by Ninja Karina
It’s 2012 and people are getting their hands on smartphones in increasing numbers. With high-resolution touch screens, an endless array of mobile apps and information at the tap of a finger, it’s no wonder mobile technology has become our constant companion.
Did you know that mobile search now dominates nearly 20% of the search market? That is an impressive number of people using their smartphones for tasks typical of a full-screen computer. According to Search Engine Watch, the 2011 holiday season saw huge leaps in the amount of mobile shopping. The numbers will undoubtedly continue to grow.
This means you’re going to lose conversions—and money—unless you invest in a properly-optimized mobile website.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why not having a mobile website is costing you:
1. Full websites on mobile screens are nearly impossible to use.
Unless you have a very minimal website with some areas of text and a few links, your website is probably far too crowded to be optimal for mobile use. Have you ever tried using a website that wasn’t optimized for mobile? You’ll find:
- The text is tiny and you have to zoom in to actually read it. Then you find yourself constantly moving the screen around in order to continue reading the text. That’s frustrating.
- The links and buttons are tiny. Most humans do not have small enough fingers to point to something so tiny to tap it. That’s also frustrating.
- The whole page loads slowly.
Well-optimized mobile websites are minimal, reducing load time. The user is presented with text that is large enough to read and in a format that is conducive to mobile scrolling—typically in a straight column down the page. Properly optimized mobile websites have large call-to-action buttons that are brightly colored and easily tapped.
2. Your competitors have a mobile website.
If your competitors don’t have a mobile website and you do, then you can consider yourself ahead of the game. But seriously, if your competitors do have a mobile website and you don’t, then you’re missing out on a piece of the mobile search pie. Mobile-dominant users will see your website, realize it is more difficult for them to use, and bounce back to the search results to click on the next link. In fact, users will most likely remember the sites that gave them a positive mobile experience, and go directly to that site the next time.
3. You’re a local business and want to have any kind of success in local mobile search.
Mobile search is tied very closely with local search, because mobile phones can detect location and the search engines will give results based on that location. Even if you rank well in local searches, without a mobile site you may get traffic but not the conversions. Think of this scenario: a user looks up local restaurants for a dinner meeting. She wants to be able to look at the menu before she gets there. She clicks the first restaurant that shows up, but the site isn’t optimized for mobile, thus she can’t find the link for the menu. She clicks back to search and goes to the next result that IS optimized for mobile, and immediately finds what she’s looking for. The user then decides that this is the restaurant where she wants to meet her colleagues later that night.
Can you afford to lose 20% of your users? Probably not. Take the time to invest in a mobile website so you don’t fall behind your competition, and so you don’t lose your mobile conversions. What it comes down to is, if you don’t have a mobile website, you’re missing out on 20% of the search pie, and will be missing out on even more in the future, as more people gain access to smartphones.