Your Website Needs to be Mobile Optimized - Responsive
50+% of your site traffic comes from smartphones. It's time to get responsive.
Last month, my real job (yep, still got one of those) received more web traffic from phones than it did desktop computers. And this is a legal site where visitors are coming to learn some pretty technical info; the sort of in-depth stuff you'd think could only be mentally processed on a desktop screen. Mind blown.
It's really amazing how quickly mobile has taken over desktop and it should make you wonder:
"Is my website doing enough for the mobile user?"
Chances are, it's not. It used to be that not having a website at all was a dumb move. Now, having a website that doesn't accommodate the multitude of phone screens is an even stupider move (thankfully, you're here and will learn to correct your mobile-usability).
Mobile Subdomain or Responsive Layout?
You want to upgrade your website to a new level of mobile-friendliness but you're not sure how to approach the change. Do you leave your desktop site as is and point all mobile traffic to a subdomain specifically for phones (m.website.com) -OR- do you make the desktop version of your site automatically responsive dependent on screen size?
Here's my advice: never put out a watered down version of your website on a subdomain that forces visitors to view a horribly curated mockup of your primary website. Think your subdomain will be better than every other awful mobile site you already despise? It won't be. Don't do it.
- Your visitors can't access all of the information your desktop version offers. If it's not that important for mobile viewers, it's not worth having on your site at all.
- Nothing feels or looks the same going from a desktop version of your site to a mobile version. Your returning visitors will feel lost, annoyed, and leave.
- You'll end up doing twice the work and spending twice the money to put out a mobile specific website.
- You will lose phone traffic to your competitors who are doing mobile the right way.
Instead of creating two versions of the website you already have, reconfigure your existing website to responsively adapt to changing screen sizes. With this approach, your visitors still get all of the information they expect to see without having to relearn your site or dig through buried menus and links.
With a responsive layout, your website will automatically arrange content in a manner that's best suited for mobile viewing. You can optionally hide images that look pretty on a desktop but waste space on phones. Stack content that would naturally appear side-by-side, condense menus (still allowing full access), and eliminate side to side scrolling.
As an example of the mobile responsive approach, drag your screen to it's smallest possible width (or turn your phone sideways) and watch how my webpage adapts to the shrinking size. If you move to another page on the site (either the home page or the services page) the effect will be more dramatic than a single post page like this one.
Do you see how this approach is more user-friendly than trying to recreate a watered down version of the site that fits on a smaller screen?
You Can't Ignore Your Mobile Visitors Anymore
Seriously. In a few months time to a year at the latest, your own website will be getting more visits from mobile phones than it will from laptops and regular old computers. People use their phones for just about everything now: shopping, emailing, web browsing, ordering food, paying bills, you name it....a smartphone can do it.
That, and phones are always with us. Most of us, including your own web visitors, never let them leave their side. They're practically attached to us...some people even sleep with their phones.
Start Getting Mobile-Friendly Yesterday
It's time to adapt and start focusing more on how mobile users interact with your website. When phone internet use becomes the highest percentage of all web traffic, doesn't it make sense that you're ready for it? Plenty of websites, including the one I work for with hundreds of thousands of views, have already seen phone browsing surpass desktop use. Do not fall behind the trend, it's only going to increase.
But more than being ready for it, you need to learn how your existing mobile users interact with your website. You need to figure out what information they expect to see at the top of each page, how they will logically try to find more information and the best techniques for retaining your mobile traffic.
Spend some time and invest in optimizing your website for mobile traffic. Ignoring your phone users could be costing you more than you know.
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