Why You Need a Mobile Version of Your Website

I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

If you share links to your website via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) you need to be ready for mobile visitors.

First thing in the morning, as I wait for my first cup of coffee to hit my bloodstream, I’m on my phone. First, I go through email and answer anything urgent. Then, over to Facebook and catch up on what happened while I slept. And finally, I’ll open TweetDeck and go through my Twitter feed.

When I see a story I want to read, and click through, many times the linked site doesn’t have a mobile version of their site. When this happens, I end up going back and favoriting the tweet to read later. But making your site mobile-friendly isn’t difficult. In fact, if you use WordPress, you can have it done in less than 5 minutes.

Mobile Social Media Stats

43% of Twitter Users Access Twitter From a Mobile Phone. Facebook has 526 million daily active users on average in March 2012, and 488 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in March 2012.

There’s plenty of mobile social media stats to read up on.

Of course, sharing our newest blog posts on social media sites has seemed to replace RSS feeds and e-mail lists. How much mobile traffic does your site get?

Mobile Traffic Statistics

Your stats package should be able to tell you how much of your traffic is from mobile visitors. In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Mobile > Overview. In this case, 801 of 2613 visitors, or 30% of the traffic is on a mobile device.

Google Analytics Mobile Visitors
Google Analytics Mobile Visitors

The site referenced above does NOT have a mobile version, and you can see pages per visit is down 23% and time on site is down 14.5% for mobile users. Compared to my own site, ericnagel.com, which has only a small amount of mobile traffic (less than 5%) but my mobile traffic has more pages per visit than my desktop traffic!

Now that you know you have mobile traffic, what do you do?

Detecting Mobile Users

Apparently you can handle the display of content just with CSS through “responsive web design”. But I suck at CSS.

A simple PHP script can let you know if your visitor is on a mobile device or not. Then, get a mobile website template and serve up the appropriate version for the user.

Web Design 101

Thankfully, I’ve been building websites for some time now. When I was your age, we had to worry about dial-up speeds. Anyone else remember testing load times on a 14.4 modem?

Optimize your images! If you’re reading this post, you’re probably on a fast broadband connection (or, you’re on a mobile device). Over a DSL line, a 46K image is no problem, but it can still be a pain on a mobile phone.

Know the difference between a GIF and a JPG, and keep lowering the quality of the image until your eye notices a difference, then go up 1 level. I learned all of this from Creating Killer Websites back in the late ’90’s – you can still get their tutorials from the Wayback machine.

Finally, if your image will only be 250×300 on your site, do NOT save it as 1024×768 and resize it via HTML or CSS.

WordPress Plugin

WP TouchThanks for reading along… here’s the 5 minute WordPress “fix” I promised you earlier: WP-Touch. WP-Touch will detect if the user is on a mobile device and, if so, show your content in a mobile-friendly format. Install… done.

Mobile use is on the rise (heck, even my Mom has a smart phone). It’s important to understand how much mobile traffic your site is getting, how to identify and design for those users, and finally how to encourage them to take action.

I encourage you to use those pretty social sharing buttons below and share this post with others 🙂

  • Kush A.
    Posted June 8, 2012 9:39 am 0Likes

    Timely post, was checking mobile visitor stats across 3 sites and in all cases at least 20% of visitors were from mobile devices!

    Just installed the plugin on our blog, digging the clean look without side columns.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.