5 reasons you need to optimize your website for mobile

By | February 16, 2015

The smartphone revolution is driving huge amounts of traffic. Expectations have changed. If you have not optimized your website for mobile, then it could be harming your business. If you’re still resisting a redesign, or focusing your efforts on mobile apps instead, here are five reasons you should think again.


Mobile traffic is overtaking the desktop



In the summer of 2014 comScore’s report revealed that smartphones and tablets account for 60 percent of U.S. digital media time. The vast majority of that, 52 percent, is mobile apps, which leaves a still sizable 8 percent from mobile web browsing, with desktop surfing accounting for the other 40 percent.

That might lead you to think that apps are the answer, but when we looked at how people are spending time on mobile devices, we found that the results are heavily skewed by incredibly popular apps like Facebook. It’s not easy to get users to download and use your app.

If we take a look at the data in this Search Engine Watch article we find that almost 50 percent of traffic for Google and leading online retailer Amazon comes from mobile and that figure is rising. It concludes that even if you have an app, your mobile website will continue to receive a significant amount of traffic.

A report from Merkle RKG revealed that mobile accounted for 42 percent of organic search visits and 52 percent of social media referrals in the last quarter of 2014.


People are spending money on mobile



Shopping on mobile is fast-becoming big business. An IMRG Capgemini report found that 52 percent of traffic to retail websites in the UK comes from smartphones or tablets, and 36 percent of online sales are completed on mobile devices.

As banking apps and mobile payments take off, the confidence level in making purchases on mobile devices is soaring, but it has to be easy.


Create a positive impression of your brand

If you expect consumers to engage with your brand then you need to present a united front and deliver a good experience across the board. Consumers shop through smartphones, PCs, tablets, laptops, and store visits. They expect to be able to switch between these options and find what they need. A good experience on mobile won’t necessarily score an immediate sale, but it could encourage the consumer to visit your website again on a PC, or come into a store.


People research on mobile

According to Nielsen’s U.S. Digital Consumer Report, there are lots of activities that shoppers complete on mobile devices, including using them to locate stores, doing price comparisons, researching items they’ll buy later, referring to lists, reading reviews, using coupons or discounts, and commenting on purchases on social media.


Give them a bad mobile experience and you lose them

website for mobile


If your website is tough to read or use on a mobile device then the visitor is going to leave. Google says that bounce rate doesn’t factor into your search ranking, but you obviously want people to stick around. If that potential customer finds your rival’s website more attractive or easier to use, then you’ve lost them.

You also need to make it as easy as possible to complete a purchase. Shopping cart abandonment rates are notoriously high, topping 70 percent according to Listrak. But it’s worth remembering that for mobile, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost the sale because many consumers will complete it later on a desktop or in a retail store. Either way you need to make the experience as easy and smooth as possible.

As you can see, optimizing for mobile is about a lot more than scoring direct sales. Ultimately if you don’t provide an optimized mobile website, there’s no telling what level of business you’re missing out on.

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About Simon Hill

Simon is an experienced freelance technology journalist covering mobile technology, software, and videogames for a wide variety of clients in print and online. He regularly contributes to Digital Trends, Tech Radar, and Android Authority, and he ghostwrites for CEOs in the technology space. After completing a Masters in Scottish History at Edinburgh University, he began his career as a games tester, progressing to lead tester, game designer, and finally producer, before leaving the industry to write full time. He is passionate about the potential for good software and hardware to improve our lives, and strongly believes that thorough testing is a vital prerequisite for greatness.