We build responsive websites, but we also work with people who have older websites, and the question of whether they really need to change their websites right now comes up frequently. Some companies know they’ll need to update their website some time in the next few years anyway, and figure they’ll wait till they can’t wait any longer and get mobile-friendly then.
There are a lot of factors involved. We work with a few websites that receive more than half of all visits via mobile devices. If that’s your traffic, then you absolutely have to be mobile-friendly. Most websites have 20-30% traffic. That’s enough for us to want to update to a mobile-friendly website, especially since for some sites low mobile traffic may be the results of a mobile-unfriendly website. But it may not be a high enough percentage to push everyone to take action.
Another important consideration is ROI.
Quick — which of the following actions is most likely to be taken on a mobile device?
- Purchasing a product
- Reading a book
I would definitely have guessed #1, but a recent study of mobile device behavior shows that both these actions are taken by about 10% of mobile device users. If your site has 12% mobile traffic, 10% of those people might make a purchase, multiply by your average conversion rate… The pain may not yet be great enough to justify the expense of rebuilding a website.
There’s another factor now which might bring you to the tipping point.
Google has for some time been saying that they favor responsive websites, but there has now been an official announcement:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, meaning more #mobilefriendly sites in search results.
If you know that your website isn’t providing the best experience for mobile visitors, suspect that future mobile users will be increasingly willing to shop by phone, and have been warned that Google will now be strongly favoring mobile-friendly websites, it’s probably time to get that website fixed.
If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly or not in Google’s opinion, you can check with Google’s Webmaster Tools. If you have issues, you’ll see a message like this:
Responsive websites work better not just on mobile devices but on large screens as well. For SEO and for your human visitors, it’s time to make sure that your website works well on all devices.