Smartphones become most popular way to get online – but is your website ready?

If there’s one crucial piece of advice on digital marketing that brands and small businesses should be listening to, it’s this – optimise your website for mobile, and do it right now.

The annual Communications Market Report by UK communications regulator Ofcom has revealed that smartphones have now overtaken laptops as the most popular device on which to access the internet. The report states “The UK is now a smartphone society” and the figures certainly back up this claim – 33% of internet users see their phones as the most important device for getting online, compared to just 30% of those who are sticking with their laptop computer.

Two thirds of the UK population now own a smartphone, using it to browse the internet, use social media platforms and shop online, for an average of nearly two hours a day. In contrast, those using laptops and desktop PCs are only using these devices to get online for just over an hour every day.

For dedicated smartphone users, these figures may not be much of a surprise. However, the statistics do show a huge leap compared to 2014. Just 12 months ago, 22% of people preferred smartphones to other devices when it came to accessing the internet, compared to 40% whose internet device of choice was still the laptop.

 Mobile is king – what your brand needs to do about it

For brands that have spent time and a small fortune tweaking their websites to functional and aesthetic perfection, having to now shift their attention to mobile can be a little frustrating. However, smartphones and tablets are not a trend that will be going away – in fact, they have already taken the lion’s share of the online market.

Web traffic and shopping on mobile devices are often challenging if not overtaking laptops and PCs, plus you should also bear in mind the attention span and expectations of a typical mobile user. If your website fails to load properly or takes more than a few seconds to do so, the user will simply click away. To put it simply, if you don’t present a mobile face to your customers, you could risk losing them and being left far behind your competitors.

So, what is a mobile-friendly website? In brief, it is web design that is simpler, adapted to a smaller screen size and much easier to navigate. The essentials are available to the user, but the design overall is uncluttered and designed to help the user to get to what they want as quickly as possible. There are lots of tips and tricks to make your website more mobile-friendly, but these are the essential elements to bear in mind.

Is your website mobile-friendly? What steps did you take to optimise your website and have you seen returns on your investment (i.e. increased traffic, conversions and sales from users on mobile devices)? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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