Make it mobile

Businesses can no longer afford to avoid a website strategy that considers mobile devices.

Many studies have shown that phones and tablets are regularly used to access websites but if the sites have not been optimised for mobiles, they can be difficult and annoying to use.

And now there’s an even more compelling reason to optimise your website for mobile devices: Google has changed the way it ranks search results. It now favours websites that are adapted for mobiles. It means potential customers might not even find your site because it’s buried pages back in the search results.

Steve Crough, founder of digital agency We Are Dando, says sites that are not responsive to mobile devices typically have a high bounce rate and lower engagement rate. In other words, visitors check just one page and don’t stay long.

And, he says, the number of sites that are not truly responsive is still "very high".

"Ordinarily, you’d see 40 to 60 per cent of traffic coming from mobiles. If you look at your analytics and compare your bounce rate against users that are coming to the site via mobile, you’ll generally see you’ve got a high bounce rate from those users because they’re not getting the experience they expected. And they’re only a click or two away from another site that’s easy to use, easy to read and easier to engage with," says Crough.

"It’s particularly the case if there’s a call to action, where you need to fill out a form or complete a purchase. It’s far easier to do that on a responsive mobile site than one that’s not."

It’s not a big deal to fix the problem, says Crough.

"You just need to work with your provider or in-house team to ensure that the site is redesigned with mobile users in mind. It’s the same site, same content management system. The designer will have different break points within the design so you customise the experience based on the device it’s going onto.

"So you might have more information available on the tablet than on a mobile phone, because it’s a smaller screen size, for example. It’s about adaptive design. It’s adapting the content based on the understanding of how the user is going to engage via the device they’re on," he says.

It’s a two-stage process. First, it’s about deciding how you’ll communicate with customers and potential customers using different devices. What messages are most important in each case, what information will be important to them at the time they’re using their phone or what will they be trying to do on your website.

When your engagement strategy is set, it’s over to the designer to make it work visually.

And it’s about quality too, says Crough. "The website is the major touch point of a brand. So when someone jumps onto the site and it presents in a responsive manner on their mobile, it needs to replicate the quality they’d expect on the full site."

In other words…

  • You’re probably losing business if your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices
  • A change by Google means that websites not adapted for mobile use will not be placed highly in search rankings
  • Mobile versions are your website form another part of your engagement strategy

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