We’ve spoken so much recently about the rise of mobile internet usage and what this means for your website. As mentioned many times before, Google has now announced that it will be penalising any website that it considers to be non mobile-friendly – that means if your visitors are required to zoom and pan when accessing your website on a mobile device, it will be made more difficult to find in Google search results listings (reducing the chances of your business appearing on Google’s first page).
But the truth is that not all businesses will benefit significantly from utilising responsive web design as different audiences will engage with different websites in many different ways. Think about a pharmaceutical company that supplies life saving drugs to a hospital’s specialist accident and emergency department as a for instance. What will visitors to their website be viewing its pages from? Our suspicion would be that the majority of its visitors will be from hospital staff who access the site when at work via their desktop PC. Therefore for this type of business, reported mobile traffic is likely to be fairly low, and as a result so will be the need for a responsive website.
But as a website owner, how can you be sure of the way in which your audience engages with your website? It’s easy to make assumptions about your audience and use these as an excuse not to look further into responsive design, but doing this may be short-sighted and could be costing you hundreds of potential customers. If you decide not to optimise your website for mobile usage (and that means making it more accessible on all devices from tablets to mobile phones and even smart watches), this should be a decision made based upon legitimate evidence from proper analysis of your website. This is something you can easily do using Google Analytics (if you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, find out why you should think about setting one up here), so we’re going to show you how.
Once you have logged into Google Analytics, make your way to the ‘Reporting’ tab, and expand the ‘Audience’ dropdown to the left hand side of the page. Select ‘Mobile’ from the list, and then click ‘Overview’. This will present you with a list of the devices that have been used by your audience to access your website (as shown in the example below).
On a site like the above where combined mobile visits (from both mobile phones and tablets) account for less than 10% of all sessions, the need for responsive web design is relatively low so a redesign is therefore something that could be delayed. However, you should still be aware that as consumer behaviour develops in order to keep up with the advancements being made in digital marketing, you will eventually need to think about making your website more mobile-friendly in order to stay current and in line with your competition. And as previously mentioned, though the activity of your audience may not display the need for easier mobile access, you may still be penalised by Google if it considers your website to be non mobile-friendly, thus undoing some of your SEO efforts.
If your mobile report is more akin to the one below, where combined mobile sessions account for nearly 60% of all sessions, responsive web design is definitely something you should be thinking about.