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"Pet Peeve": Why "Mobile First" is Mostly for Google

Discussion in 'Marketing mastery' started by JohnW, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Hi Troops,
    I'm sick and tired of the "mobile first" mantra that we are being brain washed with...

    OK, providing access to Internet info via mobile phones is VERY important in markets where it is significant but a blanket "first"? NO WAY!

    There are many markets where laptop/tablet first is far more important
    in the client communication process than smartphone. For some, the smartphone info delivery need is for little more than an address or phone number.

    Mobile phone "last" is a most likely situation in:
    • business to business markets,
    • online shops,
    • long lead time products,
    • expensive products/services,
    • online transactions and more
    These types of market are likely to be driven by around 75% of non-mobile phone communications. (Amongst others, can web designers/developer, web copywriters, digital marketers check their own Analytics reports for these metrics?)

    Then there are "mobile apps"...

    This is where so much of the mobile phone online time is consumed and this is the huge ad revenue battle-front that Google is about to loose, IMHO.

    Google's problem is that its revenue is based on indexing and searching web pages.

    Google has wasted $billions and tried numerous ways to "crack" mobile social communications media and failed every time.

    Its basic problem is that the web is NOT built for mobile phones. I'm not sure it ever will be.

    What about mobile enabled websites you scream? That was G's last big fiasco.

    It modified its algo and spent vast amounts of time and money trying to convince us we had to "mobile enhance" our websites. The problem was G created a worse problem for mobile users.

    What did mobile phone users want above all else? SPEED, SPEED, SPEED!

    What did mobile enhanced web pages deliver? SLOW, SLOW, SLOW!

    If you take a sample of 2008 or earlier (pre-mobile) web pages and run them through a speed checker, you will likely find they load twice as fast as "mobile enhanced" web pages that G insisted we need.

    It seems to have been such an unmitigated disaster that G has almost instantly turned to AMP formatted web pages as its next attempt at an emergency rescue. Yes, they are fast but boy will they kill your ability to communicate in the broadest sense.

    Has anyone EVER seen/heard G talk about the communication process? All I seem to get is programmers and engineers talking about IT and data mechanics.

    More problems for mobile phone Google are:
    • accidental clicks on their mobile phone ads
    • mobile phone ad fraud
    • The number of people installing ad blockers on mobile phones
    The number of people who have installed an ad blocker program is more than the total Twitter subscribers.

    Around 30% of all USA Millennials have installed an ad blocker program

    Google, give us the facts if you dare. I read a hell-of-a-lot of articles every day and we don't get this basic info from G on which to make effective online communications decisions.

    So, until then FS's...

    Go back to your basic marketing training.
    • Check your website traffic
    • Look at your mobile phone vs laptop/tablet traffic
    • Consider the nature of your marketplace and whether "out and about" vs "in office" or "in home" search is most likely
    • Check the page views, time on site, bounce rated for mobile phone vs. the others
    • If an online shop, check your purchase revenue by device used
    Have confidence in your own experience and knowledge! Don't be brain-washed by G's desperate hype to hold its ad revenue defenses!

    If you think G is invincible, consider this...
    • Apple is reported to be developing its own SE. In USA it has close to 50% market share of the mobile phone market.
    • Facebook is developing its own SE. Most mobile phone time is spent on Fb
    • There are more product searches made on Amazon than on Google
    After over 20 Internet communications years, the biggest communications problems in my experience are still:
    • people do not publish pages on their websites that answer the questions potential customers want
    • a major problem is how people structure their web sites
    • another problem is the design of web pages
    • yet another is the automation of web page publishing and management
    What do the the other Friday-night FS folk think?
    Regs,
    JohnW
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
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  2. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    John, I preface my comments by saying I am a rusted on Laptop / PC user, and when forced to go mobile for any reason besides a couple of apps for my hobby or other bits and pieces, I shudder with fear and will toss it to one of my children and say you find it.

