The life of an online entrepreneur is never dull and just when you think you have created the best website in the world, along comes the mobile revolution.The mobile revolution has changed the way we look at websites, the way we use them and the way traditional websites are set up. Without a mobile website it is fair to say that you will be dead in the water in the long-term. So, what are the benefits of optimising your website for mobile use?
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Optimise for Mobile devices
A recent report by Statista, confirmed that more than 50% of worldwide Internet traffic in 2018 came from mobile devices. This is a trend which is set to continue with mobile phones and smart devices taking over. The bottom line is, unless you have a working mobile website, you could your potential market by more than 50%. There are a number of issues to take into consideration when reviewing your mobile internet footprint such as:
Due to screen sizes and the set-up of mobile devices, the vast majority of website designs will not cut it. Meaning, they will be incompatible with smart phones and smart devices. Responsive design is the way forward. This will enable your website to automatically change its dimensions to suit the device upon which it is been viewed. This ensures that as much of the screen as possible is used. It also maximises the working space, and makes it easier to read and view images.
When accessing the Internet via a mobile device, sometimes a website looks different from the PC/laptop version. This is because many companies have taken the decision to create two parallel websites. There is one for use on large screen devices such as PCs and laptops, and another for small screen smart mobile devices. This can be expensive but if carried out correctly, it can put you head and shoulders above the competition. To optimise your mobile website, you may need to remove some images and interactive code from your base design.
PC and laptop sales in decline
Over the last decade we have seen a significant reduction in sales of PCs and laptops. While mobile/smart device access to the Internet is taking over. Some modern day laptops are extremely compact and very efficient, but they don’t offer the same mobility as smart phones. This trend is unlikely to change as the graphics, reliability, speed and already enhanced user experience of mobile websites continues to improve.
Optimising images and text
It is all good and well customers accessing your website on the move but in order to benefit from this increased mobility you need to perfect the user experience. If you access a non-mobile website on your smart phone you will probably notice it takes a long time to load various images. The optimisation of images and text is an integral part of the ongoing success and ongoing move towards the use of smart devices. This ensures that images are minimised and text is loaded as efficiently as possible so as to keep the attention of each visitor. If a visitor is made to wait for text and images to load they will simply look elsewhere and you will lose their business.
Along with a responsive website design, optimisation of images and text it is vital that you make the navigation process as simple as possible. There is a trend towards drop-down menus, meaning less information is loaded at the onset, with a simple click opening up a vast array of options. This ensures that your website looks clean, the viewing screen does not look cluttered and a visitor can see where to go via visual prompts.
We have all been in situations where a menu system is complicated, it is not clear how to get to your chosen product and in the end you simply give up. The navigation process of your website is as important as the responsive/mobile website design. Just because it looks pretty, catches the eye and loads quickly, does not mean your work is done!
Impacting search engine results
All search engines are now able to review your website in an instant. After, their algorithm determines if it is mobile friendly or not. If your original website design is responsive and mobile friendly, or you have introduced a stand-alone mobile website, how would you imagine the search engines will respond to this? When you consider that the likes of Google are committed to improving the experience of all Internet surfers, offering a slick mobile site as well as a high quality PC/laptop design ticks all of the boxes. You will find a new friend in Google…
It is also worth noting that when searching for websites via a smart device, such as a mobile phone, the search engines can adapt the results accordingly. Due to detection software they know that you are using a mobile device and therefore websites with mobile friendly designs will rank higher than those deemed mobile unfriendly. It is the harsh reality of online life but if you don’t move with the times you will be left behind. We know that the likes of Google take mobile device compatibility very seriously and include this in their search engine algorithm rankings.
Staying ahead of the competition
Embrace the development of a new, faster and more efficient mobile Internet network to stay ahead of the competition. While the date may slip, the UK is expected to have a 5G network by 2020. This will revolutionise Internet access and speeds via mobile devices. Slowly but surely the nails are being hammered into the coffin of landline Internet. Simply because more funds gets invested in their mobile counterpart.
So, in order to maintain your position in the business world, you must plan ahead for the future. In many ways we have gone past the point of no return. Millions of people around the world are happy to access websites on smart devices and even undertake transactions. Greater focus on SSL certificates and the HTTPS protocol has not only ensured it is safe to buy goods and services online but users are now more confident and FEEL SAFE.
In years gone by many people were concerned about using mobile devices due to their “fiddly” keyboard and unhelpful nature. While it is fair to say there have been significant developments in recent times, more user-friendly virtual keyboards, it was only a matter of time before voice recognition and artificial intelligence came into play. There are already services available where you simply talk to your smart phone/device and it will carry out an array of actions. You don’t need to type in website addresses. You don’t need undertake difficult searches. All you need to do is speak to your smart device and hey presto, instant success!
Artificial intelligence by its very nature is a beast which continues to grow, learn and develop. Devices such as the Amazon Echo are now commonplace in homes around the world. They offer a glimpse into the future of voice recognition and artificial intelligence. Once the mobile phone revolution began there was no stopping it. Now, the voice recognition/artificial intelligence revolution has gained traction, there is much more to come. Quite literally we are only scratching the surface.
How does your website look on a mobile device?
It is advisable to scour the Internet and find the best SEO tool which will allow you to check how your website looks like on a PC/laptop as well as an array of mobile smart devices. Thankfully, there is software now available to help with this. It will give you an actual view of how your website looks and interacts on different mobile devices. Over time there will be a number of changes to mobile protocols and coding. So it is advisable to monitor your mobile website on a regular basis. If you need to make tweaks or changes do them quickly to maintain your rankings and reputation.
While there are a number of common webpage design mistakes which impact the value of websites on a mobile device, thankfully upgrades and adjustments are not as expensive as you might think. Competition in the creation of mobile websites is intense and has led to something of a price war. However, in many ways you get what you pay for. It is not always advisable to go for the cheapest option.
It will be interesting to see how mobile Internet traffic increases in the short to medium term. Now it has passed the psychological 50% level. The introduction of 4G has made a big difference to Internet use. In a little while 5G will take it to a different level. The Internet is changing, new trends are emerging and responsive website designs and clear navigation are now vital. The enhanced security created by SSL certificates and HTTPS has allowed this revolution to roll on. If you fail to prepare then you should prepare to fail.