As we monitor Google Analytics for clients, we have seen a significant increase in the percentage of visits which are coming from mobile and tablet users. At the beginning of last year, these visits were well under 7-8% of all visits to the site. Now we are seeing upwards of 20% mobile and tablet visitors on many sites.
How is your website working on these devices? Google Analytics will not only tell you how many visits are from mobile users, but will also compare their visits with desktop users when you look at the Mobile section on your analytics dashboard. The screen below shows some of the statistics on this page.
One important clue that your website may not be usable enough in mobile is to look at the Bounce Rate. The bounce rate tells you how many people came to your site and immediately clicked away from it. Bounce rate is usually an indication that your site content is not relevant to what the user is looking for. However, when the mobile bounce rate is significantly higher than the non-mobile bounce rate this can indicate that your site doesn’t work very well on mobile devices. The example above is a site not optimized for mobile browsing. The site currently has about 14% mobile traffic. For non-mobile visitors the bounce rate is about 15%. For mobile visitors, the bounce rate is 29% which is significantly greater than the overall site average of about 18%. Yet, the percentage of new users visiting the site is the same or even greater for the mobile users.
Mobile browsing requires different considerations in your website design. Here are a few of these:
- The buttons have to be bigger. “Clicking” with a fingertip is much harder when the target area is small.
- The text has to be larger. Web sites that collapse to show content in an immediately readable fashion are better than sites that require lots of zooming and scrolling.
- Don’t rely on rollover effects for menus and content. Flyout menus are popular, but in general, actions on a touch screen are clicks.
- Don’t use Flash. As well as the problems with search engines and Flash, most mobile browsers do not support it.
- Link to your phone number. Most mobile browsers can place a phone call right from the link.
Should you have a separate mobile web site? An iPhone app? An Android app? Depending on your market and the amount of traffic you get on your web site, the answer may be yes. However, for most small and medium businesses this is not realistic or affordable for many reasons. Fortunately, it is getting easier to create a website that is optimized for multiple device viewing. A good website framework based on HTML5 and responsive design will ensure that your site is functional and well positioned for the future. Our number one recommendation for customers this year is to make sure your website gets optimized for mobile devices.
[Photo Credit Flickr: Johan Larsson CC license]