Mobile friendly website design is becoming increasingly more important. Take a look at some of these stats about mobile device usage:

  • 51% of local searches were done on a mobile device.
  • 45% of Google searches in the United States are from mobile devices.
  • 26% of emails are opened on a mobile phone.
  • 34% of product searches on eCommerce websites are from mobile devices.

If it hasn’t already very soon mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage. By 2017 it’s predicted that more than 90 percent of Internet users will access online content through a mobile device.

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile this can lead to a number of problems ultimately resulting in lost clients and sales.

If a user visits a site that isn’t optimized for mobile they’ll have a very difficult time using the site. Everything will be shrunk down to fit the smaller screen size. They’ll have to zoom in to read anything and navigating the website is very difficult.

In most cases the user will simply give up and leave the website and you will have lost yourself a potential client.


Separate mobile sites

One solution that used to be very popular in the early days of mobile was to have a separate mobile website.

This was usually a much simpler website with just the most important information. In theory it gave a better user experience.

It was assumed that people browsing the Internet on their phones were only interested in things such as addresses and contact information or that they were currently out shopping.

With increasingly larger smartphone screens and increased tablet usage this is definitely no longer the case. More and more people are choosing to browse the Internet exclusively on their smartphone and tablet.

Having a separate mobile website today can cause a bunch of problems such as:


1) A poor user experience

Because the mobile site is a much simpler scaled down version of your main website it’s missing a lot of content that the user might be interested in.

If they’re looking for something specific their only choice is to either give up or try to access your non-mobile site where it won’t be properly formatted for the smaller screen.

Either way this will result in people giving up and leaving your website, possibly ending up on a competitor’s site.


2) Poor search engine optimization

You’re now essentially running two separate websites, a mobile version and a desktop version. This can cause problems for your SEO.

Since you have two websites you run the risk of duplicate content penalties. Google also has no way of telling which version of the website to serve up in search results.

You have to put in more time, effort and cost to optimize two websites. Even then your best possible solution is that both websites show up on the first page of the search results. This causes confusion for searchers because they’re not sure which version of the site to visit.


3) More work

You have to spend more time and effort maintaining two separate websites. Any updates you make to one site you’ll have to make to the mobile one. Otherwise you risk having out of date information, causing further confusion to your clients.

mobile website on a smartphone

The solution? Responsive design!

Responsive Design is a technique in web design that was developed in recent years. With responsive design a website will resize and adjust the content to fit the size of the screen it’s being viewed on.

Elements will move around for a more efficient layout, the navigation menu will become more simplified and text will be big enough to read on a smaller screen.

There are several benefits of responsive design such as:


1) A better user experience

Your mobile users can use your site without having to zoom in or have a hard time tapping on navigation links. They’re also able to find all the content on your site because they’re accessing the exact same site people on desktop computers are.


2) Better for search engine optimization

With Responsive Design you only have one website which means no duplicate content penalties. Search engines have an easier time crawling and indexing your site.

You don’t have to worry about multiple versions of your website showing up in search results and causing confusion as well.

Google even factors responsive design into their ranking algorithm. They have gone on record saying that not having a responsive website can hurt your rankings. In the words of Google:

“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

-Google Webmaster blog

To help out they made a mobile friendly design tool. You can use it to check your website to make sure it’s mobile friendly. It’s a free tool that you can access here:


3) Less work to maintain your website

With responsive design you only have to maintain one website so you spend less time optimizing, updating and working than you would with two separate websites.

Today mobile friendly responsive design is incredibly important for your website. Every website I build uses responsive design and if you’re interested in building a responsive website please contact me, I’d love to help you.