If you are looking for ways to bring more attention to your website, going mobile can help. Here is why your business should have a mobile-friendly website.
According to one report, Americans spent almost a third of their waking hours on mobile devices in 2021.
This number was a major increase from 2019, given our abundance of free time during pandemic lockdowns. While it’s hard to say whether this recent spike will remain stable or return to pre-pandemic levels, it’s clear that smartphones are a huge part of our lives.
For brands both large and small, it’s hard to ignore the ramifications of this. Given how much time your audience spends staring at their phones, putting your best foot forward is crucial.
That’s where a mobile-friendly website comes in.
Mobile-friendly websites offer an exceptional user experience to your site’s visitors. Designed around smaller screens and with fingers in mind, these sites make it easy for users to search, navigate, and convert on your site.
Of course, if you’re on the fence about the cost and effort of this investment, you may be wondering whether these sites are worth all the hype. After all, do you need a responsive site? Can’t you just offer a simple desktop version?
If you’re not sure whether or not to take the plunge, we’ve compiled a list of the top reasons to consider a responsive site. Let’s take a look at what these sites entail, as well as the key benefits of mobile website design.
What Is a Mobile-Friendly Website?
Before we jump in, let’s get a basic definition out of the way.
When we say “mobile-friendly,” we mean that a website is accessible to mobile devices by design. No matter the size of the screen, the website will adjust to fit it well and showcase its information in a way that’s easy to read and understand. Elements should scale up or down as needed, without the user having to zoom in or out.
Note that we’re also talking about a single website: unlike the days when businesses used to build a desktop and mobile-ready version of their site, today’s responsive websites can handle any device with ease.
Not sure whether or not your site already fits this definition? Google has a handy mobile-friendly test tool to help you see whether or not your website meets its standards.
In addition to the factors above, there are plenty of other benefits that come with a mobile-friendly site, as we’ll discuss.
Your Customers Are Already on Their Phones
If there’s one thing every entrepreneur knows, it’s that you have to make an effort to be wherever your customers are. And these days, your customers are on their phones!
According to Google, over half of all web traffic comes from mobile search. This makes it more crucial than ever for businesses to create responsive websites that keep up with customers’ browsing habits.
If you’re on the fence, keep in mind that searchers are poised to grow more mobile-focused in years to come. Today, experts estimate that around 2 billion people are using their smartphones alone to access the internet. By 2025, around 72% of all internet users will browse using a smartphone.
In other words, you can’t afford to let mobile search be an afterthought. Any business hoping to make itself visible to its audience needs to offer a great mobile experience. This is true regardless of the target demographic.
A poor mobile experience, on the other hand, means that you’ll miss out on opportunities to attract your customers where they are.
Your Website Will Look Good on All Devices
Though most of us connect the term “mobile-friendly” with cell phone usage, don't forget that desktops and phones aren’t the only players in the game. Around 1.28 billion people worldwide use tablets for searching, from Apple iPads to the latest e-readers. These devices may not be as prevalent as their smaller smartphone relatives, but it’s still a good idea to make sure your website looks great across the board.
Responsive sites look great on both smartphones and tablets. What's more, they even look great on desktop. Users who resize their windows for a split-screen view will find that your business's site offers a layout that shifts to fit.
With readable fonts, simple navigation, and optimized images, your mobile site will be easy on the eyes no matter the device.
Google Prefers Mobile-Friendly Websites
For any brand investing in SEO, this is one of the biggest factors when it comes to taking the plunge on a mobile-friendly site.
As it continues to tweak its search algorithm, Google focuses on providing relevant information and a great user experience. Because mobile-friendly sites do offer that user experience, Google now rewards websites with mobile-friendly design by ranking them higher. In doing so, it penalizes websites without responsive design, leaving them lower in the rankings regardless of the relevance of their content.
This mobile-first indexing is crucial to keep in mind as you work to improve SEO for websites. Over 25% of searchers click on the first search result, and few of them ever make it past the first page and onto the second. In other words, if Google ranks your website lower because it isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a huge percentage of online traffic.
As we’ll discuss below, Google looks specifically at the website loading speed, as well as other factors, when ranking.
Responsive Sites Create an Exceptional User Experience
Beyond Google’s preference for mobile-friendly sites, it’s worth considering that your target audience will have the exact same preference.
Non-responsive websites can be difficult and even frustrating to use on a small screen.
Complex navigation can be difficult to use. Text may come in hard-to-read fonts that are too small to see at a glance. Users may have to pinch and zoom in to access different parts of the screen.
