This article provides a comprehensive explanation of why mobile website performance is becoming increasingly important in the digital space and what that means for website admins and marketers in general.
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In a recent article, we discussed why website performance is much more important than most marketers think.
The speed and functionality of your site has a significant impact on your ability to effectively engage your target audience and convert website visitors into customers.
If your visitors have a poor user experience (UX) on your site due to slow-loading pages, it’s likely to cause them to bounce off and go elsewhere. Once that happens, they may never return. In fact, almost 70% of consumers say that page speed impacts their willingness to buy an online business. So, a slow website will drive away a significant percentage of your prospective online business.
Clearly, avoiding these outcomes should be a top priority for marketers, and working hard to improve your website’s performance is the best way to do that. While we’ve covered general website performance in detail across various resources recently, it’s equally important – if not more so – to look at mobile website performance as well.
Over the past year or so, more than half (around 60%) of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. Looking at your unique analytics, you may find this is even greater for your own website’s audience.
When so many members of your target audience prefer to browse the web on their smartphones, you need to take your mobile website’s performance as seriously as you do with desktop.
As more people continue to use their smartphones as their preferred way to access the Internet, a mobile-friendly website will be crucial in reaching as large an audience as possible. Optimising your website to perform well in a mobile context is a key step towards attracting more visitors and gaining more customers.
For most website visitors, it only takes around 50 milli-seconds, or 0.05 seconds, to form an opinion about your website. More often than not, that opinion will determine whether they’re going to stay on your site or bounce off.
So, speed is critical for a positive UX. Your audience wants your web pages to load in around one second or less, and many will lose patience after waiting for more than two seconds. You must ensure your mobile website is consistently meeting these expectations, otherwise your visitor retention rates will suffer.
This article will help you understand what dictates your website’s performance, and provide tips to make improvements that will deliver a better UX for your visitors.
Your website’s performance influences your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Despite that, some marketers still overlook this in their search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
Website performance on mobile devices has a dedicated role to play in SEO as its own aspect of the search ranking criteria. For example, Google will prioritise mobile-responsive websites in its search results over sites not optimised for mobile use. So, a mobile-friendly site can improve your visibility in SERPs and help you attract more visitors through organic searches.
While optimising your website to perform well on mobile is arguably as important as desktop, solving this challenge is not as straightforward as employing the same techniques for both. There are some key considerations you’ll need to make when approaching mobile website performance, which include:
To perform to the necessary levels, your site must be mobile-responsive. This means it can adapt from its desktop format to fit different screen sizes on various types of mobile devices. You’ll need to test your website’s responsiveness across the appropriate sizes for smartphones and tablets, to ensure it’s responsive and performant for mobile users. There are also a number of design and functionality factors that may need to be adjusted to create a mobile-responsive website, including layout, content structure, media files, and more.
Your site’s user interface (UI) will also need to be responsive to the touch-screen functionality of smartphones and tablets.
Catering for touch-screens will affect your UI and UX design, as it will require crucial components of your web pages, like clickable buttons, to be suitable for touch-screens. This is especially important for all your call-to-action buttons. If you publish web pages that hinder your visitors’ ability to hit a call-to-action, it will reduce the conversion rate of your mobile site.
This could also apply to any forms you require visitors to fill out, whether for subscribing, completing a transaction, or anything else.
Navigating a website on a smaller screen with a touch interface is more difficult for visitors, which raises more risk of frustration.
Ensure the design of your site is user-friendly for mobile users to make it as easy as possible for them. Ideally, they should be able to move from the page they land on to achieve their goal for visiting (or, in other words, to clicking a call-to-action) in as few steps as possible.
Again, this same principle should apply to any forms, in terms of including as few fields to fill in as possible.
You could be missing out on crucial opportunities if you settle for sub-par website performance and speed. In this resource article, we explain why it’s so important to meet (or exceed) your audience’s expectations.
As mentioned earlier, your audience has very little patience for web pages that load in less than a second or so. With that in mind, it’s crucial for your mobile website performance to be optimised because it’s likely your mobile users will be working with slower Internet connections.
Whether accessing the Internet from public Wi-Fi, inconsistent 4G, or from remote areas with poor coverage, your mobile users don’t have the same connectivity as they would from their homes or offices. This means that your website has even less leeway for poor performance if you hope to engage and retain visitors on mobile.
The conventions of browsing a website on a mobile device should also influence your approach to the content on your web pages. The same content style, length, and density you’re used to publishing on your standard desktop site may not be appropriate or effective for mobile use.
Written content suitable for mobile-first sites will often need to be shorter and easier to read. This should be taken into account when deciding word-count, sentence and paragraph length, font, text size, use of bullet points, and more. Images and videos will also need to be optimised and sized for mobile consumption, to ensure they present correctly and keep your page weight down.
With this in mind, you may find it necessary to make certain desktop-specific content hidden or de-prioritised on your mobile site only to maintain performance.
It’s important to remember that the mobile web provides users with more native mobile features than typical desktop capabilities tend to offer.
For example, searching the web on a smartphone will show the user results based on their geolocation. Website visitors may also prefer to use functionality like using their camera to scan QR codes rather than completing a form.
A great example of this is on the website our team delivered for Medivet. Their intelligent “find a practice” feature uses native smartphone GPS technology, accessing the user’s specific location and providing them with the nearest results.
We had the pleasure of working on the corporate website for one of our valued clients, Medivet. As part of this project, we reduced mobile load time and improved local search.
Search engines like Google also prioritise websites that are compliant with mobile-first indexing.
That means you opt to let search engines use the mobile version of your site for indexing, which helps determine your placement in their SERPs. It’s wise to opt for mobile-first indexing to further boost your SEO, but you’ll need to ensure you’ve optimised your site for mobile performance to achieve the best possible results.
Due to the importance of having a highly intuitive, sophisticated website, many businesses now rely on the services of specialist web design and development agencies to help create engaging digital presences. As digital marketing has become so crucial today, this is becoming an increasingly popular approach because of the disadvantages facing businesses with basic websites that offer a poor UX.
In these cases, for those looking externally for web development support, it’s vital to note that a good agency should be supporting you by prioritising responsive web design as a standard aspect of its services. It should be non-negotiable in the current digital business landscape to ensure your website is optimised for mobile.
While marketers should keep up-to-date with the core principles of website performance, and continuously test and apply them across all formats and screen sizes, the mobile-specific considerations discussed here are worth paying particular attention to.
Of course, website performance is a complex topic, and there’s a lot more involved than this. To help you truly master your website’s performance, we’ve produced The Marketer’s Guide to Website Performance: How to Optimise Your Site’s Speed and Performance to Improve UX and Attract More Customers.
This eBook highlights what industry-leading website performance looks like in today’s fast-moving digital landscape, and provides practical tips and guidance to help you achieve that level of performance for your own site.
The eBook also includes:
If you want to read more about website performance, make sure to check out our guide to website performance. We have produced this FREE eBook in collaboration with WP Engine, exploring the vast topic of website performance.
In conclusion, website performance is a critical factor in engaging your target audience and converting visitors into customers. Slow-loading pages can drive away potential business, as nearly 70% of consumers consider page speed when making online purchases. With over 60% of web traffic coming from mobile devices, optimising your mobile website’s performance is paramount.
Meeting user expectations for fast loading times and providing a mobile-friendly experience are essential to retaining visitors and improving your site’s SEO ranking. To succeed in the digital landscape, prioritising responsive web design is non-negotiable, ensuring your website is optimised for both desktop and mobile users.