With the explosion of smart phones and tablet sales globally, mobile device usage has become extremely common, and it is on the rise. Moreover, people frequently take to their mobile devices to find answers about products, services, brands and more. Yet, when they search for your business will they load a mobile-friendly website?
New research on small business websites suggests that nearly a third of small businesses surveyed did not have a mobile-friendly website. Those same business owners who spend the time and money to design and develop a company website are leaving money on the table if that site does not accommodate mobile users.
Here’s a look at several important reasons why your company’s website should be mobile friendly.
More and more people are shopping with mobile devices
In 2013, mobile devices overtook desktop computers as the device of choice for online shopping. The results are telling:
Time spent shopping on mobile devices: 55%
Time spent shopping on desktops and laptops: 45%
For small businesses that sell online, not having a responsive website can negatively impact your bottom line. If mobile users find your user experience clunky, hard to navigate and unattractive you may experience a decline in mobile sales.
30 percent of all web traffic is mobile
You might think, “I don’t care about online shopping, because I don’t sell on the Internet.” Not so fast! Even if you don’t operate an e-commerce business, you could still be leaving money on the table.
In Q4 of 2013, over 30 percent of all worldwide online traffic to North American websites (31.3%) came from mobile devices. That figure has definitely increased in recent years. Slightly over half of that traffic (51%) arose from organic search; a third originated from users entering URLs into browser windows, while another 10% originated from referral links.
Even if your business does not sell online, you are still missing out on a great deal of potential traffic—one third of all worldwide traffic—and are therefore losing out on exposure and potential word of mouth.
Mobile gives a boost to local business
Perhaps you have no use for couponing and global traffic is irrelevant to your business. Well, a mobile friendly website is still important.
Mobile technology is an ideal way to boost your presence locally. By optimizing your site for a customer’s mobile device, you give users more ways to contact you. For instance, a site visitor can click on your address and—in mere moments—your location appears in their Maps app. Site visitors can also click on a Click to Call button and auto dial your number to inquire about hours, prices, product availability, and more.
According to research, approximately 50 percent of the mobile users who searched for a local business on a smartphone actually visited the store, as compared to only 34 percent who conducted similar searches via desktop or tablet. There is a correlation between sales and local searches, as well. Around 18 percent of local smartphone searches result in a sale, while non-local searches account for only 7 percent.
Mobile usage trends are on the upswing
Not only is mobile use overtaking desktop and laptop use, it is making great strides against other types of media as well. In 2013, driven by mobile use, the amount of time adults spent using digital media surpassed time spent watching television for the first time.
Mobile usage alone accounts for more of adult users’ time than does any other single media type except for television.
Customers demand mobile options
In 2012, a Google survey revealed that customers preferred mobile friendly websites to such a degree that the lack of mobile optimization could affect whether they returned to a particular site, and even whether they made a purchase. The results concluded that visitors are:
more likely to return if site is mobile friendly: 74%
likely to leave if site is not mobile friendly: 61%
more likely to buy at a mobile friendly site: 67%
Google is not fond of non-mobile sites
Google may penalize you (i.e. lower the rank of your site in its search engine results pages (SERPs)) if you do not offer your visitors a mobile-friendly site. Why would Google do that?
Google’s primary goal is to provide users with the best search results, most relevant information, and the most optimal web experience possible. Anything that gets in the way of a user’s experience is undesirable.
Mobile is the future. For all of these reasons, and more, it makes perfect sense to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. If not, you are leaving money on the table.
Need to assess your mobile state of affairs? Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test (Bing has one too) to see how you fare. Then use tools like Screenfly to conduct your own responsive screen testing on monitors, tablets, smart phones, and more.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Amanda Soderlund is an Analyst at Clutch, a Washington, DC-based research firm that identifies top services and software firms that deliver results for their clients. She is a part of the marketing team at Clutch that provides relevant and useful research for businesses and consumers looking to procure IT services and software. Amanda frequently writes on topics of web design, digital marketing, and small business. Connect with @clutch_co on Twitter.