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An Argument For Mobile-First Website Design

Back in the summer of 2019 Google announced that mobile-first indexing would be the default for all new websites. With mobile-first indexing, Google uses the URL of the mobile version of a website for ranking and indexing purposes rather than the desktop version. 

What does this mean for business owners?

First, it’s important that the mobile version of your website is optimized with content so a strong, complete version of your site is indexed. If you have a content-rich desktop version but a sparse mobile version, Google’s index will only see the more bare URL. This can cause your traffic to drop, because mobile-friendly websites are favored by Google’s algorithm. 

Secondly, and more importantly, if you build a mobile-friendly site for Google, you’ve also built a better site for your mobile users–who are the majority of your site’s visitors. In fact, during the first quarter of 2021 54.8% of internet traffic came from mobile devices (Statista). 

Clearly, your site must be designed with mobile in mind. Here’s why, and how you can make sure your site is mobile-friendly, and make the switch to mobile-first design. 

What is Mobile-First Website Design?

Responsive website design has been the norm for years– designing a website for desktop first and then adapting it to smaller screens like tablets and mobile. Mobile-first design is basically the opposite–build the site for mobile screens and then reverse the process for desktop. Mobile-first is moving into the preferred spot for web designers due to increased mobile usage. Mobile-first saves developers time and improves their productivity, while also forcing them to create practical designs that benefit users. Clearly, mobile-first website design is a win for developers, business owners, and website visitors!

How To Design Mobile-First

Knowledgeable web designers start with research to know how to serve future website visitors best. Identifying users’ pain points is key, because a mobile-first website should help users solve a problem, get an answer, or complete a task quickly and easily. Mobile-first design is all about convenience and ease of use. 

Then, developers determine what user journey(s) to implement. How will visitors arrive at the site and what will they do once they’re there? Again, it’s key to think how to help users accomplish their goals in the fewest number of clicks. 

Basic Tips to Simplify Mobile-First Design

If you need the TL;DR version, mobile-first is a must because most people will access your website via their smartphones, so it’s a smarter, faster, and generally more productive way to design. Here is the Cliff’s Notes version of how to design with mobile-first in mind:

 

  1. Keep the number of links in the navigation menu low. 
  2. Choose simple typography and make sure it isn’t too small for mobile screens. 
  3. Limit the number of pages. 
  4. Use wide borders and clean lines throughout.
  5. If you use columns of content, use no more than two. 
  6. Make your CTAs consistent and bold. 

 

And just in case you need additional motivation to switch to mobile-first design, Think With Google has some powerful stats on how mobile-friendly sites can boost your sales: 

Clearly, it’s time to consider the switch to mobile-first design! If you need help with mobile-first web development services, or have any digital marketing questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Duneland Media. We’re here to improve your business’s digital presence.