My Site Doesn’t Work on Mobile
So you’re telling me that you own a business and your site doesn’t work on mobile? In this day and age, that will destroy your business. If you can relate to this, keep reading. If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m writing about what your site not being mobile friendly does to your business. This post is the second installment of my series: What’s Destroying My Business Online. I’m breaking it into three parts: The Case for Mobile, Why Your Site Doesn’t Work on Mobile, and How You Can Fix It.
The Case for Mobile
Statista reports that mobile traffic accounts for more than 42% of all website traffic in the US. That increases further if you are a business to consumer (B2C) company. In my experience, I have only worked on two websites since 2014 that have had more desktop traffic than mobile. Those numbers have only increased. Most of my recent findings on sites I work with show mobile traffic accounting for around 57% of all website traffic.
To build on those statistics, Search Engine Land is reporting that nearly 60% of mobile searches are coming from mobile devices. To add even more, Google penalizes sites for not being mobile friendly.
Do I really need to elaborate any more on why you need to be mobile optimized? If you’re missing or ticking off half of the people that are seeking businesses like yours, you will lose to the competition. Think of how many sales you would have scored if your site just worked better on a phone.
Why Your Site Doesn’t Work on Mobile
Now that you know why your site should work on mobile, let’s take a look at why your site doesn’t work on mobile. More often than not, I can break down the issues of a mobile site into five categories:
- Your Content Doesn’t Work
- Videos and Images Cause Horizontal Scrolling
- Your Site is Slow
- You Can’t Find Anything
- The Site Doesn’t Change with Your Screen
Your Content Doesn’t Work
Your content not working for mobile is an issue that comes from not understanding users (the people using your website) and what they are looking for when using a mobile device like a phone or a tablet. It is not uncommon for people to change content so that it only shows or hides for mobile devices. If your website makes regular tasks on your site impossible because of content changes, your site doesn’t work on mobile.
Videos and Images Cause You to Scroll Horizontally
Videos and images breaking a layout is my biggest pet peeve on websites today. Your site doesn’t work on mobile if your images or videos cause users to scroll horizontally. Please fix this. Now!
Nobody wants to have the images, graphics, or videos that they are viewing cut off by the side of their screen. It impedes the goal of the site user and they, in turn, will leave or move on.
Your Site is Slow
Your site doesn’t work on mobile because it’s slow. This problem is a complete traffic killer, especially on a mobile device. Typically, you lose about half of the traffic that hits your page if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This problem amplifies on mobile devices. Mobile devices frequently run on networks that are slower than most wifi services. That makes sites that operate around that 3-second mark on desktop come in significantly slower on mobile devices. People are impatient. Don’t make them wait and they will reward you with their time.
Did I mention Google also hits you for slower page speeds? That’s right; slower sites show up lower in the Google rankings. You can now start losing sleep about how people can’t find your business online because of how slow your site is.
You Can’t Find Anything
If people have trouble finding what they’re looking for on the mobile version of your site, your website doesn’t work on mobile. I will be touching on this more in-depth in a later post in this series about unclear navigation. Users need to be able to find what they are interested in on your site. This content needs to be organized effectively for people to find what they’re looking for. If they can’t find it, they will leave, and consequently, you will not have the opportunity to offer your products or services. Keeping clear navigation and site structure is imperative for making your site mobile-friendly.
The Site Doesn’t Change with Your Screen
If your site doesn’t change with your screen size, your site doesn’t work on mobile. This problem often occurs when the site was created by a standard Do-It-Yourself service like Weebly or something similar. It may also mean that your site was designed before mobile became all the rage (if that’s the case, feel free to get in touch with me). This issue is what I like to call the pinch and scroll dilemma. Basically, a user has to pinch to zoom in on pertinent information. They then scroll both horizontally and vertically to bring their desired content into focus. It’s a problem, and it drives people mad.
How You Can Fix It
Basically, the best way to fix any of these issues is going to be to get with a web professional that knows what they’re doing. Here’s what you need to look for in that web professional:
- Someone that understands Responsive Design
- Someone that understands the Mobile First methodology
You can also throw in some people that know about other emerging technologies like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), but the people that do that are few and far between as it is early in its adoption. If you go that route, it would probably be best to ensure you have a large budget to go with it. For the rest of us, it will be more common to build a responsive website. Let me elaborate on that for you.
Responsive design is a practice that Ethan Marcotte created around 2011. It is a technique that uses what are known as liquid grids and media queries. More or less, it measures with the width of your screen. Then it alters the layout of your site slightly as your browser resizes. This technique has been made very popular by development frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap and Zurb Foundation. Today, many websites use these frameworks. It has been made common practice and leads the charge for creating sites and content that work on your mobile device. What I’m saying here, is that this is what makes websites work on mobile. If your site doesn’t use responsive design, it is highly likely your site doesn’t work on mobile.
Mobile First Methodology
The Mobile First methodology is a way to look at responsive design from a perspective that mobile should be the first consideration. This perspective is important as a majority of web traffic is flowing towards being mobile. It was first talked about by Luke Wroblewski, who is currently a product designer with Google. Basically, this technique changes the mindflow of how designers should be thinking about the people that are visiting their sites. It made enormous strides for website usability and how we design for the web. Using this methodology ensures that your site will be mobile friendly because that was the initial intent of the design.
Make sure your web designer/developer understands those two principles to make sure your site your site works on mobile. Or, I can make it easy on you and you can feel free to give me a call or head over to my getting started section.
Wrapping It All Up
Let’s wrap this thing up. We’ve gone over why your site should work on mobile, reasons why your site doesn’t work on mobile, and a couple of basic ways it can be addressed. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.