"Mobile Friendly" Is Now "Mobile First"
The Sprocket Report
This is an update to "’Mobile’ Means ‘Move’” dated 12/10/2012.
Just a few years ago, folks were on the cutting edge if their websites were mobile-responsive. Today, websites are designed from the start to be viewed mainly on mobile devices.
In 2015, Google announced that mobile-friendly websites would be preferred over those that weren’t, seriously affecting the search engine optimization of everyone. Since then, mobile website usage has only increased.
It’s not a surprising trend, if you think of your own habits. Every day, we go online to check a shop’s business hours, look for a place to eat, send a last-minute gift, read the news and perform many more tasks – all while attending a meeting, sitting in a car or grabbing a cup of coffee. Some folks grab the phone before getting out of bed in the morning. Others swipe around during the evening’s TV time or the kids’ sporting practice.
Have you looked at your own business website on a mobile device? Is it easy to read and move around? Remember that not only do you want to look good to humans, you also need approval from Google’s algorithms or your search engine ranking will be dinged. You can see your website as Google sees it with their mobile-friendly website tool.
Because mobile devices have a narrower viewing window than a desktop computer, the structure of your website may need to change. There are no such things as sidebars to be scanned along with the main text. Instead, all content is stacked up and the viewer needs to swipe the screen to see what’s lined up next. You may have a “responsive” website that rearranges your content for you, but check to see that you like the way it has been stacked up. Important sections may be shoved down behind unimportant ones and your customer may not take the time to swipe that far.
Don’t assume you already know how your customer uses your website – you may be surprised. Instead, go and take a look at your Google Analytics report to be sure. Click on “Audience” and then, in the drop-down menu, click on “Mobile Devices.” While you can find out how many people used a Samsung Galaxy S8 if you want to really drill down, it’s more valuable to learn the number of people who visit your site while on a desktop versus while on a mobile device. In looking at our own clients, there are a few B2B companies that come close to a 50/50 split, but the majority have an audience that is at least 60% mobile-users.
The definition of mobile is "able to move or be moved freely or easily," which is exactly how folks use their mobile phones. Thumbs are busy on the train, in the coffee shop, and in the family room while watching television. Since mobile is how your customers use the web today, your website has to keep up. Contact us today to discuss how to make your site “mobile first.”