This guest post comes courtesy of Christine Soeun Choi, SEO associate at Fit Small Business.
When it comes to getting your small business website found online, being mobile-friendly may be one of the single most important factors. Why? Because these days, 57% of all US web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets, and that figure is only growing. People are using the internet on desktops and laptops less and less - which means your business needs to keep up.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, here are some compelling reasons to change that.
Take a moment to visit your website on your smartphone. I’ll wait.
Was it easy to navigate? Or was it difficult to scroll sideways to view the entire page? Or did it feel cramped with all the information squeezed into that small screen?
The experience of visitors to your website on a desktop is vastly different than that of mobile visitors, and you need to account for that with a responsive website. That’s just a fancy term for a site that adapts to the size screen it’s being viewed on. Alternately, you can have what’s called a mobile-first site, a version of your website which might have fewer menu options but be easier to navigate to key information, like your restaurant’s menu, events, and location.
Take a look at Evernote’s mobile website below. It looks slightly different from the desktop version. Rather than all menu items being listed at the top of the page, they are collapsed in the right-hand menu tab in the corner.
The content is simple to read and not overwhelming. Scrolling down, a visitor gets more information and opportunities to click for additional details.
In addition to your site being a bit more awkward to navigate on a small device, if it isn’t mobile-friendly, you may also be missing out when it comes to search engine optimization. Even if you’ve invested in SEO for the desktop version of your website, it’s important to keep mobile SEO in mind as well.
First of all, local matters even more on mobile: 75% of people who search for local businesses will visit the store within one day. If your business isn’t set up with local SEO, that’s business that you’re missing out on.
Also, people search on mobile devices differently than they do desktops. Whereas on a computer someone might search “dry cleaning Los Angeles,” on a mobile phone, using voice search, someone might speak “where can I get my comforter dry cleaned?”
It’s important to include keyword phrases that people would say when using voice search on a mobile device to capture new business.
Plus, as early as 2015, Google promised to prioritize mobile-friendly websites in the search results. This meant sites that were easy to navigate on smartphones would be at the top of the search results, while those lagging behind would slip farther out of view. Because this has been such an important shift for Google, they’ve come up with some great tips on how to make your site mobile-friendly.
If you sell on your website, you can’t afford to ignore having a mobile-friendly site. By 2021, it’s estimated that 72.9% of all ecommerce sales will occur on mobile devices. It should be dead simple for mobile visitors to your site to make a purchase without having to go to their computers to do so.
That means that you might need a simpler checkout form (it can be taxing to the eyes and fingers to see and fill out many tiny fields) as well as a credit card payment system that syncs across your traditional website, mobile website, and even payments collected on the go.
Nike is winning when it comes to mobile-first ecommerce. Not only is its mobile website user-friendly, highlighting featured and trending products, but also the brand engages its customers through innovative augmented reality and geolocation.
“More importantly, with their unique approach, Nike has changed the way we think about engaging customers in ecommerce. They proved that gamification and alternative points of sales involve customers and effectively support product sales.” — Tom Karwatka, Divante
While you might not be ready to dive into the world of augmented reality just yet, the basic concepts of Nike’s user-focused mobile website can be applied to your site to improve user experience, engage your customers, and boost sales.
Google will give preference to websites that have responsive or mobile-friendly web designs, which is an easy opportunity to seize in order to rank higher in the search results. Many customers have come to expect brands to have an easy-to-navigate mobile web experience, so if you deliver, chances are you’ll see more business and referrals.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to get a mobile-friendly web design. Legitimate website designers are well-versed in creating versions of your site optimized for mobile, including SEO. Also, many DIY website builder tools use responsive design features so you don’t even have to worry about creating a second site that’s mobile-friendly, it will be created automatically as part of your chosen theme.
Mobile-friendly websites aren’t the future - they’re happening now. If you want to grow your business, you’ve have to make sure it’s easy for people to both find you in mobile search and navigate your site on their mobile devices.
Christine Soeun Choi is an SEO associate at Fit Small Business specializing in digital marketing. Currently based in NYC, she has a background in business studies and math with a passion for business development. When not helping small business owners, Christine enjoys taking photos, exploring artwork, and traveling.