In 2021, the number of unique mobile internet users reached 4.32 billion. This means that 90% of the global internet population now uses a mobile device to access the internet.
For businesses of any kind, this growth clearly indicates the importance of having a mobile-friendly website.
The problem is, how do you know whether or not your website is mobile-friendly? In this guide, we’ll help walk you through the critical value of a mobile-friendly website, what components indicate that a website is mobile-friendly, and share some free tools you can use to quickly test your site. From there, we’ll offer some practical takeaways to help ensure that your website earns you more leads.
Why Does Mobile-Friendliness Matter?
The sheer number of people using mobile devices to access the internet indicates the critical value of a mobile-friendly site. However, it isn’t just that people are accessing websites using their phones and tablets; it is that they care about the experience.
If a visitor encounters your website on a mobile device and is forced to pinch their screen to see things or must frustratingly tap away at a button that won’t respond, they are likely to abandon your website.
Once a user abandons your website, it will take a lot more work to entice them to return. This can have a noticeable negative effect on your marketing spend. You might be designing killer ads that drive traffic to your website, only to see a painfully low conversion rate from those visitors.
On the flip side, 79% of people are more likely to revisit your site and share it with others if it is easy to use on a mobile device. This means that these visitors could quickly become loyal, repeat customers that help promote your business to others. In this way, a mobile-friendly site can actually help you lower your marketing spend while increasing your conversion rate.
What Makes a Site Mobile-Friendly?
In order to determine whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, it is important to understand the fundamentals of a mobile-friendly site. These basic components help ensure that visitors who land on your website, regardless of device, have a positive experience.
- Font size: A mobile-friendly site should feature a font that is easily readable regardless of device size. In some cases, when poorly designed, a website accessed on a mobile device will feature either an enormously large font with single letters taking up the whole screen or minuscule font, which is impossible to read and requires the user to pinch the screen to zoom in on words.
- Scrollability: Webpages on a mobile-friendly site should be easy for a visitor to scroll quickly. They should not rely on small scroll bars, which are difficult to use on a mobile device. Instead, the website should use the native scroll technology of the device on which they accessed it.
- Load speed: Desktop computers and laptops have faster processors than mobile devices and are usually hooked up to more reliable connections. For this reason, there is more leeway with website loading requirements when accessed on these devices. For a mobile device, the processor is often smaller and the connection might be weak. This means that clean code and fast load times are critical for mobile-friendliness.
- Button placement: Nothing will destroy conversion rates faster on a mobile device than buttons that are difficult to find or impossible to tap. All call-to-action buttons should be easy to see and should only require a single tap to access.
- Form style: For service-based businesses, forms are often central to capturing new leads. However, they can also become a nightmare for customers on mobile devices. To be mobile-friendly, all form fields should be simple to navigate. This includes ensuring that calendars switch to a simple date picker rather than a pop-out that can be impossible to utilize on a mobile device. If possible, auto-fill should be enabled, allowing customers to input their information without tedious typing.
- Full functionality: Finally, a truly mobile-friendly website should feature all the same functionality as a desktop version. The goal is to ensure that a customer experiences the same thing whether they visit your company on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. This helps create a seamless experience and offers brand consistency.
Responsive Versus Mobile-Friendly
When discussing mobile-friendly website design, you may have heard of the term responsive web design. What is the difference between a responsive web design and a mobile-friendly design?
A responsive web design is a website that uses the same URL and the same code, regardless of the device used to access the website. This design type simply adjusts to match the screen size.
When it comes to designing a mobile-friendly website, Google recommends that you use a responsive web design rather than creating a separate URL and code base for your mobile design. This allows you to maintain only one version of your website rather than two and helps ensure a consistent customer experience.
5 Free Tools for Testing Mobile Friendliness
There are numerous ways to test your website for mobile friendliness. For starters, you can simply pull up your own website on a mobile device and test it out.
While this will give you a quick idea of what is working well and what needs improvement, for a deep dive into the technical performance of your website on mobile devices, we recommend trying out some of the following free tools. Each of these tools offers a different report, helping you put together a checklist of what you need to do to improve your website’s mobile design.
