Do You Need to Worry About Mobile?

Mobile use of the internet is increasing all the time and web technologies are evolving to meet this demand.

I hear from my clients asking if they should have a mobile friendly site. Many times this question is brought on by them reading articles or in some cases by attending seminars discussing online marketing.

The overall message that they seem to take from these things is that if you do not have mobile site you are losing out on half of your web traffic.

In some cases this might be correct, so I decided to look at  some of my clients Google Analytic reports to see what kind of proportions of their traffic is mobile.

Now from a definition point of view, I am going to include tablet views as mobile.

Here are a selection of sites across a number of industries for the last month (to 28 Jan 2015)

Site 1 Site 2 Site 3 Site 4 Site 5
Tablet 24% 21% 25% 13% 18%
Phone 5% 11% 17% 7% 6%

Not quite 50%, but in some cases it is closer, and over time it will probably get larger still.

To look into these numbers a little more, we need to consider the use case for each type of device. When do people use tablets vs phones vs normal computers to view websites?

Some assumptions will be that most tablets do not have a telcos data connection and so will generally not be used on the go. Whereas phones will be more likely to be used on the go.

Given this distinction and that so many more people are picking up their tablet around the home to do their web browsing, is the need for a mobile site on a tablet as imperative as it it so obviously is with the limited screen size on a phone?

While layout and design are not necessarily compromised by tablet use (given that some tablet screens are nearly as big as small ultrabooks) their interaction with the user can be more difficult. Examples are small menu and clickable areas for important sections of your website.

What Can You Do About It

If you are building your website from scratch, or are due for an overhaul of your site, then make sure you do the right thing and cater for mobile visitors.

This can be done by utilising responsive design from the start. We predominately use WordPress for our client sites and all of our new sites are completed using a responsive WordPress theme.

If you have an older WordPress site, but don\’t want to go all out with a redesign, a plugin you can use to improve the sites mobile friendliness is WP Touch. This adds code to your site that will detect the visitors device and deliver a mobile friendly version of your site. This can be a bit hit and miss, and you may need to create mobile only pages to be served up to your mobile customers.

If you are not ready for a redesign of your site, the best thing to do is look at your stats to see what the percentage of visitors that come to your site via mobile.

I recommend focussing on the phone users first, as they are the ones that have more to lose from a site that isn\’t designed for their phone.

Make an informed choice as to whether your move to a mobile friendly site is now or later