Why your website must be mobile friendly

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The recent Sense roadshows, and the interactive session I ran looking at adviser’s websites, emphasised how few are mobile friendly.

In many ways, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. In my experience, once built, most websites are rarely looked at again.

Mobile friendliness is something I’ve been talking to advisers about for a while; but I’ve never written anything on the subject, so here goes.

First things first, I should make it clear that for ease, when I refer to ‘mobile’ I am including tablets, phones, in fact any mobile device in that definition. Google Analytics however, helpfully breaks down the visitors to your site by desktop, mobile and tablet.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s start with a simple question: Why is it important your site is mobile friendly?

Reason #1: User experience

My research shows that 30% of people will visit your website using a mobile or tablet; up from 26% this time last year, with visits from mobile phones showing the sharpest rise.

A quick trip over to Google Analytics, will show you the exact percentage for your site. If you don’t have Analytics, it’s free and invaluable; go get it now!

Research has shown that visitors are five times more likely to leave your site if it isn’t mobile friendly. 30% is a large proportion of your visitors to annoy, or simply send to another adviser’s website.

With these stats in mind and the fact the number of visitors using mobile devices is increasing; it’s vital that visitors can easily read your content, interact with your site and take calls to action.

Reason #2: Keeping Google happy

Google is placing ever greater emphasis on the mobile friendliness of your site, when deciding where to place you in search results.

In April 2015 Google Search was launched, which increased its use of mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.

This will soon be followed up by Google Mobile-First Indexing, which is currently undergoing testing. This update will put the needs of the mobile device user ahead of the desktop browser. Over time, it will mean Google’s algorithms will primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank pages from the site.

It’s clear which direction Google is taking. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or the content on your mobile site is in some way less comprehensive than the desktop version, you can expect to see a reduction in website traffic due to a downgrade in the placement of your site within Google search results.

It’s crucial you take steps so you’re not left behind.

How can you tell if your site is mobile friendly?

Google has a simple tool which will tell you.

Visit https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/ enter your website address and it will give your site a score out of 100.

That’s only half the job though, you need to take action based on the results.

“My site isn’t mobile responsive, what should I do?”

In a word; catch-up, which means amending your site to ensure it is mobile friendly or starting from scratch and building a new site.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to address any other issues there may be with your site, which will improve its overall effectiveness.

In my experience, a complete rebuild can be as cost effective as a large number of amendments and avoids the inevitable compromises which come with changing an existing site.

“My site is mobile responsive, what do you need to do?”

If your website is already mobile friendly and the content on your mobile site is identical to the desktop version (for the huge majority of advisers this will be the case) you can tick this job off your to do list.

But, you can’t sit back, there’s something else which needs your attention.

Site speed

The speed of your website, in other words, the time it takes to load a page, is the next thing for you to check.

The reasons to do this will now be familiar to you; the user experience and keeping Google happy.

Research shows that three quarters of people will abandon a website if the page takes longer than five seconds to load. Mobile users show even less patience.

Google also includes site speed within its site ranking algorithm; the quicker your site, the better.

The tool I gave you earlier will also test the speed of your site. Again, I’d recommend using it and addressing any issues with your site speed which it highlights.

Don’t get left behind

It’s clear both Google and consumers are placing increasing emphasis on mobile devices; advisers need to keep up.

If you’re not to be left behind, checking your site, and taking appropriate action, is a job which needs to be added near the top of your ‘to do list’.

If you have any questions or queries about this blog, or would like to understand more about whether your site is mobile friendly, please do get in touch.

My number is 07785 284429; I’m always happy to chat.

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