Across the web, the percentage of mobile visitors continues to climb. According to StatCounter.com, the worldwide share of mobile and tablet traffic is currently around 56%. This is similar to a report BrightEdge released last year showing 57% of traffic in the U.S. was from smartphones and tablets. The exact percentage of mobile visitors will obviously vary from site to site, and from industry to industry, but there is no doubt about the continued growth of mobile traffic.
[On a side note: the numbers above are virtually identical to what my employer saw last month, with approximately 57% of our traffic coming from mobile devices.]
Given this trend, and the number of visitors that will likely be using a mobile device, the importance of a mobile-friendly site is as great as it’s ever been.
The Benefits of Mobile-Friendliness
Why focus on the mobile-friendliness of our website? A few reasons come to mind:
First, and obviously, mobile optimization improves the subjective experience of the user. Consider the last time you pulled up a website on your phone, and had to wait and wait while it loaded; or the time when the layout and architecture of the site made it very difficult to do what needed to be done? How did you feel? Many of us grow frustrated when a site’s mobile experience is slow and cumbersome. By making sure your site is optimized for your mobile visitors, you’re keeping them from experiencing that same frustration.
Another big—and very practical—reason for optimizing for mobile is because it helps lower a site’s bounce rate. Part of being mobile-friendly is ensuring that the site loads quickly on a mobile device. A failure to do this can have significant impact on whether visitors stick around. For instance, in some research conducted by Google, they found that 53% of visits were abandoned if a mobile site took longer than three seconds to load.
Beyond bounce rates, mobile optimization can also affect a site’s position in search rankings. Google has been using page speed in its ranking for a while, but now also considers mobile-friendliness as a major factor, and has begun to roll out Mobile-First Indexing. So, for those who care at all about how their site does in search results, paying attention to mobile performance has become increasingly important.
Assessing Your Site
So, if having a mobile-friendly site helps in all these ways, how do you know if your site is mobile friendly or not?
The best way is to pull it up on your phone or tablet and try to use it. Is it fast? Can you find what you’re looking for? If you experience any frustrations, your visitors will likely experience the same.
Another simple option is to use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, which will fetch and analyze your site, and tell you whether it classifies your site as mobile-friendly or not.
Google also provides a more detailed tool called PageSpeed Insights which will provide a score and detailed information about what can be done to improve your site’s performance. Both of these tools are simple to use, and can help you define how your site currently performs, and the areas which can be improved.
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As mobile traffic continues to rise, taking some time to assess the mobile-friendliness of your current site is well worth the investment. Not only can it help with SEO rankings and bounce rates, but it ultimately serves to make the user experience for your mobile guests as good as it can be.