Seems like a no-brainer, right? While the answer to this statement is evident to those involved in the digital marketing world, not all clients have quite grasped the concept of the necessity for a mobile-friendly (responsive) version of their website. You’ve probably been faced with the classic, “why do I need two websites?” question. Let’s answer this definitively once and for all.
What does a “mobile-friendly website” mean?
A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed to automatically “respond” to display correctly on any mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The primary objective is that it’s optimised for seamless user experience – gives the user the information they want, quickly and effectively; this plays a pivotal role in the success of your business.
The evolution of mobile devices
Cut back to the early 1990s; we marvelled at the magnificence of the wireless phone. It had the capability to make calls and even introduced us to a messaging service called SMS.
Now, some 25 years later, this communication device has become ‘smart’, boasting an artificial intelligence with intuitive learning capabilities. Instead of being an accessory, it’s become an integral part of our lifestyle. It’s said that “the only constant in the world is change.” Adaptation to this ‘change’ is the only way your business is going to survive
Increase in mobile internet usage
One of the golden rules that marketers tell clients is “if you want to reach your audience, you have to be visible wherever they are.” And where are they? On their mobile devices. Studies have shown that we spend approximately eight hours on our devices every day; that’s a third of a day, virtually an eight-hour window to ‘display’ your products and/or services to prospective customers directly, but it doesn’t end there.
Data doesn’t sleep. By using the right marketing channels such as email marketing campaigns, you can schedule content to be distributed to your audience database at any point in the day.
Okay, let’s get a bit more technical. Your website needs to be mobile friendly because
Google loves mobile pages
In 2015, Google implemented a change in its algorithm that prioritised the ranking of mobile-friendly websites over those that weren’t optimised for mobile. The search engine giant announced, “Starting April 21 , we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimised for their devices.” According to its Webmaster Central Blog.
In a nutshell, from 2015 to present, websites that were (and still are) optimised for mobile, have extensively greater visibility in search engine results pages. All start-ups must consider this when drawing up their financial business plan. Set aside a realistic percentage of your capital for mobile-friendly website development.
A streamlined user experience is non-negotiable
Web developers will tell you that access to so much information can be a double-edged sword because user sentiment and the consequent behaviour has changed dramatically over the last decade. Today, people not only want to be able to access information via mobile devices, but they also want it to load quickly. Neil Patel explains that speed is an integral part of designing web pages. Data from KISSmetrics shows that “about 40% of people will abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load.”
Here are some suggestions from Google about other factors that contribute to a beneficial user experience.
- Readability, relevance and content value
- Website structure
- Responsive design
- Non-intrusive ads
- Meeting users’ expectations
Content optimised for mobile devices is the new ‘king’ in the digital marketing realm. It needs to be clear and concise while still communicating the message that leads to the intended call-to-action (CTA). When it comes to ranking organically on Google, well-written, appropriate content is critical to your return on investment (ROI).
Its Importance for eCommerce companies
As mentioned earlier, users want relevant information delivered quickly. But this isn’t enough. Once on the website, the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) will largely dictate cart abandonment and conversion rates. eCommerce is the industry in which the importance of mobile-friendliness can be viewed and analysed from a holistic perspective.
The way we shop online has changed. eCommerce platforms are continually battling for market-share supremacy. It’s seen as a cutthroat industry, but when you drill down to the basics, the companies that remain at the top of Google’s SERPs have an attitude that puts every puzzle piece into place: they cater for the customers’ needs as well as understand and anticipate their behavioural trends.
In a previous article, Identifying & Adapting to New Consumer Behaviour Trends, we discuss this fundamental knowledge in-depth. Here’s an excerpt that suggests “a media mix on which businesses should focus their budgets to satisfy present-day user behaviour.”
Increase: Digital, e.g. official media, short video, social media presence, news and info sites.
Maintain: Over-the-top (OTT), e.g. On-demand video streaming services.
Minimise Out-of-home (OOH) media and advertising, e.g. cinema, airport.
As you can see, increasing budget spend for ‘Digital’ marketing, which includes technically sound, up to date mobile-friendly websites, was recommended – and this is going to grow exponentially alongside the inevitable advances in technology.
The salient conclusion to take from this article is, like we said, if you want to reach your audience, you need to be where they are – on mobile devices. Therefore, your website must be mobile-friendly and optimised to ensure it is visible on Google.
If you’re not sure where to start, it’s worthwhile consulting a reputable marketing agency whose experts can assist you in creating an all-inclusive, conversion-winning marketing strategy.