Mobile-phone-iage-searchGoogle launched a new mobile friendly testing tool at the beginning of June. Aimed at small business owners, the testing tool enables you to determine how user-friendly your website is on mobile devices.

Don’t panic, the tool is easy to use. All you have to do is visit Google’s mobile friendly webpage and type your url into the field provided. The following results will show underneath:

Mobile friendliness: ??/100

Mobile Speed: ??/100

Desktop speed: ??/100

The results will then be merited: good/fair/poor. Google will even send you a full breakdown of the report for you to hand to your web designer if you request one. Nice touch, we thought.

Why is mobile speed important?

There are some clinical statistics that indicate the importance of ensuring your website is mobile friendly:

  1. More searches are conducted using mobile phones that any other device.
  2. If a website does not load within 2-10 seconds, visitors will leave.
  3. If you ask digital marketers what the most important aspect of a website is, most will answer, “user-experience.”

So to sum up, if the majority of consumers are using mobile devices to visit your website, but it is slow to load or they cannot navigate your site easily, they will leave.

This means two things:

  1. You miss out on a sale
  2. Your rivals gain a customer. And they may stay loyal customers.
  3. Your prospective customer chooses not to click on your site when seeing it in search results next time they have a need due to the past poor experience whilst visiting before on their mobile or tablet device.

Search engines have been encouraging online business owners to improve the user-experience for mobile users for some time now. Web designers found a solution by creating responsive websites that shrink or expand to fit the screen of the device visitors are using.

But there are still plenty of issues that can affect the experience customers have when browsing your website. A good place to start is how users interact with your web design.

How to optimise your website for mobile devices?

Mobile devices have smaller screens than desktops, but you still need to cram in relevant information that makes it easy for visitors to navigate your site. And that means stripping away any irrelevant content.

The key rule is: keep it simple. Clean, uncluttered designs work the best so keep content to a minimum and package your site navigation up in tidy menus. Use multi-level menus and sub-menus that drop down to give users options when they click a category.

Also think about how visitors will use your website on a phone. Tapping and swiping are the principle actions so make sure that buttons are big enough to hit with a fingertip.

Search functions are essential if you have multiple pages, but you should include your main service and sub-services in the footer to make navigation easier.

The mobile revolution will not end any time soon and unless you respond it could affect your bottom line. Google has already made a statement with it’s mobile-friendly update last year and it’s recent announcements that further updates for mobile friendliness are on the horizon.  They have also announced that speed for mobile sites will eventually be judged as a standalone measurement rather than as it is currently, which is via the speed on a desktop device.  Many SEO’s created FUD (fear, uncertainty and dread) by coining the mobile-friendly update “Mobilegeddon”.  Whilst this is very much an over-exaggeration of the effects that this update had (and the term was criticised by Google spokespeople), it is safe to say that the switch to mobile by consumers will have an increasing impact on the traffic to a website if the site is not mobile-friendly.  The number of consumers willing to use mobile devices to engage with business websites will get bigger as technology improves the quality of a mobile experience (e.g. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)).