Have you ever almost run someone over?
I bet you have — by someone who is so engrossed in looking at their smart phone they forget to throw even a cursory glance at the road before they step off the pavement.
We’re all permanently attached to our mobile phones. We use them on the train to work, in restaurants having dinner with friends; we pick them up during every ad break of our favourite show.
And we’re not making calls. We’re emailing, we’re checking our social media, we’re searching the internet. We’re searching for a plumber to check that leak in the washing machine, a local garage to book the car in for its MOT, a new accountant to help us deal with our tax return…
As a small business owner, you probably already know the importance of having a mobile-friendly website and yet it’s something you’ve been putting off. We get it. You are snowed under. This is just one more thing to add to the list.
This is not just ‘one more thing’ though — this is a huge, make it or break it level thing. Why?
The dreaded algorithm.
If you’ve ever dipped your toe in the murky water of SEO and queried how to improve your search engine ranking, you’ll have heard about the Google algorithm.
In 2015, the search engine behemoth confirmed suspicions: more internet searches are now conducted on mobile devices than on desktops. They then caused absolute panic by changing their algorithm to favour mobile-friendly websites. What this means is that if you don’t have a mobile website, you might as well not exist. At least in search engine terms. That website you’ve worked so hard to build, simply won’t be found by anyone, whether they’re searching on a mobile device or otherwise.
Not to mention the improvement to your bounce rate.
You may have heard this fact before but it’s worth repeating: you typically have about seven seconds to convince a customer to stay on your website.
It’s not a lot, is it? And if your site is not compatible with the customer’s mobile device, they’re gone. You’ve lost them. On the 3rd of August, the Office for National Statistics released their latest figures. In 2017, 78% of the population have used the internet ‘on the go’. This figure rises to 98% of 16 to 24-year-olds. Of these searches, 73% were conducted on a smart phone.
73%, That’s a lot of customers to lose.
Plus, mobile sites often convert better — particularly for local businesses.
When people are searching in this way, when they’re ‘on the go’, they’re frequently ‘primed to purchase’. More often than not, they’re searching for a local business.
They are heading into town on the train and searching for a great bar in which to spend the evening. They’ve arrived home and discovered that leaky washing machine. They do not have the time or the patience to wait for their desktop to start up so they search for plumbers on their mobile. Or they’ve broken down on the motorway and start searching for a nearby garage while they’re waiting for breakdown recovery.
Having a mobile site — one that is easily found and easy to navigate — is key to tapping into this section of the market.
And it can even protect your reputation.
It’s important for any business to move with the times. You want to prove to your customers that you’re current, you’re professional, and you’re reliable.
A site that loads too slowly on a mobile device, one that is hard to navigate, and one that is practically impossible to read on a smaller screen, will impress no one and frustrate many.
Convinced? Here’s your next steps:
Keep it consistent.
You want to make sure that the mobile version of your site ties in with the desktop version, your social media and your branding as a whole. Inconsistencies here can really undermine your brand, making people less likely to trust you and buy from you.
Social media links.
Don’t forget to include links to your social media profiles to help increase brand recognition and market awareness. The aim here is to make it easy for people to find and share your content and your contact details with their network.
Is it easy to contact you?
There is nothing worse than having to click off of a site or go on to another device to make contact with a business. Whether by phone or email, make sure you have given people an easy way to get in touch with you.
Keep it simple.
It is worth paring things down to the essentials on a mobile site. You do not need the full functionality of a desktop site and keeping things simple can have greater impact when viewed on a mobile device. Focus on the action you want the customer to take, whether that is making a purchase directly on the site, booking an appointment or making a call.
Try it out on different devices.
Remember that not all smart phones are created equal. Sites can look very different depending on whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android. If your friends use a different mobile device from you, it’s worth checking how your site looks on their screens too.
As business owners, we can despair that we live in an age where people can’t go to the bathroom without their smart phone firmly in their grasp, or we can view it as the opportunity that it is.
Our advice is to go with the latter — there is a huge, captive audience out there, make sure they’re looking at you!
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