Responsive Websites Are The Future
Each time Google updates their ranking algorithm, businesses scramble to adjust. This year is no different – except that a much larger update is taking place. In 2013, Google came out with a 1st generation mobile ranking update – this was to set the stage for this month’s huge April 21st update, where Google will begin rewarding websites that are fully mobile responsive with better rankings.
Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in search results. Google says this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results. The algorithm is now apples to apples (desktop to desktop; mobile to mobile) instead of apples to oranges, (desktop to mobile). Websites that are not yet mobile friendly are going to be pushed out of search results from mobile devices.
So, how does your business embrace Google’s new algorithm in order to generate qualified mobile leads and remain competitive in their market? First, check to see if your website is mobile friendly here, then follow these 4 steps.
1. Understand Why You Need A Mobile Responsive Website
Before digging into your pockets to build a mobile responsive website, you first need to understand why it’s so important. Over 80% of all Internet users own a smart phone and access mobile websites daily. With 48% of all searches starting on mobile devices, it’s imperative that your website be more than just a desktop version.
Also, don’t be sold on the “mobile version” of your website. There is a huge difference between a responsive website and a mobile website.
– A responsive website changes based on the device your prospect uses: meaning your website is not redirected to a mobile version, instead your website morphs and changes in certain ways to adequately align itself with the users device. The content is adjusted properly and not stretched or compacted in order to maintain usability.
– A mobile website is a condensed version of your website that is static; meaning, when your website is accessed via mobile device or tablet, it automatically sends the user to the mobile version instead of the desktop version in an attempt to offer a better user experience.
This would be ok if everyone used only one type of smartphone; but we all know that’s not the case. Your website needs to change based on the device being used to access it.
Now, imagine a prospect visiting your site (non-mobile responsive) and then visiting your competitors website (fully mobile responsive). Your website is hard to read, the wording is small and the images are distorted – it’s not responding to a mobile device. That visiting prospect won’t even click through to the next page. Instead, they are going to explore your competitors website because that user interface and experience is purposely designed to be viewed on a mobile device. Buying behavior has changed, and it’s your business’s responsibility (if you want sales) to keep up with target market preferences.
2. Develop A Mobile Strategy
The beauty of designing and coding a mobile responsive website is the ability to take out or put in different content based on the devices your prospect is using. Content such as a videos, white papers, calls-to-action, navigation and photos all need to be resized or eliminated in order to deliver the best possible user experience. To determine which content you’re going to use, you want to take a look at which content is performing best on your website – the only way to do this is through analyzing your analytics.
Numbers do lie, despite what many people think. We can easily misinterpret high traffic numbers to mean our website is preforming well, when, in reality, 80% to 90% of that traffic could be leaving immediately after landing on our home page. You would have to check your bounce rate for a more accurate traffic gauge – if you have a high bounce rate, it could mean mobile users are being driven to your page, and then driven right back out because it’s unresponsive. High traffic isn’t exactly celebratory if none of it is engaging with our website.
3. Install Google Analytics And Check It Daily
Most company websites have some sort of analytic software already running behind the scenes. However, most companies we build websites for have never checked, or rarely check, their website’s performance.
Understanding your target markets and how they interact with your website is crucial to driving and converting prospects into sales. Over the past 5 years mobile searches have exploded; nearly 50% of all Internet users access company websites on a mobile device first before using their desktop computer. Knowing which content prospects prefer to consume on a mobile device will ensure your company is putting the right message in front of the right user.
Hubspot does a wonderful job of integrating this into their website’s platform with a newly updated COS (content optimization system). Essentially, it delivers the most personalized website experience possible no matter which device the prospect is using. Other platforms, like WordPress, can be designed to do this exact same thing, but they require a bit more coding experience. In the end, it depends on your budget, traffic numbers and business type. Not every company is a good fit for Hubspot.
4. Build A Mobile Responsive Website
Now that we understand the why and how, it’s time to figure out a way to create a fully mobile responsive website. Your first thought may be “Ugh. Now I need two websites!?” But that’s not the case; as we discussed above, your website should be built with the capability to morph depending on which device your visitor is using.
Currently, many businesses still only have a one-dimensional, standard desktop version of their website – which is fine as long as 100% of your prospects/customers are visiting from a desktop computer. But ,as of 2014, the number of mobile users has out-paced the number of desktop users. So it’s safe to say that nearly half, if not most, of your prospects are viewing your website from a mobile device.
In order to build a proper mobile responsive website, we need to analyze your website’s analytics; which pages are viewed most and from which devices? This creates a template for how you want your mobile responsive website to look, feel and flow based upon user consumption.
If there is one thing we urge you to take away from this blog, it’s this: you need a mobile responsive website this year. Not in 2016. Not in a couple years. Now. To this day, some businesses still deny the value of having a strong digital presence. And to that, we honestly question; really? We are a fast, forward-moving, digitally-focused culture, and it’s easier and more affordable than ever to up your digital marketing game. So, unless your plan is to dissipate into thin air, it’s time to get in that game.
There is a lot of information to digest in this ever-evolving digital age, and it can be overwhelming to try and go at it alone. Give us a call or click the button below and we can help your company prepare for this next leap in digital marketing. We offer a free 30 minute digital marketing consultation, no strings attached.May 30, 2017