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A new, important consideration for your site is to optimize it for viewing on mobile devices like phones and tablets.

We recently asked several audiences who has accessed a website using their phone in the prior 24 hours.  Virtually everyone raised their hand.  So, it stands to reason that if they, and probably you, are using your phones to access other websites, other people are using their phones to access your website.  However, your site is probably not mobile optimized – sometimes called responsively designed. Therefore mobile users won’t have the most pleasant experience on your site.  Fortunately, there are now ways for your site to not only be mobile optimized, but for the optimization to be automatic.  This means that if you make a change to your site, and 30 seconds later someone accesses your site on a phone, they will see the NEW version of the site mobile optimized.

Why is mobile optimization important?

1. In the first quarter of 2013 24% of website traffic came from mobile devices, up 78% from last year.  More than half of this is from iphone and ipad users alone.
2. Google recently announced that “sites failing to properly tailor their approach to mobile SEO could drop significantly in its search rankings”.
3. If your mobile users can’t easily see and use your site they are less likely to consummate any transactions and more likely to leave.  According to a recent survey from Compuware, 40% of users have left a site after a bad mobile experience.
4. Mobile users of a non-optimized site will likely experience issues including:
     a. Need to pinch the site
     b. Need to zoom
     c. Need to scroll horizontally
     d. Fonts that are too small to read
     e. Menus which are difficult or impossible to properly navigate (especially multi-level drop-down menus)
     f. Flash not working
     g. Etc.

You want the experience of your mobile visitors to be as pleasant as possible.

As an example of a mobile optimized site, which you should note is NOT the same thing as an app, let’s look at our site.  You can see the desktop version of the site at www.powersite123.com.  Notice it uses the entire screen.  If you look at the site on a mobile device, it automatically detects the kind of device you are using and redirects you to a version of the site optimized for that device.   Notice that on phone or tablet the site is narrower, so that it uses the entire space available while still being readable and not requiring any pinching.  Any part of this including the menu can easily be expanded with a simple click.

When comparing different ways of mobile optimizing your site, here are some important considerations:

Feature Preferred method Inferior method
Who implements your mobile optimization? Full-service solution:
the experts mobile optimize your site
Customization Mobile optimization is fully customized for your site:
The user has a similar experience whether they are viewing your site on a desktop, tablet, or phone.
Template-based solution:
Different branding and look & feel from your desktop site.
Automation Automated:
If you make a change to your website it’s instantly reflected in the mobile versions of your site.
Changes to your site may require customization of the mobile optimization.
 Images Mobile-optimized images are displayed. Some or all images may be eliminated from the mobile version.
Limitations No limits on # pages or sections Limits on # pages or sections
SEO All SEO measures taken on the desktop site are effective on the mobile site Requires duplication of SEO for the mobile site
The bottom line is that if your site is not mobile optimized you are likely to lose website visitors, conversions, and search engine optimization.