It wasn’t too long ago that mobile friendly websites didn’t exist – at all. The concept of making all that data available, over a wireless connection, on something that fits in your pocket was the stuff of science fiction. But, here we are, surfing full fledged websites on dinky little devices as we sit in the coffee shop, putter around the house or ride the bus. As a matter of fact, as much as 60% of web surfing is done on these smaller devices, passing full-fledged desktop computers for the #1 slot. It has become very obvious that this trend is only going to continue, as sales for desktops has steadily dropped and tablets and smart-phones permeate the globe.
What, exactly, IS a “mobile friendly website”?
I’m glad you asked! Until the advent of mobile, websites were a one-size-fits-all proposition. Websites were exactly as wide and tall as they were, no matter the device. As mobile devices became capable of accessing the web, it became apparent that this model would not work. You had to scroll about the page, left and right, up and down, zooming in and out to see the links or images, to center and read the text.
Needless to say, this setup is not optimal, and can be down-right irritating to visitors.
Enter the mobile friendly (or ‘responsive’) website….
Now websites are being developed with mobile browsers in mind. This can happen one of a few ways.
- A website that is already built, but not mobile friendly may take advantage of the option to have a separate mobile website that mobile users are redirected to. If you are using WordPress, there are a few plugins that can help you do this without having to actually have a separate site built.
- If you are starting from scratch with your site, it may be best to develop the site to be responsive. One way to tell if a site is responsive is to view it as you shrink your browser window. If the site is responsive, it will adjust to the width of your browser, reorganizing page elements as it shrinks. There are multiple methods of creating a responsive site, but that is for another post.
Do I really need a mobile friendly website?
The short answer is: a resounding YES!
Because of the shift to mobile web surfing, our friendly corporate web giant (Google) has created a mobile check in our search results. If your site IS NOT responsive, or mobile friendly, and the user is on a mobile device, your site will get bumped in the results to AFTER the sites which are mobile friendly. This means that without a mobile friendly site, you may never see a single mobile visitor – you would be missing a huge and growing portion of the possible traffic!
More people are on devices than ever before. Why would you take a chance on loosing that many visitors? Seriously, we’ve very recently passed the tipping point.
Currently, many businesses are rightly scrambling to retrofit their sites to be mobile friendly. Some are even changing platforms to make it easier for the transition. This is not a trend, but the new norm; you are missing audience and wasting money if you create a site that is not mobile friendly, at this point.
Do you know where your customers are coming from: desktop or mobile? Check your analytics and let us know in the comments below.