1. Google Search Console: Mobile-Friendly Test
Starting with Google, you can use the search engine’s Mobile-Friendly Test to get a quick, simple answer to whether or not a webpage is mobile-friendly. This tool is easy to use. Simply type your URL into the search bar and click or tap Test URL.
Next, you’ll be offered a pass or fail grade. If your webpage is mobile-friendly, Google will indicate, “Page is usable on mobile.” If it is not mobile-friendly, instead of a green check mark, you’ll receive a red x and a message reading, “Page isn’t usable on mobile.” For websites that fail, under the Details section, you’ll be provided with a few quick reasons why your webpage failed the test.
This tool is a great place to begin, but keep in mind that it offers a limited look at your website’s mobile-friendliness. To dive deeper, head to the next free tool.
2. Google: PageSpeed Insights
Another free Google tool, PageSpeed Insights, offers a much more detailed approach than Google’s mobile-friendly test. When you run your website through this tool, you’ll receive a report for both mobile and desktop.
This tool does a great job of testing your website across numerous mobile device types and potential connections used. Located underneath each section of the report, Google will indicate what type of device, connection, and browser was used.
Along with providing easy-to-digest scores for each area of performance, Google offers a Diagnostics section where you can dive deeper into the technical reasons for your scores.
This is a powerful tool; however, the insights provided do require a bit more technical expertise to turn into viable actions.
3. Bing: Mobile Friendliness Test Tool
Moving from one search engine to another, the Bing Mobile Friendliness Test Tool is well-worth testing out in addition to Google. Through Bing’s tool, you can type in your webpage URL, hit analyze, and read a quick synopsis giving you a pass or fail grade.
Along with indicating whether your page is considered mobile-friendly or not, Bing will give you a quick synopsis of why you received your pass or fail grade. This information is easy to understand and doesn’t require technical expertise. This can be a great tool to use in conjunction with Google’s mobile-friendly test.
For those who want to dive a little deeper, WebPageTest is a great place to go. From the homepage of this website, you’ll enter your website URL, where you’ll have the option to choose from a few different simple configurations from recommended locations and browser presets. For mobile testing, you can pick between a simulated 4G or 3G connection. The tool also lets you manually configure your settings, allowing you the chance to test out any combination you want.
Next, you’ll hit Start Test. The test will be processed, and your results will automatically populate once the tool is finished.
At the top of your report, you’ll have the option to toggle your view, export the report, and re-run the test. The start of the report offers simple, easily digestible information discussing the speed of your site, usability, and resiliency.
From here, those with a more technical background can dive deeper by clicking on the opportunity icons to learn more about how you can improve the code.
Further down the report, you can also see how your website loads displayed as a filmstrip, waterfall, and video.
WebPageTest is an extremely robust tool that offers incredible insights. However, much of the content is technical, making it the best fit for those with a development team or agency managing their website.
5. BrowserStack: Responsive Testing
Rounding out our list is BrowserStack. This tool is a bit different than the above-listed websites in that it focuses solely on the responsiveness of your website’s design. It won’t give you a grade or score but will allow you to see exactly what your website will look like on almost any mobile device that exists.
This is a great tool for helping you understand the visual impact of your website on mobile devices. It is easy to use and allows you to check website responsiveness on multiple iOS & Android devices for free. It is worth noting that you have to sign up for a free trial, and you can’t use the live testing features unless you upgrade your plan.
This is a great tool for a quick look at how your website design is responding to devices you and your team might not have on hand.
Now that you know how to test your website, it’s time to resolve any issues you discover. For starters, switch to a responsive web design if you haven’t already. In a study performed by Google, one brand that implemented a responsive web design saw that visitors visited 11% more pages on their site per visit and mobile conversions grew by 51%.
Next, think through your workflows carefully. The goal is to make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for, regardless of the size of the device they use to access your website. To learn more about improving the flow of your website, visit our resource on enhancing website navigation.
Break Down Your Stats with J&L Marketing
Designing a mobile-friendly website is a must in our mobile-first world. However, reading through reports on the performance of your website can be tedious and highly technical. At J&L Marketing, we are here to help.
If you’d like to learn more about improving your mobile experience and increasing conversation rates, reach out for a free consultation. We look forward to working with you to provide the best customer experience possible.