In 2021, unique mobile internet users numbered 4.32 billion, meaning more than 90% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online. Mobile devices include smartphones or tablets that can connect to the internet. With more than 15 billion mobile devices operating worldwide, prioritizing a mobile-first website is critical when it comes to the success of your brand’s online presence.
Knowing what mobile-first even means and why it’s important, as well as top benefits to ensuring your website is designed mobile-first, can help you improve user experience and increase conversions.
What is Mobile-First?
Today, mobile internet traffic accounts for almost 55% of total web traffic. Mobile-first means that you design your company’s online experience to be optimized for viewing on a mobile device first, before designing for desktop, to prioritize making the experience for these mobile consumers better.
Examples of mobile-first site design includes creating a responsive website, which allows websites to fit screens of different devices automatically, displaying the content in a way that makes sense. This reduces the need for panning, zooming, scrolling, etc.
It also ensures when sites are designed, they are built for the lower browser, such as a mobile phone. Designers start with basic functions and features, then add interactions and more complicated effects for more advanced versions (such as a PC or tablet). For example, the hover effect (when you hover your mouse over something and it highlights or something happens) doesn’t work on mobile. Complex charts or HD images don’t always display correctly. Designing mobile-first would take these into consideration during initial design phases.
Mobile-first design also keeps in mind restrictions like bandwidth, screen size, etc. and priorities features for mobile to then expand later for additional versions.
Responsive vs. Mobile-First
You may hear the terms “responsive” and “mobile-first” used interchangeably, but they are actually different. Responsive means your site adapts from desktop to mobile, working regardless of device the consumer accesses it from. This puts designing the desktop version first, then scaling that down to work on a smaller screen.
Mobile-first means designing the site with mobile in mind, and then expanding to work for desktop. While responsive websites should be taken into consideration when designing mobile-first, it still prioritizes the mobile features over others.
Why is Mobile-First Important?
To help further illustrate why your website design team should use a mobile-first strategy, here are some statistics about mobile web usage:
- In 2021, 63% of all online traffic came from smartphones and tablets.
- Ad viewership for mobile users reached 83%, compared to desktop and laptop users at just over 50%.
- 58% of total multi-device purchases made in 2020 used mobile devices to close sales.
- 61% of email opens are done from mobile devices.
- 58% of Google searches done from mobile devices.
These are just a few examples of why mobile-first is important. Customers and prospects are using their phones more than ever for browsing, discovering, learning, shopping, and interacting with brands, so having a website that caters to their needs will have a number of long-term benefits for your company.
Top 5 Benefits of a Mobile-First Website
If you’re creating a website from scratch, keeping mobile-first design in mind can be much easier than if you’re having to redesign or rework an existing site to optimize performance. However, regardless of whether you’re starting new or updating old, there are several benefits to support the work.
1. It Makes Accessing Your Site Easier for the Majority of Consumers
A mobile-first strategy helps ensure your website is responsive on all platforms. This way, all customers, regardless of device, can access and view your site. This gives you greater opportunity to reach new customers, expanding your audience, hitting new markets, and ultimately creating new revenue channels.
Mobile-first also helps build relationships with users through a positive brand reputation. Consumers are more likely to come back to your site if they have a positive web experience, whether it’s to read your content, purchase your products, or interact with your brand in a different way.
2. Information is More Manageable
When you design mobile-first, it encourages web designers and content developers to prioritize the content, images, and other information and aspects on the page. Mobile view doesn’t give you a lot of space. Therefore, you must prioritize including what users are looking for and eliminate fluff that can be distracting from your ultimate goal. Plus, your web designs are more efficient and concise, creating a better overall experience.
3. Fewer Bugs
Website development for mobile devices uses a simpler code. On the other hand, a desktop approach is much more complex. Starting with a complicated desktop site and boiling it down to mobile later can complicate the code. This leads to more bugs and issues with your site. Starting with a simpler code with mobile-first ensures the design and elements work on mobile devices, creating fewer bugs.
4. Better User Experience
Executing a mobile-first website makes your site navigation easier for customers and prospects. This allows them to find what they are looking for faster. Not only can this reduce bounce rate and improve other website stats, like time on site, but it can also increase conversions. When websites are designed for mobile, the user experience is easier. It also allows for better interactions with your site.
5. Improved SEO
When Google ranks your site, there are several factors that come into play. One is page load time. Faster load times can help you rank higher, as well as improve site performance and increase conversions. Designing mobile-first can improve your load times. Google also uses mobile-first indexing practices, so a mobile-first responsive design will also help you rank higher.
Having a mobile-first website can help you rank better on Google. It can also improve your website performance, make the user experience better, and ultimately increase conversions and brand loyalty. While it may seem counterintuitive to start with the most basic and simple of web designs to account for mobile-first, the benefits far outweigh doing the opposite.
Considering much of your traffic is likely coming from a mobile device, start working with your web design team now to better understand and make a plan for how to optimize your site to be mobile-first. A digital marketing agency like Dragonfly can help you design your site for mobile traffic and help improve user experience for your mobile visitors. This will ultimately drive sales and make your content accessible for a wider range of users. Call (800) 636-0347 or fill out our contact form and a representative will be in touch.