My-website-doesnt-work-on-a-mobile

 

My website doesn’t work on a mobile: how much business could I lose?

Posted on June 13, 2016

 

At Engage Web, we’ve been banging the mobile website drum for several years now. We know how important it is that a website works perfectly on a mobile phone, and every website we design and build is mobile friendly (or responsive, to give it its technical name). We know that, in a lot of industries, more searches are being made on mobiles than on desktops and, when you combine mobiles and tablets, the search volume eclipses that of desktop across the board.

Yet still many business owners have websites that do not work properly on a mobile phone. Quite frankly, we find that inconceivable.

So why do so many business owners just not bother making their websites mobile friendly? In most cases, it’s a very simple thing to do. If the website has been well built to begin with, and uses style sheets and divs (instead of inline styles and tables) then making it responsive could cost less than £200.

You don’t necessarily need a new website at all.

So why hasn’t everyone done it?

It can only be that business owners don’t think it’s worth it, that the cost of doing it won’t be outweighed by the gains. Perhaps they feel they don’t get a lot of business from mobile users, so there’s little point making the website mobile friendly. Or perhaps they believe their clients and customers wouldn’t use their mobile phones to make an enquiry or purchase. Maybe they just don’t get anything through their websites at all, so don’t feel the need to spend any money on it.

Perhaps they’ve even looked at their Google Analytics and seen that very few mobile users actually access their website in the first place.

Whatever the reason, they’re wrong. All of them. Without exception.

How can we be so sure?

First off, and this alone should be a reason to ensure your website is mobile friendly, your rankings on a mobile search are affected by whether or not your website works properly on a mobile. Google made this change to its ranking algorithm back on April 21st, 2015. It was dubbed Mobilegeddon (you may remember it).

Google further increased the importance of mobile in its update for May 2016, where it promised that websites that were not mobile friendly would be further punished in mobile search.

woman-using-smartphone

What this means, in simple terms, is “if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it won’t rank as high in Google”.

As we said, that should be reason enough to ensure your website works on a mobile. Obviously, however, it’s not for some people. Luckily, we have many more reasons – some of which are measurable in business.

Social traffic

Whether or not you’re a big user of social media, your clients and customers are. Additionally, most people who use Facebook on a daily basis do so from a mobile device. Stats from Facebook for Q4 2015 revealed that 90% of Facebook’s daily active users do so from a mobile device. This means that any traffic your website receives from Facebook, or other social media websites, is most likely to come along using a mobile.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, they won’t stay on your website and they certainly won’t buy from you or enquire with you.

If you intend to ever use Facebook Ads or Sponsored Tweets, your website has to be made mobile friendly, otherwise you’re just wasting your money. Without going too much off at a tangent, I recently saw an ad via Instagram (an almost exclusively mobile-accessed service now owned by Facebook) for a product I was interested in. It must have been targeted to me either based on Facebook pages I had liked or on interests I had added to Facebook. Anyway, when I clicked on the ad, I was taken to a website that wasn’t mobile friendly where I had to pinch to read any of the text. Additionally, the website didn’t even sell to the UK – it was US only.

A lot of people make these expensive mistakes.

Some examples of mobile v desktop traffic

At Engage Web, we’re in the enviable position of being able to see the Google Analytics to a very large number of business websites, across a vast array of different industries. The majority of these websites are responsive (mobile friendly), as we designed and built many of them. Many of the ones we didn’t design are also responsive.

Additionally, we have made a great number of websites responsive when they weren’t originally designed to be so.

Some of the websites, however, are not responsive. For whatever reason, the website owners do not want to have them made responsive – despite advice to the contrary.

The analytics data for these websites shows us the split of visits from mobiles, tablets and desktops – so we can see how a mobile-friendly website receives, in many cases, more visits from mobile phones than it does from desktops.

For example, the below image shows the traffic for our website for the month of May 2016.

ew-stats

As you can see, 52.39% of our traffic comes from mobiles, 5.01% from tablets and just 42.59% from desktop devices. That’s almost a 60/40 split between mobile and tablets, and desktop computers. If our website weren’t mobile friendly, we wouldn’t get the number of visits we currently get from mobile devices.

But you don’t just want to see our stats, do you? Of course not – so here’s the same period for the website onlinelearningacademy.co.uk.

ola-stats

You can see the traffic levels and splits are practically identical. We’ll freely admit, however, that these two websites are in very similar industries. Perhaps websites in different industries would show different results. Therefore, here is the same period for an outdoor entertainment and activity client (we won’t name them, because that’s confidential).

bb-stats

Their website is responsive and it sells experience days. As you can see, the website receives more visits from desktop computers than from mobiles but, when you add up the mobile and tablet data, you’ll see that more people are accessing this website on a mobile or tablet than they are via a desktop machine.

If the client’s website didn’t work perfectly on mobiles and tablets, they wouldn’t get this traffic.

But what about a website that isn’t responsive? What would their traffic look like?

cd-stats

This website is an online retailer of high-end furniture. Some of the products on this website sell for tens of thousands of pounds. Despite this, the website isn’t mobile friendly. It was developed a long time ago and the business owner doesn’t want to invest in making the website responsive. As you can see, over 40% of the website’s visits come from mobiles and tablets combined, with less than 18% being from mobiles. None of these visitors using the mobile are able to use the website properly. Additionally, if the website were to be made mobile-friendly, the number of visits the website receives from mobiles would increase.

Remember what we told you about Google’s algorithm and how a website being mobile friendly was a ranking factor for mobile search?

Google essentially wants the same thing your customers and clients want: to find a website that works on any device they happen to be searching. If your website is mobile friendly, then people using mobiles can effectively use it – therefore Google will rank it higher.

It’s not rocket science.

What about my website?

Hopefully, you have Google Analytics installed on your website. If not, you should do that now. How can you expect to increase the business you get through your website if you have no idea what it currently does or where it comes from?

If you do, great. Look at the traffic you’re currently getting from different platforms. You’ll find the section in your Analytics account in Audience > Mobile > Overview. If your website is mobile friendly, you should expect to see, at the very least, around 50% of your traffic coming from mobiles and tablets. Some industries should be more. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you may see your mobile and tablet traffic is a lot less. This should be troubling for you, especially as it is only going to get worse.

How can it get worse?

Simple – the use of smartphones and tablets is increasing. Meanwhile, the use of desktops and laptops for search is, in direct proportion, decreasing.

Let’s look at some stats.

It’s expected there will be 42.4 million smartphones in use in the UK by the end of 2016, which will increase to 46.4 million by the end of 2018.

smartphones-in-the-uk

The more smartphones in use, the more people will be using them to search instead of a desktop or laptop. Additionally, the more people get used to using smartphones for searching and internet use, the more people will get used to making business enquiries and purchasing through their smartphones.

And, of course, the more Google will prioritise mobile-friendly websites over ones that do not work properly on a phone or tablet.

Don’t just take our word for it, read what Smart Insights is saying about mobile internet.

Conclusion

In summary, reasons you should have your website made mobile friendly are:

  • Rank higher in Google for mobile search
  • Potentially double your current traffic, perhaps increase it by even more than that
  • Safeguard yourself against further changes by Google to penalise non-mobile websites
  • Take advantage of the increasing growth of smartphones and tablets over the coming years
  • Don’t lose out on social media traffic that comes from mobile

If you want your website to be made mobile friendly, drop us an email. In most cases, it can be done very quickly and easily. You’ve nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Darren Jamieson

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 15 years’ experience in these fields.

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