minimal downtime.

There are some good web hosting options for Kiwis such as Go Daddy, Host Gator and Openhost. They offer different packages which ultimately increase your speed and security, both of which are major features of a mobile-optimised site.

Use best site navigation practices

A website that is confusing to navigate is never appealing to mobile users. Plan your site layout. Keep things as streamlined as possible so your visitors will have a better experience when they are on your site. Avoid creating a cluttered site with confusing options. Ensure the key information is available on the home page.

Your site should be organised in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing and professional at the same time. It should have breadcrumb navigation to enhance the way users find their way around. Also, use headlines, list titles, bullets and paragraph headers to arrange your service page.

Track your Mobile traffic

An important yet often overlooked feature of mobile optimisation is checking mobile traffic. By setting up mobile metrics in your dashboard, you can track the specific actions of mobile versus desktop traffic and make adjustments accordingly. Also, it can help you create a better user experience for the teeming number of your smartphone users.

For instance, tracking your mobile traffic can let you know whether the majority of your mobile users are iPhone or Android users. You can take a look at how the website works on either of them and whether it has bugs via that system or come to the conclusion that you will develop an app for the bigger audience.

Knowing where your traffic is coming from and which of them is converting more can help optimise your strategy and further improve conversions.

It is important to look closely at how your mobile users interact with your website so you can find out if there are any significant concerns which need to be addressed. Google Analytics has the ability to separate out desktop, mobile and tablet traffic so you can look into important statistics pertaining to them all. Measuring the traffic and conversions can help you optimise your site for all these different devices and increase conversions.

In Conclusion

Smartphone use is swiftly overtaking laptop use. This alone is enough to persuade you to invest time and patience in optimising your website for mobile to improve engagement and increase traffic. The sooner you start optimising your website for mobile users, the sooner your profits will increase. It will also ensure everyone gets the chance to enjoy your awesome website regardless of the device they are viewing it on. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Author: James Cummings

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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