If your small business website is not easily accessible on a mobile device (such as a smartphone or a tablet), you are losing sales opportunities.
It’s that simple.
Mobile Internet usage has been increasing dramatically over the past few years and is showing no sign of slowing. A recent study revealed that Canadians spend over half of their time on the Internet using a smartphone or a tablet. There is little doubt that number will continue to grow, making it essential for websites to be easily accessible on these mobile devices.
Here are three simple reasons you need a mobile-optimized website for your small business.
89% of Canadian smartphone users search for local information
Every day, Canadians are using the Internet to search for small businesses like yours. Desktop computers are still the #1 device used to conduct online searches for local businesses, but numerous studies show that in North America, the number of searches made for local information on mobile devices is on the rise.
As of June 2014, there were about 18 million smartphones in Canada which means that over half of Canadians own a smartphone. According to Google, six out of ten Canadian smartphone owners use their device to search for local information at least once a week. That’s at least 11 million local searches every week!
If potential customers are going to find your small business when they search on their smartphones, your website needs to clearly and quickly communicate your message to them.
But how do you ensure that your website works well on the diversity of mobile devices being used for local searches?
The fact is, many adults in North America now own several devices that are connected to the Internet. People access local information via desktops, laptops, phones, tablets—all with various sized monitors and screens.
To make things more interesting, the vast majority of online consumers actually start searching on one device and complete it on a different one. It is therefore crucial that your website communicates well on as many devices as possible.
Potential customers need to be able to find information on your website when they use their desktop computers at home, and when they access your website using their smartphones when they are away from home.
88% of Canadian smartphone searchers take action after searching for local businesses
When potential customers search for small business websites like yours using a smartphone or tablet, they are generally doing so because they need to quickly find an address, contact information, or details on a specific product or service.
Searches using desktop computers are usually done when people are conducting general research. However, when people use mobile devices for local searches, they are usually more prepared to make a decision. In fact, one study discovered that most searches made using a mobile device result in some kind of action on the resulting website within one hour.
If a mobile device user has a positive experience on your website, they are 67% more likely to buy your product or service.
Website Design for As Many Devices As Possible
Your small business website needs to be designed so that local customers have the best experience possible, regardless of the device they are using to find you. When potential customers find your website via a desktop or laptop computer, they should have a similar level of satisfaction. The experience on their mobile devices, however, should make it much easier for them to make a decision to do business with you.
80% of Internet searchers use Google…and Google Loves Mobile Users
Approximately 80% of Internet searchers use Google to find what they’re looking for. That means if you want your small business website to be found by potential customers, you need to have a website that can be found quickly in Google’s search results.
So how do you get Google to like your website?
Over the past few years, Google has been changing their search policies to assign higher ranking to websites that work well across multiple devices.
In some cases, Google will actually penalize your website by ranking it lower if your mobile website is not working up to their standards. In fact, Google has recently been notifying website managers of “non-mobile-friendly pages” it finds and outlines steps needed to fix the problems. Websites that are not fixed will be “ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”
Why is Google so insistent that websites are mobile friendly?
Well, there are numerous reasons (many of which affect Google’s business model, of course), but Google is simply responding to the incredible growth in mobile Internet searches, and to the diversity of devices used for searches.
As mentioned already, it is more important to design a “multi-screen” website—one that is optimized for multiple devices such as desktops, tablets and smartphones. Google knows that to service its customers well, it must deliver results that work well on all devices used by their customers.
Your small business website will be ranked higher in search engine results if it is designed to work well on multiple devices.
At Lighthouse Marketing, we have adopted a website design strategy that considers our clients’ industries and target markets in order to provide optimal mobile website solutions. That means every small business website project that we take on is designed to look good on devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
We also believe that looking good on these devices is not enough. Quality content that is easily accessible and clearly communicated is vital if your website is to be effective in converting online local searchers into qualified local customers.
And after all, the ultimate goal for your small business website is to find and serve more customers.
Contact us if you’re interested in finding out more about our ongoing support and other online marketing services.