It’s no secret that the eyes of computer users are drifting away from their desktop screens and toward their mobile phones. However, a number of businesses don’t seem to realize that they have to adjust their websites accordingly to accommodate this shift (in May, an Adobe study revealed that 45% of businesses still don’t have a mobile-optimized site or app). Allow me to explain why this is a mistake that is too costly to ignore.
As revealed in a Google study, polled smartphone users have a very clear idea of what they expect when on their mobile devices. 81% value browsing speed very highly, 74% of them want easily accessible store directions or operating hours, 64% of them seek contact or product information, and 50% need the ability to seamlessly place an order or perform an action.
They also want to do this in the most pleasant manner possible.
By not having a mobile-friendly website waiting for them, you’re virtually welcoming your guests with a swift slap in the face and making it clear to them that customer service is not your priority.
In an e-world where the customer is always right, this is what you’re doing wrong:
Creating a terrible user browsing experience.
Clicking on a non-mobile site’s links could not be a more painful ordeal. I’d like to think I have normal-sized thumbs, but every time I try to click on a link I end up going to a different page than intended because the links are too small and close to each other.
Navigating a desktop page on your phone requires constantly zooming in and out to both find the sections you want and successfully click on your desired destination. It’s maddening, and usually drives visitors away pretty quickly.
Don’t take my word for it, though, see for yourself in this image of the New York Times website taken on my iPhone. I imagine that at some point they will create a mobile-friendly site, but right now it’s a nightmare.
Why put your users through the odyssey of navigating through a site like this? The Wall Street Journal, perhaps the biggest competitor of the New York Times, has a very easy-to-use mobile site. As you can see in the image below, the font is large and easy to read and there are quick-access navigation panes with large clickable links with which to jump to your desired section.
When on the go on your phone, which site would you rather use to catch up on world news? Avoid being on the losing end of that discussion; don’t let your users take their time and money to your competitor.
Offering video content that doesn’t work.
I’ll keep this short and simple: some video content that works on computers doesn’t work on phones. Why would you offer your users content that they can’t enjoy?
Flash, perhaps the most notable non-mobile-friendly video format, will not work on a smartphone. Worry not, however, as there are various options for showing video content on mobile sites. For example, HTML5 standard tags are Google’s recommended choice and pretty easy to work with.
Nothing is more frustrating than encountering unwatchable content while browsing, ensure that your users don’t hit such a roadblock by guaranteeing your site can be fully enjoyed across any device.
Hurting your own ranking in search results.
“…To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.” – June excerpt from the Google blog
What does this mean? As of last month, Google will punish websites that are not mobile-friendly in searches taking place on mobile devices. In other words, our SEO rank will drop if your site is not mobile-friendly.
Conversely, this is great news for mobile-ready sites, because their ranking will improve at their competitors’ expense.
A great SEO ranking is a free way to have your site shown among top search results. Don’t let your desktop SEO efforts go to waste and avoid the wrath of Google’s new policy by making your site mobile-friendly.
Bad Advertisements = Less Money
Advertisers are always willing to pay a premium for advertising that works. If your site is driving great ROI for the marketers advertising on it, you will see it handsomely pay off for you in the form of higher bids and RPMs.
On the other hand, ads that don’t work will have the opposite impact on your bottom line. A desktop ad on a mobile device will not have the display quality, engagement, and performance of a mobile-specific ad would have, and will consequently lead to less competitive pricing and lower RPMs.
Advertising can be a great source of revenue, but just like with everything else in your digital strategy, you need to keep your long-term outlook in mind and prepare for mobile ad monetization. The mobile takeover is happening as we speak, and being stubborn and fighting the change will only make it harder for you to catch up down the road.
Smartphone owners are very clear in what they seek in their mobile browsing sessions, and their patience wears thin when they don’t find it. You may only get one chance to show your audience that you’re well prepared to cater to its demands by providing a great user experience with content that works, information they can easily access, and ads they can read. Stop losing money and customers; make your site mobile-ready now!
What other nuisances bother you about mobile browsing? Did I miss anything? Feel free to leave a comment below.