Apple recently unveiled the newest iteration of the iPad: the iPad Air. And much like the Apple devices that came before it, the thin, new tablet is selling remarkably well—T-Mobile reports selling more tablets in conjunction with launch day than they did during the entire prior quarter.
This is only the most recent indicator of the size of the mobile market; its adoption is growing 8 times faster than web adoption did in the ’90s. So what does this mean for your business?
Simply put, it means that if you haven’t optimized your website for mobile use, you’re failing to reach a massive consumer base.
Here are a few relevant statistics to drive this point home:
Mobile Device Usage and Habits
- 17.4% of all web traffic in 2013 has come from mobile devices (excluding tablets)
- 50% of average global mobile web users use mobile devices as their primary or exclusive means of going online
- 48% of mobile users said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business
Rise of the Tablet
- 35% of Americans ages 16 and over own a tablet computer
- 52% of tablet users say they prefer to shop on their tablet rather than their PC
- 72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week
Mobile Buying Habits
- 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site
- 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service
Clearly, making sure that your site functions well on mobile devices is important. But that doesn’t just mean creating m.yoursite.com and calling it a day. In fact, that could do more harm than good.
Google has announced that it will penalize both misconfigured sites and sites with faulty redirects in mobile search results . That means that if your website performs poorly on mobile devices or redirects smartphone users to irrelevant pages (e.g. www.yoursite.com/service redirecting to m.yoursite.com), you’ll be paying for it on the results page.
The easiest way to avoid this is to avoid creating m.yoursite.com altogether and instead use responsive design. With responsive design, users can go directly to www.yoursite.com, and the site automatically adjusts its layout to fit whatever device is being used. An added benefit to this is that it streamlines sharing in the event that a user wants to send a link from a smartphone to a computer, or vice versa.
However, Google’s webmaster guidelines for building mobile-optimized websites states that “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design,” but “If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports having your content being served using different HTML.”
In the end, it is important that your website be optimized for mobile devices no matter which way you choose to go about it.