By: Lionel Bryant
Mobile optimization is an important topic for web developers. No matter how good a website looks on a computer, you’ll lose a big chunk of your potential customer base if it’s difficult to navigate on a smartphone. Here are five key reasons why you should take the time to optimize your website for mobile.
You Can Stand Out From the Pack
The world of mobile-friendly websites is growing slowly despite the demand for pages that are easy to navigate on a mobile device. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group revealed that the success rate for mobile users accessing both full and mobile sites was 59% in 2009. By 2011, this had increased only marginally to 62%. The success rate for accessing full websites alone is even lower, at 58%. At this rate, mobile usability won’t catch up to desktop usability’s 84% success rate until 2026.
If you create an easily accessible mobile website now, you’ll stand out from the many competitors who are still languishing with full sites that are difficult to navigate. The easiest way to optimize a web site for mobile use is simply to create a separate mobile site, rather than altering the full site for better mobile use.
You Can Highlight Mobile Features
Engage your customers in different ways depending on how they access your site. A customer on a mobile site might be right in the store where they can use mobile coupons or enter a product’s code for more information. On a computer, you have a larger screen to work with and may want to include more elaborate design features. By making your full site and mobile site distinctly different, you can offer the best experience possible to every visitor.
Always remember to include a link to the mobile site from the full web page. Browsers often send mobile visitors to the full site by default. If the full site offers a feature you can’t get on the mobile one, include a link back to the full page from the mobile site so users have the option of navigating the larger page on their phones.
Your Site Will Rank Higher with Google
There is a direct correlation between the availability of a mobile optimized version of a site and the page’s ranking with Google. When a user does a mobile search for a web page, Google gives higher rankings to sites that are mobile optimized. Mobile search volume increases an average of 130% each year. Retail searches increased 181% in 2011. Mobile searches grew 29% in the first quarter of 2011 alone.
An increasing number of Internet users are turning to their phones for web browsing. T-mobile cell phone reviews often focus on speed and ease of use when browsing online. Sites designed for mobile use can expect big returns for their efforts.
Customers are More Likely to Return
Google isn’t the only one rewarding mobile sites for their responsive design. Customers respond favorably to mobile optimized sites as well, rewarding them with their loyalty. Fifty-one percent of consumers are more likely to make an online purchase from a mobile optimized site. Sixty-one percent of users are unlikely to return to a page if it’s not mobile optimized, according to Tech Crunch.
There’s a lot of competition on the Internet and Internet users can usually find what they’re looking for somewhere else if your site doesn’t deliver the experience they’re after. Give them a functional experience that provides everything they’re looking for and then some, and they’ll come back again and again.
It’s a Simple Alternative to an App
Developing an app is an expensive project. You can offer users an experience that’s almost identical simply by optimizing your website for mobile visitors. The benefit of a mobile site over an app is there’s no download required. If users have limited room on their phone for applications, they can still enjoy your features through a mobile optimized site.
If you don’t have something really unique to offer in the way of an app, you may find that your efforts are more valuable when focused solely on a functional mobile site. For example, the app and mobile site for Facebook are nearly identical but the app often takes longer to load. A well-designed mobile site can beat an app easily.
By 2015, more people will likely access the Internet via a mobile device than a wireline network according to the IDC Worldwide New Media Market Model. Keep up with this trend by optimizing your site for mobile access now.
Lionel Bryant is a resident of Tampa, FL. Recently graduating from the University of South Florida, where he received his degree in Marketing with a minor in English. He enjoys traveling, playing sports, and listening to music. Considered adventurous and spontaneous, Lionel is always interested in trying something new.