Tech Trend for Small Business: Mobile-Friendly Websites

Jun 20, 2017

Chris Williams

Digital Marketing Manager, PlanetMagpie

Last November represented a tipping point for web browsing. More people accessed the internet from their phones than from desktops and laptops, according to ZDNet. And mobile internet usage has only continued to increase since then.

On a daily basis you see multiple people walking, driving, sitting in coffee shops, while looking at their phones. They're not just texting. They're searching the web, ordering products, and doing work. Some of these mobile users are small business customers, which means it’s now crucial for websites to not only look good on a phone screen, but be mobile-friendly.

What is Mobile-Friendliness?

In April 2015, Google changed how it ranks websites. Since then, small business websites that aren't mobile-friendly have seen their search presence shrink, while competitors with mobile-friendly sites rank higher.

Mobile-friendliness refers to how a website appears on different devices. A phone's screen is much smaller than a laptop's, so a website needs to arrange itself accordingly. Customers don’t like being forced to swipe around several times to see everything. If a website is "smart" enough to reorganize itself on a phone, then it's considered mobile-friendly.

Now, the big question: is YOUR website mobile-friendly? If you're unsure, visit Google's free tester: Mobile Friendly Testing Tool and type in your site's URL. It will tell you if the website shows up properly on a phone. If so, great! You're in good shape. If not, it's time to make some changes.

Moving to Mobile-Friendly

Google pushes mobile-friendliness because web users want it. Mobile-friendliness (or lack thereof) is one of the biggest reasons why visitors leave a website. No small business can afford to lose customers and thus, it's no longer optional to have a mobile-friendly site.

Making a site mobile-friendly depends on how you created the site in the first place.

  • Made in WordPress? You'll have the easiest time moving to a mobile-friendly setup. All you have to do is use a plugin and/or responsive theme. Most up-to-date themes are mobile-friendly by default. If you aren't sure, email the theme's creator.
  • Made with a CMS? Check with the CMS maker. It may include "responsive design" as a pre-built option or an add-on you can activate. (Responsive Design is a term for an underlying technology that senses the type of device someone views your website on. The site then changes how it looks to match that device).
  • Made with Basic HTML? Some older sites stick with basic HTML. That was OK in the past, but not anymore. You'll need to redevelop your site.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It all depends on the site complexity. Some customers' websites need only a few adjustments, while others require major design overhauls.

In either case, it's worth the effort. A 2016 survey by found that 68 percent of small business websites are now mobile-friendly. While this is much better than the 1 out of 5 in 2015, it still means that thousands of small businesses are ignoring all of those customers using mobile phones.

At the end of the day, mobile-friendly websites avoid Google search penalties and provide a marketing advantage for small businesses that are competing with big name competitors in their industry. If their website isn't mobile-friendly and yours is, you've just beaten them to a large share of the market!

What are your thoughts on mobile-friendliness? Please share in the comments below.

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