If you’re lucky, users will stick around for a few seconds to try to make it work. Often, they’ll tap away and keep searching until they find one of your competitors with an optimized site instead. After all, over half of searchers say they wouldn’t even consider buying from a brand with a poorly designed mobile site.
In essence, not having a mobile-friendly website means you’re helping the competition!
On the other hand, responsive websites are an easy way to build trust with your target audience. Your website reflects your brand, and a sleek, responsive mobile site says a lot about your approach to business. Searchers who see that a brand has taken the time to invest in a solid user experience are more likely to stick around.
You’ll Have More Social Media Opportunities
No matter your industry, social media can play a major role in your brand’s success. It’s what allows you to share your story, products, and services with your audience on the platforms where they spend the most time. There’s a reason the vast majority of brands are online these days, and why more businesses than ever invest in social media marketing.
However, if you haven’t set up a mobile-friendly website, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. No matter how much time or money you invest in your social media marketing, your audience may not want to engage with your content once they tap through and find that the link you shared goes to a site with a poor design.
Users post, like, and share content that offers them an optimal experience. If your brand doesn’t do that, users won’t want to engage or share your business’s website content with friends!
Creating a responsive site makes it easy for people to jump from a social media post and onto your site without lowering the quality of their experience.
You’ll Keep Up With the Competition
We’ve hinted at this above, but it’s worth mentioning as its own factor. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you’re clearing the way for your competition to step ahead.
The majority of top-ranked websites—around 80%—are mobile-friendly. Responsive sites have become the standard. Unless you’re already ranking well for very niche content, the chances of you creeping up in the rankings to take the first position are slim.
Worse, the gap between responsive and non-responsive site design is likely to widen over time. As more and more users search via mobile devices, Google is more likely to prioritize this search form, further tweaking its algorithm to give preference to quality responsive sites. If you’re stuck in the past with a non-responsive site, the rest of the pack will leave you behind.
Faster Loading Times Are Essential
It’s safe to say that most of us have shorter attention spans than ever these days. With the advent of mobile phones, we have the world at our fingertips and a constant stream of content to keep us entertained.
Of course, this shorter attention span also presents another way your brand needs to keep up with the pack: faster loading times.
A slow loading speed can lead users to grow annoyed and navigate away from a page. If enough visitors start doing this, your site will start to see a loss of traffic as well as fewer conversions and sales. When faced with a slow-loading site, most people will hit the back button and seek out a competitor’s page instead.
Google notes that bounce rates start to rise in as little as a single second of loading time. As your website’s load time goes toward ten seconds, the chances of a visitor bouncing spikes to a whopping 123%. The message is clear: users prefer brands whose content they can access fast.
Your users, of course, aren’t the only ones who prefer a faster site. As we mentioned above, Google’s algorithm shows a clear preference for faster loading times in terms of search result rankings. If your site fails a simple website speed test, you can expect your position in the search results to reflect your low load speed.
In general, mobile-friendly sites are faster than their desktop-only relatives.
However, you can boost the speed of your mobile site even faster by keeping your design lightweight, using fewer images and custom fonts, cutting down on redirects, and similar steps.
Modern Mobile-Friendly Websites Are Cost-Effective
Once upon a time, creating a mobile-friendly site used to be expensive. Because brands often had to build two sites at once—a mobile-friendly option and a desktop option—the cost was doubled.
However, today’s responsive websites look great on any screen, from smartphones to desktops. This means that you’ll only need to invest in a single site.
It’s also worth noting that mobile-friendly websites are often cheaper than a popular alternative, a branded app. Some businesses consider mobile apps as an alternative to creating a new responsive site. This is especially true if they already have a functional desktop-only site.
However, app creation can be an expensive process. It also requires users to seek out and download the finished product from a third-party store. By contrast, mobile users can access your website at any time from their browser, and the finished product is great for your SEO.
Mobile-Friendly Websites Boost Sales and Conversion Rates
With all the talk of connectivity and faster load speeds, it’s hard to ignore one crucial perk of a mobile-friendly website: more sales and conversions.
It’s safe to say that many of us are still clinging to our desktops when it comes to making purchases. In fact, research suggests that conversion rates are around three times higher for desktops than for smartphones.
However, the last thing you’ll want to do is underestimate the power of mobile phones when it comes to research. With a speedy research assistant in their pockets at all times, your audience can look into a product or service they’re interested in even if they’re on the go. In small, stolen moments throughout a busy day, a searcher can check for details that influence their buying decisions.
