Accessing the Web via a mobile device, such as a smartphone or smartwatch, is a growing worldwide trend. According to research by ClickZ, over 50% of the 16.5 billion monthly visitors to Google’s search engine, accessed the site via a mobile platform. Data from Smart Insights, also shows that 80% of smartphone owners use their device to access the internet, and search engines remain the number one way that mobile users begin their research for products and services.
What these statistics mean for you is that it’s more important than ever for your website to both look good and be easy to access and use from a variety of platforms.
Penalties for Not Making Your Site Mobile Friendly
If your site is not optimised for mobile use, it’s likely that mobile visitors will become frustrated and stop using your site. Difficulty using your site, however, isn’t the only reason why you will lose traffic.
Beginning April 21st, Google started rewarding sites that are smartphone friendly, so if your site isn’t optimised for mobile users, it’s possible that your ranking on the search engine will drop. Research has consistently shown that your site is basically invisible to most web users if you aren’t on the first page of the search engine results.
5 Tips to Ensure Your Site is Mobile Friendly
First, take a look at your website using your mobile phone or device. What can you see? More importantly, what can you not see, or not access? A visit to your website should be just as rich an experience for mobile users as those on a computer.
Here are 5 tips which will help you ensure that the user experience is satisfying no matter what device your visitors are using and ensure you have a mobile friendly website.
- Avoid Pop-Ups and Mouse Overs. While these tools make it easy to discover additional content on your site when someone is navigating with a traditional desktop or laptop, they are frustrating for mobile users who lack access to a mouse. The reduced screen size also makes it difficult for mobile users to see the content from both the main screen and the pop-up.
- Use Layouts that Make Navigating Your Site Easy for Mobile Users. Most mobile users surf the content of your site vertically, rather than horizontally, so choose a width that makes it easy to do so. You will also want to choose a font size and typeset that it easy to see and read on the smaller screen sizes that are found on mobile devices. As you customise your site for mobile users, take care that you offer the same basic functions and experiences, such as videos, across all platforms.
- Point Your Visitors in the Right Direction. Make it easy for mobile visitors to find the content that they want on your site by using clear categories, such as “Home,” “About Me,” “Blog” or “Get in Touch.” You will also want to label important buttons, such as “buy now,” and use easy to understand labels, such as “Payments,” when you have a call to action on your site. Make it easy for visitors to perform key functions on your site, whether it’s locating your newest products or checking out, you want your visitors to be able to quickly find what they want and need on your site.
- Optimise for Touch Screen Use. Both mobile and traditional devices are incorporating touch screens these days, so take some care that you don’t place action buttons and labels too close together.
- Double-Check Those Files. Make certain that all of your content, from text and images to audio and video files is in a format that accessible across all platforms.
Tools that Check to See if Your Site is Mobile Friendly
If you are uncertain if your site is optimised for mobile users, Google Developers has a handy tool that lets you test the individual pages on your site to see if they are truly mobile friendly. You can then use Google’s Webmaster Tools to produce the Mobile Usability Report to gain additional insight into the errors and other issues that might prevent your site from being viewed as mobile friendly by the Googlebots.
Now that you know a bit more about how to optimise your site for mobile users, why not check out some of our other handy business tips?