    But just a comment on your comment above, Kodak based its whole future on the fact that mobile phones were not built to take photo's. Yet within a few short years Nokia was selling more cameras than Kodak, and Kodak are effectively dead if not gone all together. They failed to see that the future was in fact the future.

    A few years back who would have thought of a world without type writers, Gone, dead, buried/

    I could go on with more examples, but yes as at today the web may not be built for mobile phones (although there are a hell of a lot of people using them, including my children, the next generation), but I suspect tomorrow, my laptop will be like that typewriter sitting in the back cupboard hoping to be resurrected one day.
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  3. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    With the exception of the B to B market I think a lot of people I know, including clients would disagree that it's not "mobile first".

    The stats may say otherwise, I haven't done the research, but my experience is different to your stats.

    e.g. expensive products:

    One client was selling a heap of swimming pools, starting price probably about $15K, his sales jumped to the point he was 15 pools behind when his site was converted to mobile responsive. I did have analytics on this site and the jump in mobile and tablet traffic was what prompted the move to rebuild the site.

    Second client has just spent $60K on a specialist vehicle for his business, all searching and transactions were carried out via his mobile, he nearly needs a gun at his head to turn a laptop on. His whole business is run off a mobile (2 businesses in fact). The only time he has ever seen his website on anything larger than his mobile is in my office, and he was bored stiff.

    Onwards

    I'm currently adding a shopping cart to a clothing designers store, she designed the look (I'm just coding it-with the occasional prompt). The original static site doesn't have more than 50 words of copy, but she's getting traffic and the business is growing faster than she can cope with atm.

    All these businesses see Google as an "add on" only, they cross market in other ways and use their websites as reference/contact points and only add to them after proven ROI.

    Many now only use phones to connect to the web. I was total cynic about mobile use, but customers have started to convert me, they don't even look at a new site I build on anything but a phone...they just plain do not care about big screens and given that their businesses go ok, and are growing it appears their customers don't either.

    How this space evolves is anyones guess, and it seems Google's largely guessing too, given the number of frameworks/design theories/ delivery mechanisms and software they're having a crack at.

    Love em or hate them mobile devices are here to stay, and for a very large chunk of consumers they're their weapon/device of choice, any small business that ignores them does so at their peril imo.

    Mobile first responsive is still the most cost effective way to target the market at relatively low cost.
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  4. JohnTranter

    JohnTranter Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that "Mobile First" is mainly a design mantra and it does make sense.

    Mobile First
    Design for the mobile. Then add elements for the desktop version.

    Desktop First
    Design for desktop. Then remove elements for the mobile version.

    With mobile first, you're more likely to end up with relevant information for both versions.
  5. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    This ^

    I second John. Design the layout for desktop and then try to jam it down at mobile and it's usually a mess from a user perspective, work the other way around, and if it's well done, the experience is as close to seamless as you're going to get.

    The other thing that's happening in the mobile space is a blurring between a "native" app and a straight website which is making for some interesting opportunities for small business that get it right (whatever that may turn out to be).

    I personally don't add design elements to the desktop version (partly because the hidden stuff still has to be loaded on connection usually)... the layout changes (and images fonts etc upsize) to use the space better but that's about it.

    I don't see any sacrifice of content is required at mobile, you just need to be careful about the structure.

    A perfect example of a large content site working well at mobile is "The Guardian" newspaper, it's probably more than a straight responsive site (I haven't looked) but I find no difficulty using it and there's no compromise I can see in the articles delivered...I thought I'd never say it, but mobile is now the only way I consume newspapers full stop.
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  6. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Hi Guys,
    Interesting that the discussion has headed straight into design/programming issues around mobile enabled/responsive.

    Let me elaborate on this part of my thread starter:

    "Its (G.s) basic problem is that the web is NOT built for mobile phones. I'm not sure it ever will be.

    What about mobile enabled websites you scream? That was G's last big fiasco."​

    "Mobile enhanced" is a major part of the "mobile first" myth because it actually made BOTH MOBILE PAGES & NON-MOBILE PAGES USER-UNFRIENDLY!

