Are you really ready for mobile?
If you didn't know it by now you certainly should – the internet is not just going mobile, but it has gone mobile. Mobile use now accounts for more than half of all internet usage. From a starting point of 99.4% use on desktop in 2009, mobile stormed in and took over as the highest use by the end of 2016.
But when measured by time spent online, the numbers are even higher, with mobile taking and average of 71% of American user's online time.
Google recognised this some time ago and issued its Mobile Optimization Guidelines. A set of design guides to help website developers – at the same time they announced that they intended to penalise sites that are not mobile-friendly.
This means they will actually downgrade your site rankings if they think you are not sufficiently mobile-friendly - so they helpfully give you a test you can run, and they will tell you what they think.
This is the result you are looking for …
But What About Having an App?
Apps can be a great way to add extra value to the experience you give your customers. However, only if they really do add extra value. All too often apps come over to the users as a bland “me-too” experience that gives little more than what is, or could be, on offer on your website.
As a result users are getting app-fatigue – they are getting tired of having to install yet another app to get access to something that could so easily be done through a more interactive web experience and they are unwilling to sacrifice even more battery life by adding apps to their already overloaded phone. Users also cite the hassle of the constant updates, concerns about security and the increasingly high levels of permissions apps seem to be asking for - “Is it OK if I read all your text messages and rifle through your address book?”, the Apps says … “Err, no – not really”, comes back the answer.
So Apps are amazing if you're adding real value, or if its going to considerably improve the customer experience, otherwise a well crafted mobile web experience is probably a better way forward.
So that's it then? Make a mobile site.
No – That's just the start. Next to consider it mobile search. At first you'd think it wasn't going to be much different from desktop, right? But its is. Mobile users almost always use voice search instead of typing-in their search – and they talk to their phone like its one of their friends. This means the sort of search terms they are using are framed much more like natural language, instead of just a list of key words.
Although mobile Internet usage has just tipped the 50% mark, when it comes to search – a recent report from Hitwise says the average ratio is closer to 60% in favour of mobile. In fact it was as long ago as May 2015 that Google announced they were seeing more than 50% of searches on mobile.
The exact ratio varies by market sector with some like Food & Drink showing a whopping 72% bias towards mobile search.
And the bias towards more wordy searches on mobile is also shown with Food & Drink searches recording an average of 15.5 characters per search on mobile, compared to 13.8 on desktop.
This means you need to optimise your search terms separately for desktop and mobile. This is especially important for mobile as 48% of web visits from a mobile device start with a web search.
Optimising Your Domain Names
You also need to consider how mobile-friendly your domain names are. A main domain name that is hard to say, enter or remember can mean relying on winning the war of the search rankings, so could mean losing visitors to your competitors.
A UK start-up called Names.of.London is trying to address this issue by offering mobile-friendly domain names that are made of natural language phrases, under their brand Phrases.for.Sale – they call these Readable Domain Names.
By using a domain names that is made of dictionary words, you immediately make it easier for people to enter into their phones either using the on-screen-keyboard, and its predictive typing, or simply by saying it into the phone.
These easy to remember domain names, like Gifts.for.Men or Baby.and.Mom can then be used as your call-to-action in offline advertising such as radio, TV, billboard, posters or any marketing literature. Although particularly mobile-friendly, they work in any browser – desktop or mobile.
With built-in compatibility for URL shortening service, which offer tracking and analytics, like Bit.ly Branded Domains or Rebrandly, Names.of.London domain names can be used on their own, or extended to monitor specific campaigns or exposures.
Having a range of options gives you the advantage of being able to direct the customer to the exact product, service or event that sparked their interest, instead of dropping them at your website front door and leaving it up to them to find their way around.
The Proof of the Pudding ...
These phrase are already proving popular with mobile users, who make up 88% of the 10,500 average weekly uses of these Readable Domain Names. With most uses coming from young people (51% are under 34) on high end devices, running some of the latest iOS or Android operating systems.
Connecting off-line to on-line
When it comes to connecting off-line advertising to your on-line content there isn't much choice about. Apple have announced that the next version (v11) of iOS will include native support for QR codes, which are great for adding to printed material. However, not so great for radio or TV, and truly terrible for trying to remember or tell your friends about.
With a fabulous Readable Domain Name like Hooked.on.Fashion you can provide people with a call-to-action that they can easily read, say, remember, enter into their phone and tell their friends about – so they can now find your product or service without resorting to the lottery of search results.
Mobile use is only set to increase – make sure you are prepared.