Traditional websites, even those developed a few years ago, were not commonly formatted for mobile-display, and do not render well on today’s modern devices. While some industries have been quick to respond by transitioning their company websites to mobile-friendly formats, many decision-makers are still not aware that this is an important issue which can affect the bottom-line of their businesses.
Why is a Mobile-Friendly Website Important?
With more and more visitors accessing your company website on mobile devices, it is important to make sure that all of your visitors have a positive experience, regardless of what type of device they’re using to get there. If your website takes too long to download, or is not easy to use on a mobile device, they may move along to a competitor. Having a mobile-friendly website brings with it several key advantages, including:
Improved search visibility
Improved user experience
Increased lead generation
Improved brand identity
What is a Mobile-Friendly Website?
Generally speaking, a mobile-friendly website is a site that is designed to display properly on smaller screens, such as iPhone or Android smartphones, or intermediate sized tablets. Standard desktop websites do not render well on these devices, whereas a mobile-optimized site adjusts to the smaller screen size and formats the content and interface in a mobile-friendly manner, including:
Larger, easier to read text
Touch-friendly buttons and page elements
Faster download speed
As of April 21, 2015, Google began giving preference to mobile-optimized sites in mobile search results. If even a small portion of your target visitors are on mobile devices, this could be quite significant for your online visibility. Ultimately, the better an experience you can provide for your mobile visitors, the better the chance they will convert into new business. You never know where or when your target visitor will arrive on your site, so it is important that your website is ready to work on any device they may be using, wherever they may be.
How Do I Know Whether Our Company Website is Mobile-Friendly?
Generally speaking, you will be able to tell whether your website is mobile-friendly if it scales to display content and navigation in a way that is optimized to be user-friendly on smaller screens. If you’re not sure, Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test that makes it easy to check – simply enter your URL and Google will tell you whether or not your site fails or passes the test. If it passes – you are in good shape; if it fails you should look into converting your site to a mobile-friendly format sooner rather than later.
What Is Involved with Creating a Mobile-Friendly Website?
If your website is not currently optimized for mobile viewing, converting it into a mobile-friendly format will require some level of development. Unfortunately, there is no simple switch you can flip to make your site instantly mobile-optimized. However, if your current website is well-designed, well-coded, and utilizes a database-driven content management system (CMS), the process may be as simple as updating your existing page templates. In other cases, your site may require more significant development and will need to be rebuilt in some fashion. In either case, you can maintain your existing design scheme and content, or if you’ve been contemplating a redesign anyhow, combining a design upgrade with a mobile-friendly update is a practical opportunity to elevate your organization’s entire web presence in one consolidated effort.
The two most common approaches to mobile websites are to either design a separate mobile site optimized for handheld devices, or to develop your main site so that it utilizes a “responsive design” that scales to any screen size. While there may be particular cases where a separate mobile site may make sense, responsive design has increasingly become the modern standard. Having a single website that scales across all devices – from desktop down to tablet and handheld – may be more involved to develop up-front, but over time the improved efficiency of maintaining a single site, rather than two, is undeniable.
So What Next?
If you are contemplating a mobile update and/or redesign for your company website, you will most likely need to coordinate planning with a qualified web developer. If you would like a complementary assessment of your organization’s website, feel free to contact us using the form below and we will be happy to provide you with recommendations and estimates for turning your website into an efficient, modern business tool.