It's growing increasingly important for websites to be mobile-friendly. Research from Google found that 72% of mobile users say mobile-friendly sites are important to them, with another 50% saying that even if they like a business, they'll use them less often if the website isn't mobile-friendly. And this is especially crucial in the travel industry, in which there was a 50% increase in mobile use across business and leisure travelers, with 30% relying purely on their mobiles to make last minute bookings, according to BuzzCity. On top of all that, Google now factors in mobile-friendliness to determine where sites appear in search results.
Now that you know why a mobile-friendly site is important, let's explore how to get it that way.
1. Assess your current site to identify any needed changes.
First and foremost, you need to determine how well your site already accommodates mobile users. Google offers a simple online tool that will analyze a web page and report any mobile-related design issues. Your site may already meet the basic criteria required by Google, or may just need a few relatively simple changes. (If changes are needed, the tool will walk you through the technical guide that tells you how to correct the problem issues.)
In addition, you can also use Google PageSpeed Insights to identify issues that may be slowing down your page loading times—which is one of the most common “fatal flaws" of web pages that don't work well for mobile users.
2. Choose a responsive design.
The best (and most popular) approach to making a site mobile-friendly is to choose a responsive design. A responsive design is one that automatically adjusts to accommodate whatever device the visitor is using. There are many responsive themes and templates available now for Wordpress, HTML5/CSS3, and other frameworks—including a number of free options.
How much time and effort will be required to convert an “unfriendly" site to a more mobile-accommodating one will depend on a number of factors, including the specific design elements of your existing site. The older your current site is, the greater the odds that it was created using elements or platforms, such as Flash, that are now outdated or don't interact well with mobile devices.
3. Keep things simple.
One of the most common ways that businesses cause problems for mobile users is by loading up a site with lots of fancy bells and whistles. This can create unnecessary clutter that crowds the page and makes navigation difficult. Equally problematic: It can also drastically impact page-loading speeds. A site that is slow to load is very frustrating to mobile users (and users in general) and is one of the top reasons they will abandon your site before even checking it out. In fact, Kissmetrics found that 40% of shoppers will abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. The data also found that a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Providing a simple, scaled-down site will help optimize load speeds and make things easy and efficient for mobile users.
Bonus tip: Pay attention to the content formats on your site. Video, in particular, can be tricky. Some types of video won't play properly (or won't function at all) on mobile devices. Double-check that any video content on your site is playable on mobile devices. Older, Flash-based videos are a common issue and generally won't be viewable on mobile devices. Videos published on major sites such as YouTube and Vimeo typically have a mobile-friendly embed code for sharing.
4. Put the central focus on the call to action.
Consumers today tend to have short attention spans and want to accomplish tasks quickly. This is particularly true for mobile users. Put the most important information—like contact details and how to book—front and center. Also, if there's a primary action you want visitors to take—such as booking a reservation—that must be prominently highlighted in a central location where it is easily visible. Using online booking software, such as ZOZI Advance, makes this goal easy to achieve by adding a prominent “Book Now" button to your site, where visitors won't be able to miss it.
Making your site mobile-friendly may take a little bit of time and work. But just consider how much of your potential business likely comes via mobile channels these days, and you'll see it's in your best interest to do everything possible to provide a smooth, efficient experience for users of mobile devices.