Pop quiz hotshot: What is your website’s bounce rate for mobile visitors? If you don’t know, this is a trick question, because websites are not mobile friendly by default. Prepare yourself for two slaps of reality. First slap, your website is likely a mobile marketing trampoline. Second slap, your unresponsive design is annoying your existing (soon to be ex) visitors. That last shot was a backhand, sorry about that, but I wanted the message to stick.
Mobile marketing is what you say you do.
Responsive design is what they see you do.
If these are different, it’s hurting your online business; it’s happening right now. Without a responsive design, your website is irritating your current audience (the people you depend on to keep returning and keep buying what you’re selling). First time mobile visitors are disappointed before they know you.
With responsive web design, you reduce your design elements to those that relate to your users. Everything else is a distraction.
— FingerprintMarketing (@fingerprint) July 17, 2013
You may have seen an infographic (like this one from Mashable) proclaiming the rise of mobile shoppers. Did you understand what it means for your online business?
Here are two major points to take away about mobile marketing:
- Mobile users (of all ages) are multiplying
- Businesses are investing in Responsive Design
Let’s talk about how you can improve your own website for the rise of mobile machines. We’ll quickly define responsive design, and then discuss two steps for meeting mobile marketing expectations.
What is Responsive Design?
Set your pen down, you don’t need to take notes. This is simple.
Responsive design means your website automatically adjusts to any screen size.
This means a single website without redirects to a mobile site or an app to download. These are options, but not the best options. This is because Google says so; this is their recommended approach for mobile optimized design: “Sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device.”
2 Steps for meeting mobile marketing expectations
When you optimize your site for mobile users, the bounce rate helps show you how usable your website is for mobile visitors. Conveniently enough, this is also your starting point for planning a responsive design. You need to know how your website currently performs before you make any changes. Hey, maybe you already have a 0% bounce rate on mobile without responsive design (PS – don’t count on it).
Step 1: Find out how your website performs on mobile now.
You need to know two things about your website:
- What mobile visitors do
- What mobile visitors see
The first part is easy; you need to check your website analytics. Simply filter by mobile device and sort by bounce rate. If you don’t have analytics setup already, this should be a top priority when you hire a web design company to build you responsive website. You need to know how your current mobile audience experiences your site, so you know where to improve.
As for what your mobile visitors see, you need to test your website on as many mobile devices as possible. There are plenty of (usually paid) online services that emulate mobile devices, but you happen to be in luck with a new option. Recently, Google Think Insights rolled out a free service called GoMo (official link: HowToGoMo.com) to help businesses make their websites work across all devices. This is your best option for testing how your website currently runs on mobile.
Step 2: Plan a responsive design to best serve your mobile visitors.
Your marketing promises should be true for however a user visits you.
Mobile visitors expect the same service as desktop users. Mobile screens drastically limit how much information your website can display at once. Do you simply strip away content and serve your mobile visitors a dumbed down version? I hope not, because that dumbed down version will form their impression of your business. Mobile users arriving with high expectations will leave thinking you are all talk and no show. Once they see you, they think they know you. It doesn’t matter if your full screen website is perfect; they’ve already judged your business by your small screen mobile site.
Your 3 part plan for Responsive web design
Your website should only send relevant data to each mobile device. The less data needed, the faster your site will connect and display for your user. Where to start? Find out which devices your audience uses, and optimize there first.
Your mobile visitors should see your most important content first. Since you can’t fit everything on one small screen, responsive design requires you to prioritize your content. Where to start? Open your website on a desktop and shrink the browser to a narrow window. What would a mobile visitor expect from your site? Start a priority list of your content from most important to least important.
Search Engine Friendly
Google sends out spiders, or bots, to analyze and index your website. With mobile browsing going mainstream, Google has higher expectations for valid semantic structure (indexing) and content serving a clear purpose and location (SEO ranking). Where to start? Programmers can learn about responsive design that’s Google bot friendly (here and here). Website and/or business owners can speak with a web design professional who understands the importance of mobile marketing and responsive design. Before you get your free 30 minute consultation with Fingerprint Marketing, see what your responsive web design plan includes.