We’re long past the point where a responsive or mobile optimized web presence is a “nice-to-have.” Findings from KPCB show that time spent on mobile in the US has increased to 51%, compared to 42% for PCs. Knowing this, we must come to the conclusion that if we’re not reaching mobile prospects via mobile organic (unpaid) search, we’re losing those prospects to competitors who are. Beyond the visibility factor, the lack of a quality mobile user experience of your website has some serious implications.
You will frustrate your users and your conversion rates will suffer.
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that take a desired action on your website. Obvious examples would be making a sale or generating a lead. Think about it, if you increase the conversion rate of your website, you can generate more business without needing to find more traffic. That is a powerful concept, one that I learned to leverage as director of eCommerce for an auto dealer group back in the early 2000s.
Conversion rate optimization is an endless rabbit hole of tweaks, gains and losses but the important thing to remember here is that because a majority of digital content is consumed on a mobile device, some of the lowest hanging fruit will be your mobile presence. Consider the following case studies:
- O’Neil Clothing increased iPhone conversions by 65.71% and Android conversions by a whopping 407.32% when they launched their mobile eCommerce website. (source)
- Skinny Ties, a company that’s been designing and producing neckties since 1971 grew their revenue from iPhone by 377.6% when they launched their responsive site. (source)
These examples aren’t outliers and they aren’t recent either. Medium to large online retailers were among the first to experience the impact that a great mobile experience can have to their bottom line.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, Google along with other top search engines will penalize your rankings for all searches originating from a mobile device.
A Mobile-Friendly website will have the following characteristics:
- The website loads quickly. Mobile users tend to have slower connections so load time is crucial.
- It is easy to see the content and navigate the site on a small screen. The user should not have to pan or zoom in order to read text. Touch targets (like links or buttons) should be large enough to tap accurately on a small screen.
- There are no pop-ups or interstitials that hide the content.
What do all of those things have in common? They all affect the usability of the site. We’ve all tried to access a site on our phone that was slow, impossible to read or displayed a full screen advertisement as soon as you hit the page. It’s frustrating and Google knows this. Google sees itself as a guide on your digital journey, it’s job is to direct you to user friendly sites with relevant information. We know this because more and more they consider usability signals in their ranking algorithms.
Even if your website is already responsive, there are things to watch out for.
One thing sticks out as a common problem with almost all website owners: They almost never visit their own site. We’re even guilty of it. This means that even small issues can persist over long periods of time, killing usability. We’ve done needs assessments for clients’ websites which have been online for years only to find that their contact form wasn’t working or that submissions were being directed to someone who was no longer with the company. Layout and design problems, broken links and other assorted bugs can go unnoticed. I have an idea for a new service which will address this problem and you’ll be the first to know when it’s ready. But until then, check your site at least once a week, on desktop and mobile, and be sure to test your forms.
Not only does a negative user experience on mobile hurt your conversion rates, it also hurts your search rankings, robbing your site of valuable traffic. It’s the compounding of those two factors which make a well tested Mobile-Friendly website so damn important. If you’re not sure if your site is considered Mobile Friendly, you can always use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to check.