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Why you need a mobile website in 2017

Posted on 14 November 2017

Quite often we see a lot websites that still to this day do not have a mobile version or better yet have a responsive design. Google have been “Mobile First” – You may be wondering what this means.A lot of websites use tools to see which devices visitors are using, how often they’re visitng… etc. After doing some research in the past, we discovered that from an average of several websites that have released their ratio of Mobile to Desktop visitors, the vast majority were getting more mobile visitors than desktop and have done so since 2014.

This means that traditional PC’s are looking as though they’re becoming obsolute, meaning that search engines should probably be more concerened about websites on mobile devices – such as tablets and smart phones, than what they should be on laptop and desktop computers.

What Google have said about “Mobile First”

On the 4th of November 2016 Google said on their blog…

To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.

Fast forward a year and many websites that belong to small and even some big businesses are not able to display their website on a mobile device as they should do. You can read more about Google’s post here.

Other reasons why you should have a mobile version

As well as not ranking as well on search engines, if you don’t have a mobile site it also makes you look less professional and will drive direct traffic away. The reasons for this are that;

  1. Professionalism – Your not willing to put the time, money and effort into making your business presentable by all means possible, if you’re website isn’t mobile friendly, it’s as good as a rusty old sign outside your premesis and it’s as simple as that.
  2. Loss of traffic – Because the majority of visitors are probably using mobile devices (if not a very good portion should be), then you’re going to have many visitors turn away and go elsewhere, your competitors perhaps. Let’s be honest nobody wants to see potential customers looking elsewhere because something isn’t the way it should be.
  3. Future proofing – With all the advances in mobile phone technology, 5 years from now maybe a very different picture, you may not have any desktop visitors at all if your website isn’t where it should be. I know myself very few people who even own let alone use a desktop/laptop computer today as opposed to what I did 5 years ago.
  4. Opens doors – Ok, the fact it would open doors is pretty self explanitory but if having an app for your business would be good to you then having a mobile site could save your business money. There is such a thing as “Hybrid Apps” – these are apps that basically a web browser that may or may not contain extra features that will go straight to a website. They differ from the web browser you have on your phone because there is usually no address bar and the icon can be whatever you want it to be. One example of this is instagram.
  5. You will be branded as “the business that time forgot” – this is true and a lot of people I have spoken to about companies that have not updated their site to be usable on mobile devices have lead on to complaining about other company faults and ways of which they’re being left behind and not going with whats new.

Having a seperate mobile site vs responsive vs adaptive design

The first mobile sites I have seen all had a seperate web address. They may of used sub domains such as mobile.inserttherestofthedomainhere or a /mobile/everythingelsecomesafter method but either way the website was a duplicate which was modified to work on mobile devices. Probably not the best method for maintenance purposes and search engine optimisation.

If you ask a lot of web developers I would imagine they would be very pushy to go with either responsive, adaptive or both. Let’s just say that the idea of having a seperate mobile website should be discarded.

Responsive design is done by using your websites CSS stylesheet. This is the file that controls how things appear, by creating rules in this file such as; if the web page width is less than 400px then apply everything that makes the webpage suitable for a mobile. This is okay but there can be limitations and disadvantages on how much necessary data your website passes to the browser.

Another solution and one which we prefer is to use both. We like to set the width of properties using responsive design as this is more efficient to deal with desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones because the code that needs to be processed to apply rules to different screen resolutions is very simple where as the PHP script to check if a device is mobile or not is a bit heavier and would be even heavier if we checked for phones, tablets, desktops, laptops and treated each one differently. The only time we use adaptive design is if we do not intend to display certain elements, such as the navigation bar on tablets and phones and the hamburger drop down menu on desktops and laptops.

Cost involved in updating

Depending how large and how well writen your website was to start of with you could be looking at anywhere between £140 to £10,000+. The best thing to do would be to get a quote from  a web developer as every case is going to be different. If you have a website that probably needs to be updated you can get in touch with us for a quote by all means.

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