Optimizing Websites for Mobile

By the end of 2016, mobile (tablets and phones) overtook desktop as the primary way to access websites globally. In selected industries, over 80% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.

Today, more people search on mobile phones than computers. Half of the world’s population now has a mobile subscription. An additional one billion subscribers are predicted by 2020 (via Statista).

People are five times more likely to leave a site if it isn’t mobile-friendly. It is now time to ensure websites are optimized for mobile.

More than half of all mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. To quickly test your website’s mobile speed, try Google’s Test Page.

If your website does not appeal to the mobile audience, you could be missing out on a large chunk of your potential conversion opportunities:

  • Every 100ms delay costs 1% of sales
  • 47% of site visitors expect less than a 2 second page load
  • 1 second of load = 7% conversion loss

With mobile traffic continuing to grow exponentially, there is no better time than the present to evaluate your website’s mobile-friendliness and make updates accordingly.

Basic Rules for Good Mobile Functionality:

Mobile devices are simplifying and revolutionizing the ways sites are designed.

  • Design for the Touch Screen
    Touch screen navigation can lead to accidental clicks if your buttons are too big or too small.
  • Utilize Responsive Page Design
    Responsively-designed sites use a fluid grid and a flexible design to automatically adapt to the size of a user’s screen. For example, the page layout will auto-adjust whether it’s being displayed on a small phone (240px), iPhone (320px), Kindle (480px), or iPad (768px). Text size is automatically adjusted to be readable on every device with responsive design. If your site is not designed responsively, your users will spend extra time zooming and horizontally scrolling to read what should have been visible immediately. This free online tool will show how your website appears on a variety of mobile devices.
  • Avoid Flash
    Flash plugin may not be available on your user’s phone, which means they won’t even be able to view the content. HTML5 is recommended instead for special effects.
  • Minimize Pop-Ups
    It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close pop-ups on a mobile device. Users will leave your site, resulting in a high bounce rate.
  • Check Video and Images
    If your video player isn’t responding, it may load at full size when accessed by a mobile user and they will be unable to view. Similarly, if your site uses old coding methods or incompatible files, your images and videos may not load at all on mobile. This is easy to check; simply load your site on a mobile device and see if all your visual content is present.
  • Improve Page Loading Speed
    Loading speed is important not only for user experience but also for search rankings. Mobile devices typically have slower loading speeds than desktop so even a small delay can be magnified enough that someone will abandon your page. Loading speed can be improved by shrinking or compressing images and video (or using embedded video), utilizing page caching, and minimizing page redirects.

Mobile First Indexing

Google dominates mobile, performing over 80% of mobile searches. In March of 2018, Google officially announced the rollout of mobile-first indexing. Essentially this means that the Google bot will only crawl and index the mobile version of a page unless a mobile-friendly version does not exist in which case it will crawl and index the site as-is. This is a way for Google to ensure the majority of users find content that’s optimized for their screen. If you want to increase your mobile search traffic, optimize for Google on smaller screen sizes by using truncated titles, meta-descriptions, and careful consideration of Google AMP.

Whether you are already a Giant Hat client looking to audit your mobile-friendliness, or would just like to learn more about mobile considerations please reach out to us.

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