Flashback photo to Rachel and her brother, Iain, looking surly when told they were not getting what they wanted. Cute (occasionally) in children, but not for website owners who want their hard work recognized and their website displayed prominently in search engine result pages.
Google has recently changed the way they index websites and has brought down the gavel on sites that do not display well on mobile devices.
Now that people use their phones and tablets more than laptops and desktop computers to browse the web, Google has made this change to better serve their users and give them better access to the information they are seeking and that is designed to be easy for them to access.
We have looked at web traffic statistics for most of our clients’ websites and confirmed mobile users now account for over 50% of all traffic. But many of our clients still have non-mobile websites. Globally, about 17% of small businesses do not have a responsive site.
If you have a non-mobile-friendly site then you will be ranked lower than if you have a mobile-responsive website. If you have a separate mobile site, from your main website, only your mobile site pages will be indexed. This is according to multiple articles we have reviewed, as well as communications directly from Google.
So if you don’t have a mobile-responsive website, the time has come to put this on your marketing priorities list for 2018.
Besides the new Google indexing, non-responsive sites can damage your business in other ways:
- Mobile devices are projected to reach 79% of global internet use by the end of 2018.
- 88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
- Average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to desktop conversion rates.
- 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important.
- According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a site on mobile if they had trouble accessing it and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
- Nearly 8 in 10 customers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device.
- 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
Please contact John if you’re in need of a new, mobile-friendly website.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEBSITES AVAILABLE AT MPS?
Up until a few years ago, websites were static in that they displayed the same layout no matter the type of device upon which they were viewed. As you have all experienced, these sites do not work well on smartphones; the text is too small and screen pinching and side-scrolling is required.
Content Management Systems (CMS) sites allow for anyone with administration access to make basic edits. For example, putting in a new product photo or changing the business’ open hours. This always seems exciting to a business as they feel they will save money by managing the site internally, but all of our clients who have CMS sites pay us to work on them – work which costs more as edits are done in an interface, rather than using website coding software.
Mobile websites are coded completely differently from a business’ main site. It’s designed to render on smartphones in landscape or portrait modes and to feature information a mobile user is most likely to need. The main site continues to render on desktop and laptop computers and tablets. Mobile sites are “seen” as responsive by search engines.
A responsive website is designed to recognize the device the viewer is using and render the page’s content in the most attractive and readable manner by responding to the device’s screen size, platform, and orientation. This means the same website content will display at its best from desktop computer to laptop to tablet to smartphone.
WHICH IS BEST FOR MY BUSINESS?
We don’t push any particular type of site. We have experience and understanding of all types of website coding for businesses going back to 1999. As new technology is developed, we integrate it into our service offerings as soon as it is well–supported. (Many developers jump on selling new code too early, leading to websites that don’t function very well, have a short life, and cost too much.)
We clearly explain your options and by gaining an understanding of your needs, budget, and business goals, we can make a good recommendation. If we do code a responsive site for you, we use the well–supported codebase named Foundation, used by companies such as Yahoo! and National Geographic.
RESPONSIVE SITES SEEM THE BEST CHOICE. IS THERE A DOWNSIDE?
- A user viewing a responsive site on a phone will see the exact same content as a user on a computer. Since phone users are generally visiting your site for different reasons than a user on a computer, you may wish to keep a separate mobile version of your site geared to smartphone users’ needs and behavior, instead of having a responsive site.
- Potentially slower page load time.
- Generally a responsive web site is coded for smartphones first, so with computer users coming in second they may find the content over–simplified.
- Coding and updating a responsive site is more expensive.
AND THE UPSIDE?
- Users are now familiar with responsive websites and expect all businesses to have a site that functions well and looks attractive on all devices. Businesses with a responsive or mobile site are going to look current.
- Search engines “grade” a site as being more worthy of higher organic search results if it is device-responsive.
- Since the user will be viewing a site which performs perfectly on the device he is utilizing, they are more likely to move around your site, finding the information they are seeking.
- We found the following info when we created a client’s website traffic report for October, 2015. It’s based upon visitors to one of their services pages, on a site without a mobile version. 67% of smartphone users — mostly iPhone and Android phones — bounced off the page without clicking a link to any other page versus a 43% bounce rate for visitors using a desktop computer, tablet, or laptop.
- As of winter 2015, 30–35% of our clients’ website visitors are using a mobile device. Your numbers are probably similar. Since around one third of your site’s visitors are using a smartphone, a mobile version will give these visitors a better experience and therefore keep them on your site.
- If you wish to link to a page and have a separate mobile website, you will need to note two links – one for mobile and one for regular. For example, if you wish to link to your web page with your business hours, you’d need to call out the link for smartphone users and the link for non-smartphone device users. With a responsive website, the same link will work for any device.