If you're like me, your phone is one of the first things you'll reach for in the morning. It’s also the last thing I glance at before going to sleep.
There’s little point in denying that our smartphones have taken over a large chunk of everyday life. They are used to set timers, check the weather, write to-do lists, take photographs, make bank transfers, map out journeys, watch movies, buy clothes, play games, read the news, listen to music and meet potential partners. Sometimes, they are even used to call people (shock, horror). In an era where the population is at risk from “text neck”, we are relying on our handheld devices more than ever before.
In 2015 Google announced the volume of mobile searches surpassed desktop for the first time. Every second, millions of people ask Google for help and the majority of these search enquiries are now coming in by mobile. Each month in the UK alone, we are spending on average an eye-watering 66 hours searching for stuff on our phones.
This shift in behaviour forced Google to re-evaluate its ranking system that typically looked at the desktop version of a webpage’s content, rather than its mobile counterpart which may differ. In 2016, they announced the launch of their mobile-first indexing in order to make their search results more relevant for their users.
So now that the digital world has officially gone mobile, what does this mean for marketing? It was only in 2015 that 68% of retailers did not have a mobile investment strategy. In the current digital landscape, this is no longer an option. For example, if a mobile-user lands on your website that isn’t mobile optimised, they are going to have a bad user experience right from the outset. Even if they’ve managed to navigate to your contact page, they might struggle to submit a form or simply read your contact details to get in touch.
Users will leave your website within seconds if you don't provide a great mobile UX. Lost business and bad for your brand plus #badforSEO [ Tweet This ]
To help you get you “mobile-ready”, we have a few tips that you can follow and share.
This may sound like an obvious one but it often gets overlooked and becoming mobile-friendly isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, the Marks and Spencer website notoriously failed Google’s online test. If you are planning a new website, make sure you are working with your creative agency on a mobile responsive design from the outset. To check if your existing website is user-friendly on a smartphone, enter your URL here: https://website.grader.com/. Or you can, like M&S before you, use the Google test: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
If your website fails the test, the reasons can often be simple and relatively quick to fix, such as:
For a longer-term mobile strategy, there are various options you can take:
The speed of your website has always been important to optimise the user experience and improve your search engine ranking. Heavy sites will load even slower on mobile, especially when reliant on 3G networks, and this will put people off. According to research, a ONE second delay in page loading time could result in:
Hubspot’s website grader is a useful tool that will also give you an indication of your site’s speed as well as provide some good suggestions as to how to make improvements.
Five common speed problems, and how to fix them, are listed below:
Again, this might seem an obvious recommendation but optimising content for mobile can get overlooked during its creation on a desktop. Remember that practically all content you develop will probably be viewed on a smartphone so it’s wise to get into the habit of creating it ready for mobile from the get-go.
Some helpful suggestions for mobile-ready content are:
Although webpages might be shorter for mobile, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your users will leave quicker. Use this opportunity to think about how they should travel through your site and what their experience will be like at every stop. You want your visitors to engage with the various links and resources available on the page. This is an important signal for search engines so offer them lots of goodies: free info, recipes, how-to guides and so on. While you are ultimately making the changes to your website to improve your users’ experience on mobile, it is worth bearing in mind that every additional second they spend on your site will improve your search engine rankings so keep the user journey entertaining and informative.
We could write an entire essay on how to improve the online user experience and so that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Watch this space for our blog later in the year that will offer advice on what can be done to make a website memorable for all the right reasons.