Earlier today, I was counselling a client who was losing valuable business. His website traffic had dropped markedly – so said his google analytics. It had been a while – read: a year – since he’d looked at his analytics, but recently the phone had completely stopped ringing and he was wondering why. His analytics showed a definite downward trend and then flatline. He couldn’t work it out. His website looked great and they’d made sure they’d enough key words on all their web pages.

Could I look and tell him what was going on?

Sure. Oh my, it was immediately obvious. His wasn’t a mobile responsive website. It looked nice, in that 2011 kind of way, but without being a mobile responsive website, his business game was ‘all over, Red Rover’. More than that too though, anyone who visited his website because they’d been referred, probably would have thought twice. And that’s damaging for one’s reputation.

How do you tell if you’ve got a mobile responsive website?

The best way to tell is that you go the edge of your browser window and make it smaller. Your website should resize to make it easier for you to read as opposed to requiring you to scroll across the screen to see move of the content. 

Why do I need a mobile responsive website?

In April, 2015 Google introduced changes to its algorithm that specifically affected non-mobile sites – it was so earth-shaking for the internet community, it was referred to across the online community as Mobilegeddon. It even had its own hashtag!

Mobilegeddon meant Google would begin progressively delisting (from Google search) non mobile responsive websites. It took a bit of time to get through all the websites and for people to start noticing, but it’s been rather horrific. One of our longest serving clients (that we love) who had previously ranked in the top 1 or 2 organically on page 1 and were  getting good traffic dropped off the known universe and is now unfindable. Unfortunately it took them a year to get their ducks in a row after 6 months of us prodding them, to enable us to start building their newest iteration – this time mobile responsive website – launching soon).

Mobilegeddon was in addition to the significant changes Google made in 2011 and again in 2012 (called Penguin and Panda) which also hurt a lot of company’s rankings. These were all about knocking out dodgy SEO (black-hat) techniques and link farming (Penguin) and improving user experience (Panda) – i.e; having quality content on your website, regular changes to your site, content refreshes and additions and improving readability. Proving that Google really is all about improving the web community’s experience when visiting sites online.

Some other stats you might want to consider;

  • 69% of people will click away from a site if it’s not mobile responsive and they’re looking on a mobile – which means that without a mobile responsive site, you could be potentially losing a lot of business
  • 65% of people prefer online search to find out about an organisation
  • 54% of people prefer online search to help them with scoping out a service they’re considering
  • 47% of people prefer Google search to help them plan a project
  • 44% of people use search to help them select a vendor

What can I do to fix it?

Of course there are things that one can do to regain lost ground – SEO, Adwords, create better content, blog writing, social media, as well as off-line marketing to drive potential customer eyeballs to your site. Plus if you want to boost your site a little more you can have SSL (secure socket layer) added to your hosting giving you an https:// instead of the more usual http:// on the url bar for added security. The difference will be slight, but it all helps.

BUT first and foremost, with more and more people using either mobile devices or tablets these days (latest research suggests that about 45-50% of traffic is non-desktop) you simply must have a mobile responsive website. 

What else do I need to know?

Google is about to introduce a new round of requirements to keep up with – ie: ignore these at your own peril. If you’re thinking you might add an intrusive pop-up to grab someone’s email address or do a quick survey before letting them read your content – don’t. Google sees that as interfering with site readability and user experience and it’s going to start poking sites that use it.

There are plenty of mobile responsive website developers out there, but very few who understand the power of websites as a communication tool. And that’s a very important part of website user experience, but more importantly whether or not your website convinces your potential customer (website visitor) that you’re the service provider for them and guides them seamlessly through a process of getting you to connect with them.

If this has made you think it’s time to update your non mobile responsive website, or undertake a website makeover, we’d love to talk to you further. You can call us on (02) 8012 8008 or drop us a note.