If your brand can’t take advantage of these micro-moments via a responsive site, you’re falling behind. From everyday purchases to big-ticket items, your audience is using their phones to check product details, reviews, guides, and price tags.
Of course, it’s clear that searchers do make conversions and purchases on their smartphones as well. Users who fill out a form, subscribe to email lists, buy a product, or follow your other CTAs can do so on mobile—provided you make the conversion easy for them. Even better, as consumers start using their smartphones more and more often, a responsive site allows you to keep up with the growing mobile shopping trend.
It’s Easier for Customers to Get in Touch
Smartphones are powerful tools for modern online searching and purchases, but they’re also great for any brand hoping to connect the old-fashioned way.
It's true that smartphone users are more often using their devices to jump online than to make a call. However, connecting with users via a responsive site is a great way to encourage that one-on-one contact.
When searchers find it easy to navigate through your site, they’re more likely to reach out to connect with your brand. This, of course, is easier than ever when they’re surfing with their phones.
Creating a clear CTA around phone calls is a great way to prompt users to reach out. You can also take advantage of click-to-call buttons to make the connection easier.
Want to encourage an in-person visit instead? If you want users to seek out your brick-and-mortar store, you’ll have an easier time guiding users to it with a mobile-friendly site.
Every modern smartphone comes equipped with GPS features. This means that including a link to your location on a service like Google Maps can help users find their way to you fast.
It’s also worth noting that if your business is focused on attracting more foot traffic, a responsive site offers a key advantage there as well. All they’ll need to do is click on the link and begin the navigation!
You’ll Boost Your Local SEO
When it comes to online searches, the search results vary according to the context. One of the contextual factors in play is a searcher’s location, provided they allow the search engine to access it. In terms of local SEO, this can be a huge advantage to small businesses.
If you’re searching for restaurants from your desktop, for example, Google will share nearby results, even if you haven’t specified an exact location in your query. However, if you’re searching on your smartphone while you’re out of town, Google will offer up a different set of results based on your new location.
Provided you have a responsive website that Google deems worthy of appearing in its top rankings, your website will appear when users search for related goods and services whenever they’re nearby. Capturing on-the-go browsing in this way can mean a boost in local conversions and foot traffic.
Without a responsive site, on the other hand, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to reach nearby searchers looking for what you offer.
It Makes Your Website Future-Proof
As we’ve hinted above, the world of mobile search is developing fast. Five to ten years ago, far fewer people were converting and buying on their phones, and today, brands can’t afford to ignore mobile users. Five to ten years from now, mobile expectations may shift even further.
Improving your site’s functionality today can help you keep up with the competition for now, but it can also help prepare you for future trends. As more and more users switch to mobile searching and conversions, your brand will be poised to keep up for years to come.
How to Approach a Responsive Website Design
Now that we’ve covered the huge benefits of building a responsive site, you may be wondering what it means to optimize your site for mobile. In truth, optimizing your site means focusing on many of the principles we’ve discussed above, using a user-friendly approach that makes their journey to conversion a breeze. Let’s take a quick look to recap what you’ll need.
Use a Mobile-First Approach
Smartphone users are looking for a fast, streamlined experience in every mobile website interaction. Make sure you’re giving it to them by focusing on your page load speed.
You’ll also want to consider your website aesthetic. A simple, sophisticated design is always preferable to complex, cluttered navigation. Compress your images, pare down additional elements, design your pop-ups for mobile, and focus on a single CTA.
Listen to Your Audience
The best way to figure out what your specific audience wants from their mobile experience is to listen to them! Check online reviews, send out surveys, or request feedback in your email newsletter. Another way to listen to them is via your analytics: higher bounce rates are a clear sign that you’re offering a poor mobile experience.
Use the Right Tools
The choices you make on the backend influence your site’s performance. From choosing a reliable web host to getting your hands on responsive WordPress themes and plugins, take the time to consider how your tools factor into your final product.
Invest in Your Future With a Mobile-Friendly Website
Our online world is always changing, but there’s one thing that stays the same: investing in a mobile-friendly website is a safe bet for any brand. These fast and powerful websites make it easier than ever for your audience to browse, navigate, and convert without the frustration of an older site. No matter what your brand offers, a responsive site is the best way to keep up with the competition both now and in the future!
If optimizing a website isn’t your team’s strong suit, we’ve got you covered. Our team here at Binary Glyph has a wealth of experience with mobile-friendly website building and design across industries, and we’re happy to help! Whether you’re looking to upgrade an older site or launch a new one, our small business web design makes it easy to access the powerful features your site needs.
To learn more or to book a call, reach out to us today.