Mobile first design and why your website is falling behind.

by Dan & Laura
Last updated: May 28th, 2020

Not having a website optimised for mobile causes thousands of business owners to lose out on up to 50% of potential sales. Every. Single. Day.

Okay that sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. 

Websites not optimised for mobile are seriously hampered because they’re not offering the best experience to what is likely to be their largest audience.

I (Laura) recently audited a website for a small and awesome, doggy loving company based here in Chichester. When I mentioned that many of the elements of the site didn’t look quite as good as they should or didn’t function properly on mobile, I was asked “do people buy products on mobile? I personally wouldn’t”. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this response, so rather than just give a blanket “yes, absolutely”, we took a dive into Google Analytics – It turned out that 68% of their website visitors are browsing on a mobile device. 

Mobile can be easy to overlook. As business owners a desktop computer or laptop tends to be where we are sat all day and how we digest content on the web. 

For us as web professionals, it is our duty to make sure we cater for everyone; the only way to do this is to start where most people are and work our way up. In our world, this is called mobile first. Too often websites are designed and built desktop first, leaving mobile as an afterthought.

With the majority of people browsing the web on a mobile device, this is a costly mistake.

More people browse the web on mobile than any other device

In March 2020, 49.15% of all UK web traffic came from a mobile device. What really blew us away is that according to research undertaken in 2019 by Statista, only 24% of all UK households even owned some kind of desktop device – meaning 76% of all web traffic is up for grabs, and where are most of them?

They are on a mobile device. 

In our 24/7 connected world, most people are attached to their phone; it’s within reach every moment of the day, our first port of call, an extension of our arm. Optimising for our trusty digital companion is therefore more important than desktop.

Google wants your website to work best on mobile

Building mobile first gives you the best chance of being found on the web too. Google has been pushing for mobile first in it’s search rankings since 2016, with it becoming the core proponent of its indexing algorithm in 2018. 

Google now reads, ranks and indexes the mobile version of your website only – it isn’t interested in desktop. This makes sense because any valuable content on your website should be available to everyone, on every device. If it’s not there on mobile, it’s not there at all as far as Google is concerned. 

Mobile first web design is the professional standard. 

There’s really no excuse for it to be otherwise.

We have heard plenty of stories where business owners have been handed excuses for why their website doesn’t look or perform as well as it should on mobile. Often it’s down to restrictions in off-the-shelf themes or drag-and-drop web builders. Experienced web developers, for the most part, will be able to work around this.

Web developers should be including mobile optimisation as part of their standard service and any that aren’t, should probably raise a red flag with you.

How do I know if my website is optimised for mobile?

Well, this is actually quite a big topic and one we’ll delve into in another post, but one quick way to find out is to grab your phone and pretend you’re a customer visiting your website for the very first time. How is the experience for you? Could you easily find everything you needed to? Does everything look right and show your brand off the way you’d like it to?

Nobody should be convinced that “that’s just how it is”, most problems are fixable with the know-how.

If you find your website has issues on mobile, desktop or anything in between, we’re here to put it right. Drop us an email.

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