It’ll come as no surprise to hear that mobile internet usage has skyrocketed over the last few years, in fact 2014 saw mobile traffic surpass traditional desktop and laptop usage for the first time. As more and more people use their smartphones and tablets to get online, having a responsive website (one that’s optimised for mobile use) is fast becoming a necessity for brands.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just B2C businesses that need to prioritise a mobile-ready web design. While it’s true that many consumers browse the internet via second screening whilst at home in-front of the television, individuals involved in the B2B process not only share that same past-time, but are also know to be accessing business websites on the go and in the office on mobile.
Early adopters were quick to create a ‘mobile-ready’ website in addition to their main site. This meant that a lot of brands had two completely separate websites (albeit with the same look and feel) that were displayed to users depending on their device. However, in recent years most businesses have moved to something called responsive design, a term coined back in 2010 for a website that’s coded to adapt to all screen sizes, regardless of device.
If you’re sat reading this thinking, my website isn’t responsive, but so what? Here’s a few reasons why it should be high up on your agenda for 2016.
1. JUST GOOGLE IT…
Don’t worry we’re not sending you off to Google all the answers – we’re not that foolish. But the sentiment rings true, if you have a question or query these days, what do you do? Yeah, we thought so. Google has long been the search engine of choice and with that responsibility comes great power. Earlier this year the search giant made a game-changing amendment to its algorithm, which basically meant that in Google’s own words it was “boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results”. So, if your website was optimised to make the customer journey easier on a mobile or tablet, i.e. text was readable without needing to zoom or tap the screen, pages were well laid out without requiring the user to change screen orientation or scroll horizontally to view content then you’d be more likely to rank higher in Google.
It’s now become a huge SEO factor and if you’re not quite sure how your site stacks up against Google’s criteria then you can test your URL out here: https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
2. THE UNSOCIABLE SMARTPHONE
We’ve already touched on this, but mobile usage is exploding. More people are heading online than ever before to pass the time, conduct their own research and to socialise. Ofcom’s August report outlined how smartphones are fast becoming the hub of our daily lives. The introduction of 4G has seen a surge in mobile internet usage, the latest stats show that the average adult in the UK spends abut 2 hours online on their smartphone every day, twice as long as on a laptop or PC.
3. USER EXPERIENCE
According to Google’s Think Insights on mobile, if a user lands on your website via their mobile or tablet and is frustrated or can’t find what they’re looking for straight away, there’s a 61% chance that they’ll leave your site immediately and go somewhere that’s easier to navigate. On the flip side, if you give them a positive experience and deliver a website that’s easy to use a visitor is apparently 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service there and then.
4. DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE
A big benefit of a responsive website is the way it’s built. By using a responsive template it simply changes your website layout depending on screen size, not device. This means that if in the future we start using the internet on smartwatches or humungous screens, your responsive template will continue to look great.
We’re already seeing a number of businesses move from their old websites to a responsive design, having a mobile-optimised website is no longer a nice to have. Rather it’s now a necessity for businesses of all sizes and can have a real impact on business growth.
What do you think? Is responsive design something you’re considering for your business, perhaps you’ve already made the jump? Share your thoughts below!