It’s almost impossible to succeed as a business today without having a website. But just having a website is no longer enough — SMEs in the UK are missing out on up to £77bn in annual revenues as a result of not having mobile-optimised websites, according to research commissioned by Hibu.
Despite the growing popularity of mobile browsing — fast becoming the main way that we access the internet — the Hibu research found that just 10% of UK SMEs have optimised their websites for mobile.
This is despite the fact that research by Google in 2012 found that two-thirds of smartphone users believe a mobile-friendly site would make them more likely to buy or use that business’s service.
By not having a mobile site you are not only losing out on potential business, you are giving your competitors a distinct advantage. It’s like opening a shop that you can only enter by way of a series of ropes, pulleys and ladders.
Luckily, creating a mobile website need not cost the earth.
A large budget isn’t necessary for a smart and elegant mobile site, but it’s important not to attempt to go all out. We recommend using a pre-existing theme for a content management system like Wordpress. There are plenty of systems to choose from, but Wordpress suits simplicity and a lower budget.
Using pre-existing themes will give you out-of-the-box mobile functionality with minimal fuss or start-up delays. It doesn’t mean that you’re short of options either — there are thousands of themes available. Sites like Theme Forest have many different options to choose from and all are relatively inexpensive. With so many on offer, you’re sure to find something you like, but it is important to be selective.
Once you’ve made a choice on what sort of plugins, features and themes you want to use, you then need to make sure that they are the right fit for your business, that they are installed properly and that they are optimised. This is the process that you may need help with. The end result will be a smart, functional and simple mobile website that will offer all basic features to mobile visitors.
With a higher budget, you have space to make your mobile responsive website more dynamic, more reactive, and more likely to convert visitors into customers.
With a higher budget you can work with complex, but highly beneficial tools that allow you to test for a multitude of browsers and mobile devices visiting your site. That way you can optimise your website for all possible mobiles. It will also give your site a personalised feel — it won’t look like any other mobile website out there.
Being selective is even more important with a bigger budget, simply because you’ll have more to play with. Set objectives for your site and then evaluate which features and options will best help you achieve this. You need to think about what your user will be looking for, and what features they might want on a mobile site.
In short, you need to take a thorough look at your user experience (UX). This way your end result will be an entirely user-focused site that keeps visitors on the site because every aspect is geared toward delivering smooth, easy and attractive usability.
With your mobile site sorted, you can rest easy in the knowledge that those who visit it will be happy that they’ve arrived.
Rudi Hoppe is chief technology officer at content marketing agency Southerly.
Mobile conversion optimisation can be challenging. It forces you to focus on priorities. With limited screen real estate, you need to ensure that your online content is well structured, persuasive and accessible.
Websites that split-test are getting an increasing advantage over their competitors. By steadily increasing their conversion rate, they’re able to get higher returns for the same advertising spend and that means they can invest more in advertising and grow their market share.
This is especially relevant with mobile commerce. We’re at a stage where most companies will have a mobile version of their website. But few websites are split-testing their mobile sites. And as mobile commerce grows, companies that split-test have a huge advantage.
Here are eight recommendations for users starting out with mobile conversion optimisation:
Even if you don’t have a mobile or responsive version of your website, you can still optimise your mobile conversion rate. Choose one page (a high-traffic landing page works best) and create a mobile version of that one page. Split-test this, so 50% of your users see the original, and 50% see the new version — then track the impact on behaviour. If you see a significant increase in the conversion rate, you can build a business case for optimising the entire sales flow.
If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s simple to build a report that shows your sales funnel across devices. Look for differences in behaviour between desktop, mobile and tablet, as these will often pinpoint the biggest opportunities to increase sales.
Use on-site survey tools like Qualaroo to capture feedback from your mobile users. If you allow users to switch between a mobile and a desktop website, ask them why they’re switching — this will often highlight missing or broken functionality in your mobile site.
Tools like Crazy Egg will show exactly where your users are clicking on your desktop website. These heatmaps are ideal for prioritising content on mobile. As you have much less screen real estate, you need to ensure that the most valuable content and elements are towards the top of the page — ideally above the fold.
Mobile users often behave differently to desktop users — and that’s not just because of the device. They may have a different goal for their visit (and this can be revealed by qualitative feedback). For example, a flower delivery website may discover that mobile customers are significantly more likely to purchase same-day deliveries, which means that this content needs to be prioritised.
Mobile usability testing is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get feedback. Services like Usertesting will connect you with members of the public who will video themselves using your website on their own phone.
Business cards are a similar size to mobile screen sizes. So rather than sketching mobile designs on A4 paper, use a blank business card instead. It’ll force you to prioritise the content needed to convert users.
Websites like Airbnb, Target and Homedepot are excellent at mobile conversion. Their focus on simple, accessible content with a frictionless checkout experience means they’re getting a significant advantage over their competitors.
Stephen Pavlovich is the ceo of the Conversion Factory.
Further reading: IT Donut: is responsive web design the future?