So you have a sweet website built and you are telling all your friends about it, then you look it up on your phone to show them, and it’s broken… AHHHH!
Having a mobile friendly website is important for showing off at BBQs and also making sure you are effectively reaching your customers that are using smartphones.
More people are upgrading to smartphones and the use of apps and mobile internet usage has been on a steady rise over the last 3 years. Smartphone penetration in Australia is among the highest in the world and reached 65% by 2013. Current smartphone usage in Australia is now estimated at over 76% of all mobile phones.
The two largest barriers for mobile purchasing are screen size and customer trust. Even if a desktop website appears correctly on mobile devices, a mobile site that optimises the user experience on smartphone screens helps to overcome the barrier of small screen size.
By using responsive web design or creating a separate mobile version of your desktop site, you can make your website mobile friendly and potentially improve your conversion rate for mobile traffic.
Responsive web design allows your site to be displayed correctly on any smartphone screen by adjusting what content is shown at different screen resolutions.
Optimising your site for mobile with responsive design is the simplest approach, as Nic discussed in his post on SEO in 2013 and Beyond, you only have to worry about your desktop site’s content and the responsive design will make sure your content is displayed correctly across different devices.
If you are using a CMS that uses themes, such as WordPress or Drupal, it is easy to make your site responsive by selecting one of the many responsive themes available. Simply upload and activate a responsive theme and your site becomes responsive.
If your website has already been built on a template that does not support responsive design it might be too difficult to switch to a responsive theme, in that case you can create a mobile version of your site. This leaves your desktop site as is, and also allows you to customise content specifically for your mobile site.
Services such as DudaMobile (http://www.dudamobile.com/) allow you to create a mobile version of your website that you can easily edit yourself. The paid version also lets you have your site appear on an m.yourdomain.com web address.
There are a few technical problems you need to avoid when creating a mobile version so check out the Google Developers guide on Building Mobile-Optimized Websites which includes Common configuration mistakes.
Also check out the Changes in rankings of smartphone search results post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.
Ensuring a pain-free customer experience is also important for conversion, so make sure you complete extensive customer/user testing of your mobile site and squash any bugs before pushing it live.