Do I Really Need to Optimize?
Yes! These days it isn't enough to have a website that displays beautifully on the web.
With the invention of smart phones and tablets, more and more people are viewing web pages on a device other than a computer. And those devices don't have a mouse, can't display Flash, and don't have the screen real estate of a regular computer.
Have you ever tried to view a non-optimized website on your tiny smartphone screen? How easy is it to click links, read text, and use the functionality? Not very.
How Many Mobile Users Are Out There?
If you haven't checked in a while (which I hope isn't the case), take a look at your site visitors and what technology they are using. Roughly one third of my visitors view my site from a mobile device. And depending on the industry you're in, you may have even more.
Let's put this into a real-life scenario. Let's pretend your website doesn't have a mobile version yet.
- Say only 10 percent of your visitors use a mobile device.
- This is still 10 percent of your sales pipeline.
- Imagine you average a modest 100 total visitors a day.
- Ten percent of 100 visitors equals 10 people per day viewing your site on a mobile device.
- Over the course of a month, that's over 300 people you may have lost out on due to frustration and inability to navigate.
...and that's only if your mobile viewing percentage is at 10 percent! What if your website mobile viewing is at 40 or 50 percent? At 50 percent you may have lost 1500 potential customers.
Good Mobile Optimization vs. Bad
So you've got your website set to display on a mobile device. Great! Have you gone through this checklist of common issues?
- Does the mobile version display automatically when the site is viewed on a mobile device?
Check your settings to make sure it does. The last thing you want is a potential customer trying to figure out how to display the mobile version.
- Is the load time for the site still fast?
Sometimes a different format causes a different load time, so make sure there are no lags.
- Can pop-ups can be easily closed on a mobile device?
I've encountered sites where a pop-up completely blocks me from using the site because I can't scroll anywhere to close it. This means I can't even get to the content for the sake of an ad.
- Is there any functionality from your website (i.e. Flash) that doesn't work on a mobile device?
As an example, the Scribd application I use for my portfolio doesn't display at all on a mobile device. So to remedy this, I have added additional viewing options that do work as well as notes where necessary. Make sure to check every page, or have your developer verify them for you.
- Is there any missing functionality?
I have a favorite website that I like to use to find events around town. But when I view their mobile site I can't find my favorite page. It just isn't there in the menus, there are no links anywhere for it on the home page, and I can't search for it. The result? When I'm on the go I look for a different website. Don't be that company.
- Are there any layout issues?
Depending on how your website is built, sometimes the order of text or graphic blocks on the home page may not display as expected on a mobile device. Has your sale banner or block of testimonials now moved to the very bottom of the mobile screen, where a user is unlikely to get to it before clicking on something else? Make sure you verify the location of your objects in the new layout.
Bottom line: Your website needs to cater to the mobile viewing trend, or you're bound to lose out. If you've built your website using a tool that doesn't automatically create a mobile version (or simply don't have a developer to help you), look online for assistance. There are many tools available to create a customized mobile version of your site, or many companies that can be hired to do it for you.