Have you ever viewed a website on your mobile device that clearly wasn’t meant to be viewed on a smartphone? OK, that was a rhetorical question, and the answer is most likely ‘yes’. Most of the banks and major online retailers have done an impressive job creating a user-friendly mobile view, but that’s not the case for most small businesses.
Care to see what I mean? Check out your own WordPress site on your smartphone. Is the text big enough to read without pinching and moving the page around with your fingers? Do you have to scroll left and right to view the whole page? Does the functionality of your site work on your smartphone… can you easily fill in the contact form, view a slider, or an image gallery? That’s how clunky my own site was on smartphones until I added a cool mobile plugin.
Just the facts!
Over 114 million US residents own a smartphone and half use their smartphone to visit websites. If the holiday sales of the iPhone 5 hits the projected 46 million, well, the number of visitors looking at your site on a smartphone will dramatically increase. Are you prepared to be seen on a smartphone? (There is truth in the axiom, you get one chance to make a great first impression.)
Here are some stats researched by Google¹ about mobile users that prompted me to make my own site mobile-friendly:
- 74% will likely return to a mobile-friendly site.
- 76% want a business mobile site to fit on the small screen of their smartphone.
- 74% want a mobile site that looks clean and is easy to navigate.
- 69% want bigger buttons on the site when viewing on the mobile device.
- 67% of site visitors are more likely to buy a product or service from a mobile friendly site.
- 61% of visitors will leave a non-friendly mobile website and look elsewhere.
- 52% said that they would be less likely to engage with a company that has a non-friendly mobile-site.
- 50% said that even if they liked the business, they will use them less if the site isn’t mobile friendly.
- 48% of visitors feel frustrated and annoyed when on a non-friendly mobile website.
Not mentioned in the Google survey is page ‘download speed’. The majority of mobile devices are 3G, which is way slower than broadband. So if your customers are trying to view a mobile-unfriendly site on their mobile device, they may actually leave before the page loads (can you afford that?). 74% of mobile phone users will only wait 5 seconds or less for the page to load.
All the major search engines now index mobile-friendly sites separately from non-mobile sites. If SEO is important to your business, you’ll want a mobile friendly site.
My recommendation: Get a jump on your competitors!
Less than 5% of small businesses have a mobile-friendly site. (Does this describe you?) The rapid growth of smartphones has left most businesses in ‘catch-up’ mode. Making your site mobile-friendly now will give your business a big advantage.
How to make your WordPress site mobile-friendly
It’s easier than you think! There are many WordPress plugins that will make your website user-friendly on smartphones. I’m pretty sure that I’ve tested everyone! Many honestly are not so hot. In fact a few of the free ones stream in ads for your mobile visitors to view. (Do you want this added bonus?) Many have poor visual appearance, confusing navigation and limited configuration options.
But there is one premium plugin that I found to be nearly perfect, it is WPtouch Pro. The bare-bones version called ‘Basic’ is free and a feature-rich version ‘Pro’ is $49. You can compare the free and pro versions on the developer’s website [http://www.bravenewcode.com/product/wptouch-pro/].
How does the WordPress mobile plugin work?
Some plugins detect devices like iPhones, iPads, Androids and a bunch more. Then an optimized view is served up to the user’s device instead of your desktop view. Your visitors have the ability to switch off the mobile view if they choose.
You decide which page you want to be the default home page for your mobile view which can be different than the home page of your desktop view. This mobile plugin is loaded with more features than most desktop themes. You can even upload your logo which visitors can save as a shortcut icon (which is a nice touch!).
If you’re a geek (like me), you’ll love playing with all the features of the mobile plugins. If you just want to convert more site visitors to customers, you’ll really love the mobile plugins and it would be wise to invest in making your site mobile friendly—sooner than later.