Mobile phones or more appropriately smartphones have become an integral part of our lives but now they are creating an impact on your website conversion and bounce rate as well. People now use their smartphones to browse websites online and this trend is increasing very rapidly especially in Asia and Africa. In the words of my boss
Every man may not have a computer but nearly every man has a mobile phone
Due to this, website owners may have to revisit the design of their websites and check their websites on mobile website simulators available online to see how their websites look on a smartphone device. I use following simulators to check how websites I develop look on smartphones.
If you see that your website is not loading properly or you are having trouble finding your way on the website then it’s time you ask your web designer to design a mobile friendly version of your website which loads quickly on smartphones. If your visitors cannot find what they are looking for quickly believe me they will not wait another second and close their browser or worse visit another website (maybe your competitor). This in turn will increase the bounce rate of your website which is an indicator of how meaningful your website is to the visitor. Remember,
The higher the bounce rate the lesser the conversions.
You have two options for designing your mobile website.
- Responsive design
Responsive as the name suggests makes use of CSS media queries to render your webs page according to the device the visitor is using to browse your website. This means that your website will appear different on a mobile phone and tablet than on a desktop. The best thing about this option is that the URL of your website will be same. As an example check out my website on one of the above mentiond simulators and you will see what I mean. Google also strongly recommends that website owners use responsive design on their websites for better results.
- Design a separate mobile website
The first option is usually the best option however in cases where the website is huge or there is not enough time/resources or you don’t have the budget for a responsive design you can go and have a separate mobile website designed for yourself. There are only 2 issues with this option.
- Your mobile website will need to be run on a separate URL (sub-domain or some other address). Most people run their website on http://m.yourwebsite.com but this is not mandatory and you can use any address for this purpose.
- You need to check whether the visitor is browsing on a desktop or a mobile phone/tablet and redirect the visitor appropriately to the correct website so if a visitor is on a mobile phone then you need to redirect him to the mobile website.
Just to show how much an impact a mobile website can make in lowering your bounce rate check the graphic below. I implemented a mobile website for my client based in the UK. As you can see the bounce rate for mobile phones and tablets has gone down by 39% and 24% respectively.
UPDATE Dec 2013:
The bounce rate has gone down further and now the bounce rate is 20% for mobile phones and 22% for tablets which is less than half of what was originally and the overall goal completions have risen by 35%