Mobile friendly websites are nothing new and have been around for a long time.
However, as the online marketing website spaces become more competitive than ever with companies and brands all competing for clients and customers, as well as more people than ever searching online via mobile and tablet devices, mobile friendly websites have never been more important.
A mobile friendly website also means a lot more than just ‘working’ on mobile. There are numerous factors to consider including accessibility, website speed, user experience, and interaction, and much more. A truly mobile friendly website performs in a way a typical site, not specifically optimised for mobile purposes simply will not.
What makes websites mobile friendly?
Although ‘mobile friendly’ when it comes to websites in simple terms means the website in question is available on mobile, there is a lot more to consider when looking to make a site truly mobile friendly. The aim of any website on mobile is to be able to engage users and allow users to utilise the website in the most logical and efficient ways possible.
Hugo Anglesford of Fintech Startup Doddler says: “Having a mobile friendly website is more important than ever, no matter what your business does. Whether you are a service, looking for clients and sign ups or a retailer, selling physical products, having your company’s website mobile friendly will make a difference to both the performance of your website overall as well as the sheer volume of customers you will be able to successfully attract.”
Mobile friendly websites will typically fulfil several important factors.
One of the most important aspects of any website and more so when on mobile is its speed. A fast website is preferred by search engines, helping improve your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) status. A faster website will also allow it to load properly and in a timely manner over mobile networks, which is crucial to a mobile friendly website.
No matter which industry or online area a website operates in, if the website loads slowly, users will be inclined to avoid it.
David Soffer, Co-Founder of GlobMed comments: “Website speed is crucial for any website’s SEO. It is also fundamentally important that if you need to offer users important information, such as is the case in healthcare, that this information is available in a reasonable time. This means not making users wait many seconds for one webpage or another to load, decreasing the quality of their experience.”
Scale properly on mobile and tablet devices
Mobile and tablet screens are smaller than those on desktops. Therefore, any website on a mobile should scale proportionally and logically. This means that everything from the website text and font, menus, calls to action and even images should scale so that a user on a mobile or tablet does not need to scroll sideways ever, only up and down.
Be truly clickable
In practice, this refers to the ability of users to literally click on the necessary and relevant elements of any page on the website in question. Mobile and tablet browsing requires the ability to be able to use one’s fingers and thumbs to easily navigate and click and therefore, websites that do not allow this on mobile will fall short.
Samuel Davies, Founder of Kallyss commented: “Not only does a mobile friendly website need to be clickable, but it should also not present with any content layout shift (CLS), something Google actively devalues websites for. Websites that have significant CLS present with a worse user experience than others. Moreover, CLS means it is harder to click on what a user needs.”
Mobile friendly websites and conversions
For website conversions, there are some common practices that specific websites and brands can undertake. For example, in e-commerce, having a ‘buy now’ or ‘add to basket’ button higher up webpages make a positive difference to the numbers of users that then will go on to add the item in question to their basket.
With regards to services, it is often the capturing of data from customers that allows sales teams to follow up and make the sale and thus, mobile friendly websites allow a greater proportion of customers and clients to submit their details.
Lauren Davies of bOnline says, “consumers and customers use their mobile and tablet devices like never before. Therefore, companies and businesses should more than ever do everything they can to ensure their websites and businesses can attract mobile users. When people use a device on the go, their attention span is notoriously shorter than when browsing on desktop. This means that mobile friendly websites are key.”
The importance of mobile bandwidth and leisure users
Website users on mobile and tablet devices will very often be on the go and thus, will be using mobile data (such as 4G or 5G.) This allows for a lower bandwidth than in the case of a Wi-Fi enabled desktop device or a mobile or tablet device connected to a Wi-Fi network.
This means that the loading time of a website can be slower when on a mobile network if nothing is done to make the website mobile friendly. It is therefore very important that websites fulfil what they need to in order to be truly optimised for mobile. If a website is too slow to load, users will drop off and as a result, Google may even drop the website in question down the rankings.
Steps that can be taken to rectify this include:
- Create accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
- Make sure image file sizes are compressed