How to Optimise Your Small Business Website for Mobile Users
No small business can get away from the fact that if their website is not optimised for mobile users, they are missing out on a significant chunk of new business. The coronavirus pandemic over the past two years highlighted that many small businesses (which relied on social media, word of mouth or high street footfall for their trade) had to have a website. That was their first major challenge, but they’ve now been presented with a second major challenge – making their websites mobile-friendly.
More than 48 million people in the UK use mobile devices every day, whether it’s mobile banking, mobile shopping or anything else. Here are some more statistics to convince you that your small business website needs to be optimised for mobile users:
- 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase via their mobile in the last six months.
- 73% of consumers are omni-channel mobile shoppers.
- Mobile commerce retail sales are expected to hit more than £100 billion by 2024.
So, now that we’ve convinced you that your website needs to be mobile-friendly, how do you go about it?
What is a mobile-friendly website?
The number of searches conducted on Google via smartphones has doubled in the last five years, from 34% to 60%. Today, having our mobile devices in our hands when we’re out and about is just as important as having your house keys with you (some may say, more so!). As a business, if you’re not tapping into that massive potential buyer group, you are missing out on a huge chunk of the market.
So, what do we mean by a mobile-friendly website? This is the first part of the puzzle that many small businesses struggle with so, let’s break it down and make it simple – your website must be optimised so that it looks the same and works the same way on a mobile device (tablet, smartphone, iPad, etc.) as it would on a desktop computer. Therefore, your website should:
- be able to automatically resize to whatever size screen it is being viewed on
- load all images quickly and resize them so they are clearly visible on the mobile device
- be easy for users to navigate the website and
- not impede a buyer’s journey, including checking out.
The user’s experience is paramount to any website browsing on mobile devices and as the use of smartphones continues to increase exponentially, mobile-friendly is becoming less of a choice and more of a necessity.
Why go mobile-friendly?
Some would say small businesses don’t have a choice; we beg to differ but, on the other hand, unless you’re in a particularly niche business sector, technology and user demand is pushing small businesses in this direction. But, there are some other reasons why you need to optimise your small business website for mobile users:
- Google! Being the largest of all internet search engines, Google leads the way in most technological advancements and it certainly has with mobile accessibility. Every year, Google change their search algorithm (this is the ‘code’ that Google uses to find websites and information for users) and they recently updated it to include what is called a mobile-first index. This change means that Google is able to source, display and connect users with websites that have been suitably optimised for mobile use when mobile devices are being used for searches.
- Better search ranking – Google (again!) uses mobile optimisation as one of their ranking criteria for local searches on mobile devices. If you want to connect with local people and drive more local traffic to your website, it needs to be mobile-friendly.
- Connect with your target audience – as we’ve said above, if your website is not mobile optimised, you are not connecting with a large section of your target audience. In addition, by being mobile-friendly, you are opening up your brand and business to all types of customers, from those on their lunch break or coffee break in the office, to others at home with the family in the evening or even out socialising.
Strategies to optimise your website for mobile access
There are a variety of ways to optimise your website for mobile devices, as follows:
- Website design that is responsive – your website design should be flexible, adaptable and developed so that the screen width, resolution of images and orientation of web pages adjust automatically for any device. For example, make sure your website is set up for thumb-scrolling and that the call to action (CTA) buttons aren’t too big for clumsy fingers or too small that they can’t be seen.
- Content – not just any content but content that is relevant, engaging, interactive, emotional and frequent. Whether it’s brand new content, sharing content, repurposing old content, visual/video content or storytelling, the more often you post content on your website, the more likely you will appear in search engine results and in front of customers to keep them engaged with your brand.
- Make it local – local searches online are becoming more and more important for small businesses as users conduct searches including the terms ‘near me’ or ‘nearby to me’. So, make sure your business’s name, contact and address details are standardised throughout your website including in your metadata.
- Page speed is everything – consumers are an impatient lot; if your website doesn’t load on a mobile device (including images) within five seconds, there’s every likelihood they will leave and go elsewhere. So, make the most of browser caching, use less codes and reduce the number of redirects to help page upload speeds.
- Don’t forget your metadata – in case you’re wondering what metadata is (we thought you would have raised an eyebrow), it is the background information that is associated with each website page, heading, image, box, URL, product description, blog or any other content on your website. Search engines use this data to find and rank your website in terms of relevancy to search queries – therefore, no metadata, no appearance in user searches.
- Avoid pop-ups – it’s those annoying boxes that appear on your screen a few seconds after you land on a website; the problem is, when it comes to mobile devices, not only are these pop-ups often blocked by ad blockers implemented by users, they can be difficult to shut down on a mobile device, which could lead to a high bounce rate (high level of people leaving your site).
Not sure where to start in ensuring your awesome website is optimised for mobile devices? At Media in a Box, we offer a variety of social media, SEO, content marketing and website design services that are not only highly effective but will also make sure your website is mobile-friendly while meeting everyone’s budget, no matter how big or small it is. Whether it’s optimising your website, developing a social media plan or helping with content marketing, contact us today and let’s chat.