Think Small

by Michael Van Houten

When I look at the state of the web in 2017, I’m astounded at the number of web sites I come across that are still trapped in 1999. I’m not necessarily talking about scrolling banners and image-based buttons, but instead the myriad web sites that are still not mobile friendly.

Of course, there are a number of good reasons to keep your web site the “way it’s always been.” You might have spent a lot of time and money getting it to where it is, and re-doing it might be a huge undertaking. Or maybe your analytics are telling you that your customers aren’t using their phones very much to access your site. Those might be perfectly valid reasons to stay with the status quo, but there are four reasons why going mobile is more important than ever.

1. NUMBERS DON’T LIE
According to a report by Google, mobile web browsing made up 42 percent of web browsing in the United States in late 2016. And even all the way back to 2015, Google reported that “more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.”

Think about that for a minute. 42 percent of the people browsing the web right now are doing so on a phone, and it won’t be long before that number goes past 50 percent. Now think about those percentages in terms of your own customers. How many of them are having a frustrating experience on your web site because it’s not mobile?

2. SEO
Your organization might have a fantastic search engine optimization strategy or a great Google AdWords budget, but did you know that Google actually favors mobile-friendly web sites for its mobile search results? Imagine how many potential customers you might be missing out on because you don’t want to invest in a mobile strategy.

3. SOCIAL
Chances are your organization has some kind of social strategy or marketing plan. Maybe it’s just posting something once a week on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or perhaps you have something far more robust. That’s great, but considering that 80 percent of social media usage comes from mobile devices (http://marketingland.com/facebook-usage-accounts-1-5-minutes-spent-mobile-171561), what is the experience like for your audience when they link from those channels to your web site? You DO want them to visit and explore your web site, right?

4. INTERACTION
Perhaps the best reason to “think small” is that it can vastly improve how your customers interact with you. You might think that your web site is simply an “online brochure,” but that’s not what your customers are experiencing. A well-designed and expertly written brochure is certainly a valuable marketing asset, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect your company as a living, breathing organization.

Instead, I tend to think about web sites the same way I think about visiting someone’s office. How do I feel when I walk in the door? Am I given a warm welcome? Is it clean and inviting? Like it or not, THOSE are the things people are considering when they visit your web site.

Consider that experience when you think about your web site. How do people feel when they arrive on your home page from a mobile Google search or a social media app? Is it a seamless experience, or do they suddenly have to zoom in on various sections of your site just to figure out what you offer? And remember all those cool effects you paid your interactive team to build? There’s a very good chance that they’ll make your site slower or even inoperable on a mobile device. Are those the experiences you want existing or potential customers to have when they first land on your site?

With almost 50 percent of users viewing web sites on mobile, we recommend taking a good look at your mobile site. Every interaction a user has with your web site is an experience they have with you and your brand, so optimizing their mobile experience will only help you communicate well with your customers.