Rookie Website Mistakes, Part 3: Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

September 1st, 2017 by Search Influence Alumni

Now that you have learned how to get your website found in Google searches, Part 3 of our Rookie Website Mistakes blog series will explore how to get mobile visitors to stay.

It’s no secret that the current generation is keen on the combination of mobility and technology. We are a group who thrives off convenience and being able to get the information we need while on-the-go. It’s no wonder the level of frustration when a website we want to reach is not properly formatted for mobile use. Many of us quickly move on, searching until we find a site that is mobile-friendly and can also provide us with the information and services we need. According to Google, 58 percent of Americans use their smartphone (instead of a computer) to access a website. This means that over half of your potential audience—individuals who use the internet—are searching via cell phone. Visitors are also typically multitasking, leaving you with a limited amount of time to impress and engage them. You would be remiss to not format your website accordingly. Let’s dive a little deeper into what you lose and what you stand to gain with a website formatted for mobile visitors.

Not Using Responsive Design

One of the main differences between a site that’s built for mobile use and one that’s not is the responsiveness of the design. Consider the size of the interface or screen on a desktop computer or laptop versus a smartphone. Because mobile phones are smaller, websites cannot afford to have lofty navigation that hangs out in the margins—nor can they afford to have a surplus of text that hides below the fold. Often, the entire design of the website should be optimized for how visitors will need to navigate the page on a 5×3-inch device. Font size, typography, and single-column layout are also some items to consider.

Optimizing for mobile does not mean that a business will have to create two different sites. Responsively designed websites are flexible and can detect screen size and orientation. The flow and readability of the design are crucial for a pleasant user experience that will keep visitors on your page, allowing them to receive the valuable information you are providing.

Lack of a Touch-Friendly Interface

Because visitors to your website are most likely accessing your page from their handheld device, it is imperative that the site can be easily navigated by touch. Visitors are frequently using touchscreens to find your business online, and once they arrive at your website, they need to be able to use their fingers to scroll, move between pages, click links and videos, and request more information.

Man pointing his finger toward a smartphone's touchscreen - Search Influence

Consider enlarging the font and adding more space between navigation buttons and links so that it’s easier to select items on the page. Unlike using a mouse on a desktop, fingers are less precise, so the use of buttons is vital to a friendly interface. Be sure to also have indicators on items that can be selected, such as adding a highlight or indentation marker to the button. This lets visitors know that their phone has recognized their selection. Another element is utilizing dropdown menus for navigation. They can be used on desktop screens and are ideal for mobile phones. Also, make sure the phone numbers are click-to-call and emails listed on your website are designed to open a compose window. This adds even more convenience for potential customers and visitors to your website.

Images That Aren’t Optimized

In previous blogs, we’ve made a case for the importance of having quality images on your page. But what happens if these images are slow to load? According to a study done by Equation Research, 60 percent of mobile users expect a site to load within 3 seconds, and 74 percent are willing to wait up to 5 seconds for it to load before abandoning the website entirely. Visuals that take too long to configure to the page also slow down the general responsiveness of your website. Scale images through code or optimize them by using new HTML markup that prevents the browser from downloading pictures that are larger than what is needed.

Coworkers sitting at a table with different multimedia devices - Search Influence

Content That Isn’t Mapped for Mobile

Take inventory of each piece of content on your website and evaluate how effective it will read on a mobile phone. The size of the font and the typography style is something to consider, but the length and relevancy of the content are important, too. Trim down the fat. Use your analytics intel to determine which pieces of content your visitors are actually reading, and consider removing or optimizing content they are not. Review your website and be sure each piece of existing content is essential and can be easily digestible on all screen sizes.

Having a mobile-friendly website is not something to be overlooked. With more and more of your potential customers using their phones to search for your business, mobile-friendly optimization is vital to the health of your business. If you have any questions or concerns about how to optimize your website and grow your business, our team is happy to help. Drop us a line!

Stay tuned for the next blog in the series, Rookie Website Mistakes, Part 4: You have a Single Page Website.