According to research from Strategy Analytics, half the world’s entire population owns a smartphone. Some 4 billion people use a smartphone today. Google’s numbers show that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are also likely to be present.
Next to that, having a mobile-friendly website is one of today’s major influence on search ranking for Google. The world’s largest search engine has been heavily favoring mobile-friendly websites since 2015, started indexing mobile sites in March 2018, and conducted mobile-first indexing since 2019. Going forward, Google will only continue to raise the bar.
What does it mean for a website to be mobile-friendly?
So, with the smartphone being the most successful computer of all time, it is imperative for your online presence to include a well-functioning, mobile-friendly website. But what does it mean to have a mobile-friendly website?
When you visit a website on a desktop browser, the website will most likely fit quite well on your screen. But if it is not mobile-friendly, the same website site can be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. You will notice that the website is not adapting to the right width and height of mobile screens and requires visitors to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Visitors can find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site.
Let’s have a closer look at the example above. If you focus on the mobile device and tablet, you will notice that the website is out of proportion and isn’t adjusting to the size of the smaller screens. This frustrates website viewers. The page layout is neither structured nor clear, and it is cumbersome to navigate. As a result, potential customers will likely seek out a competitor’s mobile-friendly website for their services or products. Usually, visitors decide in around 5 seconds if they want to stay or leave. A non-mobile-friendly website could even quicken that decision.
Have you ever analysed your website statistics using Google Analytics or any other analytics program? If you have such statistics available, let’s have a look at which devices your visitors use when they visit your website. You probably must conclude that mobile use of your website is on the rise and there has been more visits from mobile devices than desktops for some time now.
Difference between responsive and mobile-friendly
Until now we talked about mobile-friendly as a website that is adapting itself to the screen. When this happens, it’s also known as a ‘responsive’ website. A responsive website is the most common and used mobile-friendly website. The major benefit is that you only have to design one website that can both suit the desktop as mobile user. Because the website design is adaptive, it fits and will be displayed correctly on even the smallest screens.
However, in some cases, a company wants to have a fully customised mobile website. If this is the case, a new website can be created to only suit the mobile user. At that point, you basically have two different websites. One is used only for desktop users and the other only for mobiles ones.
User Experience is equally important
Let’s get back to Google. Google has always been about suiting the needs of internet users. In order to be relevant in today’s mobile era, Google announced that owning a mobile-friendly website is a highly positive and heavy-weighted search rank factor. Especially for mobile searchers.
Google, and other search engines, highly prefer websites that are mobile-friendly but also determine the website User Experience (UX) by it. In many cases, the UX goes hand in hand with a mobile-friendly web design. An example of an optimal UX is when a visitor visits your website, and items like links, images and other content are good readable and well structured and presented.
The mobile future is now!
So, it is safe to conclude that mobile friendliness is critical to your business. Whether you’re blogging, working on the website for a tourism destination, or selling products to potential clients, make sure that visitors can have a good experience on your site when they’re visiting from their mobile devices. You will quickly see the rewards, with more conversions from your website and a higher position in Google.
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? You can do a Mobile-Friendly Test to assess a website. It only takes a few minutes to establish how easily a visitor can use your website on a mobile device.
If the result shows you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you should make this one of your most important agenda items as soon as possible. To help inspire any mobile website design changes you’ll be making, Hubspot created a list of 21 companies who really nailed their mobile web experience.