How does your website look on a mobile phone or a tablet?

Can people read it without having to zoom in? Is it easy to navigate on such a small device?

These are important questions to ask yourself because you might be missing out on sales if your website is not mobile-friendly. Over 73% of the population first access a website on their mobile phone and they are making purchasing decisions while on the go. If they visit your website and it is too difficult to use, they could become frustrated and move on to someone else’s.

When I refer to a “mobile-friendly website”, what I am really talking about is a “responsive website”. A responsive website is one that automatically changes the way it looks according to the device in use. This means that the website looks a little different when viewed on your desktop computer compared to how it looks on a tablet or a mobile phone.

Today, with Adobe’s new and powerful web design programs like Dreamweaver, or other popular web design programs such as WordPress, responsive websites are much more readily available. These are exciting times for both designers and their clients!

If you already have a website, it probably isn’t responsive. It might look spectacular on a desktop or laptop computer, but taking a look at that wonderful website on your phone isn’t nearly as impressive. In fact, it is teeny-tiny making it difficult to use.

And that’s a problem, because you don’t want to drive ‘would-be’ customers away from your website when they need it most.

I should address a couple of concerns that might have wormed their way into your mind while reading this article. You may have already invested a lot of time, effort, and money into your website and now I’m telling you that it isn’t effective for the millions of mobile phone users who are making purchasing decisions.

Concern 1
Why are you only finding out about this now rather than before you had your website designed and launched?

Answer
In the last 2 years there has been an explosive increase in users of mobile devices. Prior to this, most of us weren’t really aware of a need to make responsive websites. Oh sure, some designers created websites that showed in the upper, left area of your desktop monitor in an attempt to make things look better on phones and tablets, but there just wasn’t the knowledge or the need – until a very short while ago – to target web design for mobile use.

The truth is, we are collectively, and quickly, becoming very mobile device savvy. Statistics indicate that society is relying on them more and more for information about everything. You want your website to cater to these people. According to CBC news, on September 23, 2013, Apple sold 9 million new iPhone 5S and 5C handsets in 3 days. That’s THREE DAYS! And, it is predicted that by the end of 2017, according to CCS Insight’s, over 6.6 billion mobile phones will be in use world wide. Is your website ready?

Concern 2
If you already have a website, can it be changed into a responsive website?

Answer
Yes. If you have a website, and it isn’t responsive, the solution is to have it optimized for mobile devices. Often this involves design alterations so that the site automatically responds to the device in use. However, the overall ‘look’ – that is, your brand – can be maintained during the optimization process. If your website is ‘old’ and looking dated, it is probably time for a complete design change anyway and now is the perfect time to take advantage of having it created as a responsive site.

In conclusion, it is important for businesses to gear much of their selling power to users of mobile devices. Your customers should be able to find out about your products and services easily when they access your website regardless of which device they are using. For those of you who do not have a website, but plan to invest in one, make sure that you ask your designer for a responsive website and that they have experience in creating this type of site.