Why You Need a Mobile Friendly Website
Mobile Friendly Website Design
Since the prominence of smart phones with internet capabilities, mobile friendly web design has become a staple of the web design community. Designing a website that works on multiple devices has become a necessity due to the fact that there are now a broad range of screen sizes which websites must account for if they are to be able to target all possible website visitors.
With mobile devices accounting for over 40% of global internet traffic as of October 2015 and having grown from just 19% in 2 years this means a mobile friendly website should be a consideration for every business.
Creating a mobile friendly website is dealt with using one of three different methods.
Separate Mobile Site
The type of device a visitor is using to access the website is detected and they are directed to the appropriate URL. Desktop users will see www.domain.co.uk where mobile users are commonly sent to m.domain.co.uk – the actual URL can be anything. The benefit of a separate mobile website is that it can be specifically and completely designed from the outset for mobile devices with no consideration required for how the content will scale up – and vice versa for the desktop version. You should consider that the varying screen sizes of mobile devices means that even a separate mobile website should employ some degree of responsive design.
With dynamic serving the type of device is also tracked but rather than directing the user to a different URL, different HTML and CSS (the code behind a website) is served to them depending on the device. The benefits are that only one URL is required and that content can still be specifically designed for different devices. The downside of both dynamic serving and a separate mobile site is that the site has to be technically configured to track and alter the content or URL based on the users device.
Responsive Web Design
Notably this is Google’s recommended design pattern. The site is designed to serve the same code but change the style and format of the content based on the device accessing the site. As there are so many varied screen sizes for devices, it can be time consuming to create an effective experience that looks consistently good for all users. However, it does remove the need to redirect users based on the device being used. Responsive website design has so far become the most popular of these methods but it is vital to thoroughly test the site to ensure that it is effective across devices of different screen sizes.
Why Be Mobile Friendly?
While responsive design is generally favoured, your route to a mobile friendly website will likely be determined by your particular requirements and existing setup. Although you have a choice of how to make your site mobile friendly, if you are looking to grow your business you should not be choosing to avoid a mobile friendly site altogether.
Businesses are often sold a mobile friendly website, in any of the three above formats, due to the enhanced visitor experience that it offers to mobile visitors. For that reason it is quite right that any business looking to attract customers in the modern age takes advantage of mobile friendly design. However, having a mobile friendly website has become important for another crucial reason.
Mobile Search Visbility
As well as web designers, online search and marketing professionals have also been advocating mobile friendly website design for a number of years because if it is done well it can result in higher websites conversion rates. This is due to the tailored and improved user journey that it can provide. Knowing that search engines want to provide the most valuable results to their users, many search professionals understood that it was only a matter of time before Google preferences for a mobile friendly design became more than simply a recommendation.
This belief was eventually proved correct in April 2015 with the release of ‘Mobilegeddon’, an update which affected Google searches from mobile devices. With this algorithm update, websites that were found to be mobile friendly are now given a significant boost in mobile search results – with non-mobile friendly websites dropping considerably.
The reasoning behind this was is to ensure that Google only returns results on mobile devices which users are able to navigate, read and engage with properly. A mobile friendly website, whether achieved through responsive design or another method has now become essential if website owners want their site to appear in mobile search results. Failing to embrace the growing trend in mobile internet usage means missing out on potential customers who are viewing your site on mobile devices.
Need a Mobile Friendly Website?
Google created a tool that lets you check whether your website is mobile friendly. This enables you to see how they will treat your website in mobile searches. Check and see if your website is mobile friendly. Remember, if not, then you could be suffering from reduced search visibility and missing out on mobile traffic, in addition to having a website which may be difficult for mobile users to navigate.
At Geek Central we can work with you to design a mobile friendly website that will work for users on a range of devices and which will perform in well in both mobile and desktop searches.