It’s Time to Invest: Mobile-Friendly Websites

Wikipedia describes comfort objects as “items used to provide psychological comfort, especially in unusual or unique situations.”

Hmmm, sounds an awful lot like your cell phone, doesn’t it?

Based solely on this definition, it is difficult to ignore the similarities between a child’s stuffed animal and the average adult’s mobile device. But unlike the use of comfort objects by young children, the use of mobile devices worldwide is hardly a phase.

Mobile Devices Are Hardly a Phase

There is really no debate about the validity of mobile-use statistics today. Let’s be honest, everyone you know has one.

In the end, it’s on business owners to make a serious push in both budgeting and strategy to ensure that their customers are enjoying full accessibility to their points of sale across all platforms and devices.

According to a 2013 Google/Nielson study on “Five Key Findings of the Mobile Path to Purchase,” consumers typically spend more than 15 hours per week performing research on mobile devices.

This data gives valuable insight into both the behavior and expectations of today’s average consumer. Potential customers now expect to be able to perform an effective mobile search for your specific product or service.

Why? The easy answer: accessibility. Our devices follow us everywhere, and naturally so should our habits of consumer research, social interactions, and even purchasing.

These devices have also enabled the web itself to become more accessible than anyone ever imagined. Your customers know this, and take advantage of their accessibility wherever they are, every single day, in order to make important decisions — some even involving money.

Fortunately for those with mobile-friendly websites, Google rolled out a new ranking algorithm on April 21, 2015 for mobile search results that will actually favor sites that are properly optimized for mobile users. If you’re really not sure if Google thinks your site is “mobile-friendly” or not, visit this test page to find out.

Accessibility Aids with Purchase Immediacy

The same study concerning the “Five Key Findings of the Mobile Path to Purchase” also revealed how a staggering “93% of those who use mobile devices to research will actually go on to make a purchase.”

If you are a sales or numbers person, that’s undoubtedly a slam dunk. While consumer behaviors can vary drastically from industry to industry, this statistic is a really hard one to ignore.

What really sweetens the deal is how quickly these potential customers position themselves to actually purchase the products or services they are searching for. According to the study, “more than half of mobile consumers want to purchase within the hour, with 83% who prefer to purchase within the same day.”

If your site lacks mobile-friendly status, your customers are simply not going to enjoy full accessibility and your business will not benefit from this growing culture of purchase immediacy that is being driven by heavy mobile use.

At the very least, implement a mobile-friendly web presence to guarantee your business is actively competing for potentially profitable mobile search rankings, especially in your area.

Mobile-Friendly Should Also Be “Local-Friendly”

In the eyes of almighty Google, making your site mobile-friendly involves implementing the following changes or additions:

  • Size content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Use text that is readable without zooming
  • Avoid using software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Entire site can be found/crawled from a single URL
  • Use fully adaptive images
  • Place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped on a touch screen

Learn more about the differences between adaptive and responsive design

After your site has made these changes, test your homepage again. Earning Google’s mobile-friendly label will ensure your potential customers can see your site in mobile search results and won’t be left using up costly data connections to download a site lacking proper optimization. But don’t stop there. In order to create a more seamless path to purchasing on mobile devices, ensure that your site is also “local-friendly.”

  • Your business’ main phone number should feature a “click to call” action that users can perform to immediately connect with your support or customer service.
  • Your business should be connected to a Google+ page linking your physical address/location with your URL. Your contact information and user-submitted reviews about your business will also appear in the right sidebar of some search results.
  • Offer live inventory updates, specifically showing local product availabilities
  • Offer optimized mobile checkout experiences with working forms that are easy to use.

This global mobile movement takes our regular habits of researching, shopping, and buying to a whole new level. Customers are now relying on their phones to do most of the heavy lifting by not only locating a desired product through mobile search, but also finding it quickly at the most reasonable price in the closest proximity. Ultimately, the shift to mobile-friendly websites will guarantee a better buying experience for your customers, and a web presence that will be easier to update and manage for your developers in the future.

Does your website show up in organic search results? Renew your focus on search engine optimization tactics to become a known competitor in your industry or local market.