Why your mobile site converts less than desktop


Despite more people than ever accessing the web from mobile, many businesses mobile sites are still lagging way behind their desktop counterparts.

This does, of course, affect the number of people that visit your site. But even when the traffic is flowing steadily, as a new report has shown, mobile conversion rates can still be less than half the rate achieved on desktop.

Most people are familiar with the term conversion rate. But few differentiate between the methods used for improving their site’s conversion rate on desktop and mobile. This is where mobile conversion rate comes in.

Your mobile conversion rate describes the percentage of people who completed your mobile sales funnel, opted into your mobile marketing campaign, or achieved the desired action you wanted them to on a mobile device out of your total number of visitors.

As more people are using mobile devices, businesses need to be on top of their mobile conversion rate if they want to maintain their share of traffic and maintain their rankings in the search engines.

The two main parameters that influence conversion rate are traffic influencers, like number of channels and seasonality, and performance, things like UX and speed. Here we’re going to dive a few of these so you can ensure your mobile site converts as well, if not better, than desktop.

Speed matters most

Google prioritise speed for good reason. In our time and attention limited age, speed and convenience are two of the most important factors for mobile users.

It goes without saying then that sites with the quickest mobile load times get the highest engagement. But what is quick? Well, today, sites that take more than three seconds to load are abandoned by 40 percent of people.

Three seconds is pretty quick. Thankfully your whole website and all its content doesn’t have to load in that time. If you have a quick Render Start Time (RST) — the time it takes for the first content to appear on the page — then your mobile site will be among those that get 50 percent more engagement than other sites.

The best ways to increase mobile speed include using a mobile-optimised theme, installing a caching plugin, and following Google’s best practices. Once you’ve done this, you can make small adjustments and use its mobile speed checker to monitor how well you’re doing.

Optimise mobile usability

If you’re mobile site loads in three seconds, then add to that another one second, and that’s the time it takes the user to decide if they want to stay or not.

That’s four seconds to get across an impression of your whole website and business. Not only is this too quick to read your mission statement and meticulously perfected landing copy, it’s quicker than we can consciously process most information.

This means the structure and design of your site is paramount in making an impression. As well as a mobile-optimised theme, the usability of your site needs to be in line with mobile best practices. One way you can do this is by ensuring the user flow is designed to serve mobile visitors with the right information as quickly as possible.

Even if a business does this they often overlook that they need to make their marketing campaigns mobile-friendly too. Intrusive popups can kill a mobile experience and lead a user to bounce immediately, and with countless mobile-optimised marketing software available today, there’s no excuse to let that to happen.

Boost your mobile SEO

All the speed and usability optimisation for a mobile site isn’t worth a penny if it isn’t reaching the right audience.

This matters all the more as Google’s mobile-first index means it uses mobile versions of sites for indexing and ranking pages. But how does mobile SEO differ to desktop SEO? It’s much the same, but as you’d expect, your site has to be mobile-friendly.

Two of the main areas Google looks at to determine if your content is mobile-friendly are, in fact, speed and usability. Other than the above tips, your website should be free of plugins that are incompatible with mobile browsers, such as Flash, have correct scaling to the mobile viewport, legible text, and well-spaced and laid out elements and navigation.

Mobile pages that offer a poor searcher experience may be displayed as such in the rankings or even have a warning in mobile search results. Likewise, when a mobile user visits a page that contains content that isn’t supported, they may see an error message. Such negative experiences contribute to mobile SEO and engagement, and should be avoided at all costs.