There is a lot of talk about optimizing your website for mobile these days, and for good reason. In 2018, half of all website traffic was generated by mobile phones, and that number is growing. If you want your customers to find you, and to stay on your website, you cannot neglect its mobile version.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when a website designed for desktop is converted to a mobile format. Unfortunately, you will often be unaware that there is a problem until you have already lost visitors, possibly forever.
Why optimizing for mobile is important
There are two major advantages of having a mobile-friendly website:
- Your customers won’t abandon your website due to frustration
- Search engines will rank your website higher in search results
Turning up in search results is, of course, important to help new visitors find you. However, it is equally important that they stay on the website and see what you have to offer.
The mobile experience can be what makes or breaks a deal. 40% of eCommerce customers will turn to a competitor if they find your website difficult to work with. What’s more, if your page loads slowly it can result in a 97% mobile shopping cart abandonment. How slow is too slow? Google estimates that visitors will give your website 3 seconds to load before moving on to “greener pastures”.
Do you need to improve your website?
How do you know if your website is up to par? How urgent is it?
Google Analytics can show you which devices your visitors are using. Underneath the tab named Audience, you will find Mobile. Under Mobile, choose Overview. Here you will see how many of your visitors are using desktop, mobile, or tablet devices. What’s more, you can also see important data such as the bounce rates and length of session durations for these devices.
If you find that the bounce rate for mobile users is significantly higher than that of desktop users, you absolutely have a problem.
What is wrong with your website?
Here are some tips on how to find out why your website is performing poorly. These are free resources readily available and they will analyse your website and let you know about any shortcomings.
- Google’s mobile-friendly test will have a look at your website and let you know if your website is suited for mobile users. It’s a great sign if you are in the green here.
- PageSpeed Insights analyses your website’s mobile and desktop versions. It provides you with a grade out of 100 and feedback on how to improve. If you have an issue on desktop, that same issue will likely turn up on mobile as well.
- GTmetrix reviews your website and grades it in comparison to the average website. It will also provide you with some feedback as to what needs to be improved.
Remember to also run some of your competitors through these tests and compare the results. If their websites are performing poorly, then you have a great opportunity on your hands. If you are falling behind, then you absolutely need to work on catching up.
Common issues and easy fixes
When building a website your focus should be on ease of use and consistency. The fewer actions a customer must take to complete a transaction, the better. If your website was not designed with this in mind, it might be worth considering changing the design itself.
However, there are issues that pop up more frequently than others, even on otherwise well-designed websites. Luckily, some are easy to fix even if you are not a programmer.
Image size and format can make a huge difference in your website’s loading speed. Obviously, nobody wants grainy low-resolution images. However, large high-quality images take a long time to load and will slow down the speed of your website considerably.
Therefore, make sure that the images on your website look nice but are not larger than they are displayed on the website. Using a 2000×2000 pixel image but only displaying it at 200×200 pixels means it is going to take a lot longer to load than necessary. Additionally, use next-gen formats such as JPEG 2000, rather than regular JPG, as they compress the images more efficiently.
If you want visitors to read the information that you have written, you must make it easy for them to do so. Some fonts are simply difficult to read, especially in long paragraphs. Cursive fonts might be pretty, but they are going to slow down the visitor’s reading speed. Fonts such as Helvetica and Arial are easier to read for everyone, including people with dyslexia.
Font size is also important. Nobody likes squinting while they read, after all. If visitors have to zoom in on the page to be able to decipher the text, then you need to make changes.
The first thing that most visitors will notice once your website loads is the colour scheme. Bright yellow on a magenta background won’t win you any design contests, but there are other reasons why the colours on your website matter.
It is, simply put, a matter of accessibility. People with colour blindness or low vision often find low colour contrast websites difficult to navigate. Similarly, a contrast that’s too strong risks giving your visitor a headache.
It is quite common that a well-designed desktop version of a website adapts poorly to the small, narrow screens of mobiles. Additionally, most users have a harder time navigating when their finger is covering part of the screen. So, don’t cramp up your buttons and other interactive elements. Leave some space around them, your mobile users will definitely appreciate this.
These are some of the more common and easily fixed problems. However, there may be some issues that you will be unable to fix yourself. If this is the case, then letting a skilled third party have a look at your website can be a sound investment.