Smartphones Are Redefining The Web
The speed of change is astounding. Yet, it is a quiet revolution. Mobile is remaking the Internet in its own image. Increasingly, when consumers access the Web it is purely a Mobile experience. The desktop computer lies idle, the laptop collects dust. The smartphone is not just the first choice for Internet access, it is increasingly the only one.
Benedict Evans, an analyst with Andreessen Horowitz ('a16z'), a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley that invests in technology companies, discusses the worldwide trends in Mobile dominance of the web in the presentation shown below. In essence, according to his research, consumers are increasingly choosing to make the smartphone the only device they use to access the Web irrespective of income levels.
It is an insightful analysis that any business owner interested in reaching online consumers may find of interest.
How Mobile Is Changing Online Search
As the smartphone has risen to dominate online search, Google is moving quickly to meet the demand. In a keynote speech by Google representative Gary Illyes at Pubcon in Las Vegas (Oct., 2016) it was revealed that in the coming months Google will split its search index into two versions. The Mobile Search Index (for use on smartphones and other mobile devices) will be the primary search index, featuring more frequent updates and a greater depth of content. The secondary search index will be for desktop search. The Desktop Search Index (for desktop computers and laptops)will have fewer updates and less content. This is a reflection of the growing emphasis on mobile search and online consumers have moved to mobile devices and away from traditional computers.
Mobile Trends on Facebook
You cannot talk about online consumers without including Facebook in the conversation. Here too, we see the clear dominance of mobile devices. As of 1st quarter 2016, 54.2 percent of Facebook's 1.65 billion monthly users access the social network exclusively from a mobile device. That is a 24% increase over last year. In fact, nearly 80% of all the time spent on all Social Media by consumers is through mobile devices.
Mobile Web Is The Best Way to Reach Online Consumers
How Does This Affect Your Business?
Clearly, mobile is the most important online channel for reaching today's consumers. Is your website and Social Media presence optimized to attract online consumers? If your website is not fully compatible with mobile devices, you are missing out a growing online audience. It also places you at a disadvantage in search results. In fact, your website should be optimized for mobile devices, not just offer a secondary mobile version of the site with abbreviated content.
Optimizing Your Website for Mobile
Responsive web design is considered the best practice by Google for designing a mobile-friendly website. A responsive website instantly adapts to the screen dimensions of any device used to view it. Your web designer should have samples of responsive web design featured in his portfolio. Secondly, the website must be fast. The pages should load quickly in mobile devices. When pages are overloaded with needless code and large images it will load slowly on the typical 3G and 4G mobile cellular networks used for mobile Web browsing. Again, a capable web designer will have a number of tools and options for addressing these issues.
A good primer on Mobile Friendly Websites is provided by Google. Also, feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions on this topic. I help small businesses to find new customers online. Don't let the trend towards Mobile Web catch your business unprepared!