Has Your B2B Marketing Agency Made Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
Mobile-first is real! A mobile-responsive website is critical! Does your marketing agency provide you with a mobile-friendly b2b website?
Published: 07 Jan 2015
5 minutes read
I've long held the belief there's a self-fulfilling prophecy for B2B companies when they say: 'We're not bothered about responsive design. Our customers don't look at our site on mobile and we've got the Google Analytics stats to prove it.'
To me, that's like saying: 'My site doesn't get a lot of traffic so I can forget about mobile visitors. I mean, who buys off the web in B2B markets anyway, right? Or how about this one: 'Even when we do get mobile visitors, they send our bounce rate sky high. If we could get rid of mobile users from this report altogether, our stats would look so much better…' This is another gem because yes, you get paid by the bounce rate right?
We don't do non-responsive website design any more. The methodology behind our template design suiting all screen sizes is intrinsically woven into everything we do now. It just doesn't make sense anymore from a design and marketing point of view. If you have a non-responsive, non-mobile-friendly website or are considering a new one that lacks the functionality to adapt to multiple screen sizes, then things just got a lot worse for you. Because Google is now calling you out on this.
If you search on Google now from a smart device, phone, phablet, tablet etc ,the results returned that link to a responsive website will have the grey text of 'Mobile-friendly' in front of the meta description. IN FRONT! Now for anyone who knows SEO, you'll know that every guru, site, blog, content platform, plugin, you name it that gives SEO advice will tell you importance of the meta description as a quick summary of the page that provides additional information to really entice the user into clicking your link. And now Google has put the 'Mobile-friendly' text in front of it.
That's how important Google thinks it is to tell its users about the experience they'll get when they click that link on their smart device. Go ahead and try it now with a random search and see how many sites come up on the first page that DON'T have this marker against them. Spotted any? It's pretty rare to see any now. The UX of a site is considered a key ranking factor for Google, so if you're not fulfilling the user's need at the right time for the device they're on, then you're going to be off down the rankings.
Other than searching on a mobile device for your site pages, remember Google indexes pages not sites so you'll need to check everything from your main site, to your landing pages, to your blog (you are blogging right?), you can use Google's free tool to analyse any URL and check to make sure it is mobile friendly. The tool, according to Google , not only looks for media queries in the sites stylesheets (stylesheets dictate the look and feel of the site, media queries are setup to trigger changes to the design at different screen sizes), it's actually looking to make sure you're not using Flash anymore (because that just won't run on the majority on smart devices), the text size and wrap means you can read the content without zooming and scrolling, and it even goes so far to ensure the links are far enough apart so you can actually tap the one you want! Lord only knows we've been on sites that haven't got that right and make navigation of the site and services a nightmare! I'm looking at you veolia.co.uk…
The truth is that while the tool is clever, it can't tell you whether a site will deliver a consistent and full experience across a range of devices, you'll need to do that manually yourself. If you have a responsive site or are checking out the portfolio of a B2B marketing agency then you can check out their sites on different devices without having to actually have those devices to hand. Firefox actually has a tool built in to do this. You can go to Tools > Web Developer > Responsive Design View (or press Ctrl+Shift+M on PC, press again to close it) and it'll give you a black frame with a drop down of pre-set sizes for the most popular screen sizes in the market, as well as guide handles to resize until your heart's content and save your own pre-set sizes. A good responsive framework should move about as you slide the window in and out. Fixed points where everything switches at certain breakpoints and doesn't resize the content on the fly will give an increasingly poorer experience as the number of devices and therefore screen sizes hit the market.
If all that sounds like a lot of hard work, a more straightforward option is http://www.responsinator.com/ where you can enter URLs and get a fully interactive set of 'devices' showing the site how it would be on the actual device, which is very clever! So what steps should your B2B marketing agency have taken to make the mobile experience tailored and different from a desktop one?
If you've been told 'well we're going to hide everything because people are only coming on your site for contact details and a map of how to get to your offices' then be prepared to be very upset. We see this a lot, the site at desktop a full on marketing platform making a positive sell for your products and services, whilst the mobile version is an absolute hatchet job with no real value left on the page, absolutely decimated in an attempt to keep the length of the page as short as possible. We've all had the above the fold discussion, but hey guess what, modern users, especially those on smart devices, you know, those ones with the handy swishy touch screens? Yeah they scroll. They scroll a lot, it's part of the fun!
Your site should elegantly rearrange and resize to contain as much of the main site as possible. In fact, modern frameworks, including the bootstrap from Twitter themselves, are now known as mobile first. What that means is rather than making the desktop version first and working on downsizing it, you start with the mobile design then expand that stage by stage up to desktop. There's absolutely no need to worry about 'tall' sites at mobile size, check out media websites on a mobile, they're usually taller than the average human! Think about how much people scroll when it comes to Twitter and Facebook feeds and whilst yes it's important contact details are prominent on mobile devices, don't believe that's all a mobile user would be after, give them the opportunity to get the same information from your site as if they were on a desktop.
Mobile-friendly web design has been around for a few years now, but there's still people getting it horribly wrong. Fortunately you can easily arm yourself with the knowledge to sort the wheat from the chaff.