    I.e. THE ENTIRE WEB IS BEING RUINED by this mobile enabled/enhanced fiasco that G started to protect its mobile ad revenue!

    The problem with mobile enabled/enhanced is the HUGE SPEED BUMP it has produced for the entire web. Entire mobile enhanced web SITES seem to be 3-10 times SLOWER than non-enabled web sites. A similar slowdown is then forced onto the entire NON-MOBILE versions of all website pages.

    Here is a very small speed test using https://www.webpagetest.org/. I set it for 3G 1.6 Mbps, Chrome, Australia and compared 5 mobile enabled/enhanced site Home pages with 4 non-mobile sites. I found the mobile enabled sites on a page with the title, "8 Awesome Examples of Effective Mobile Website Design". The results...

    The Mobile Enabled Home Pages:
    m.abercrombie.com/shop/us
    First view load time: 14.6 secs

    m.booking.com/
    First view load time: 13.4 secs

    m.texasroadhouse.com/
    First view load time: 10.2 secs

    m.hiddenvalley.com/
    First view load time: 50.5 secs (Second test: 49.3 secs)

    m.adidas.com/
    First view load time: 16.9 secs

    The non mobile enhanced Home pages:
    statewidesleepers.com.au
    First view load time: 3.9 secs

    swimmingpoolwarehouse.com.au
    First view load time: 4.9 secs

    iaf.nu
    First view load time: 5.2 secs

    im3vet.com.au
    First view load time: 7.2 secs

    Most mobile phone users WILL NOT WAIT for any of the "awesome" mobile enabled pages to load.

    There are scores of surveys and studies that confirm the critical importance of load speed to mobile phone users. Here is what Shopify says about its importance:

    Nov 15, Shopify said:
    "But now, according to Radware, “3 seconds is all it takes for a customer to abandon a page if it does not load quickly enough.”

    So, “if your [ecommerce] site is making $100,000 per day, you could lose up to $2.5 million in sales every year for just a 1-second page delay.”

    "And 58% of mobile users say they expect their mobile website to load almost as fast to even faster than the experience they get on their desktop browser."​

    The Shopify page contains links to 3 research papers to support these load speed statements.

    A three second load time on a mobile enabled web page, I don't think I've ever seen one.

    IMHO, mobile enabled websites aren't just killing the web for mobile users, they are killing the WHOLE web.

    Please think long and hard about all the evidence and its implications before you reply!

    And, what evidence do we have that mobile users preferentially visit an enhanced website over a non-enhanced one? None that I know of. All I know for a fact is that G. dropped its "mobile badge" in its search results within months of implementing it. Were mobile users avoiding pages with this badge because they quickly learned this was a signal that the page was too slow?

    What ever happened to load speed as a ranking signal in G's search algo? It's been "coming" since mobile phone usage became significant. G mobile search still uses the speed of non-mobile sites in its algo.

    It seems to me G has given up on mobile enabled/enhanced and is now trumpeting lots of stuff about AMP pages.

    Troops and Contributors,

    Can we at least agree that:

    1. "Mobile-friendly" and "mobile enhanced/responsive" are two separate topics
    2. As presently implemented, the two seem to be contradictory
    3. The primary requirement of mobile users is load speed.​

    If we get this far, perhaps we can look at what info mobile phone users really want from a "mobile" site..

    PS: I've got example metrics to share with you from two websites published by the same company. One site is mobile enhanced/enabled, the other is not. A tiny example but when else would you get to compare mobile traffic to sites listing 300+ of the same products in a mobile/non-mobile enhanced situation?

    More later...
    Regs,
    JohnW
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  7. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    Hi John,

    I will have to concede a bit here (just a little bit).

    When I read your thread title "mobile first" I responded on the basis of my understanding of the term i.e. That it's a development paradigm/process that is argued about endlessly by UI and UX practitioners and is not primarily about the actual content offered (and shot my mouth off accordingly).

    On your actual list for "agreement":

    Number 1 and number2.- I'm not sure I get your point...From my point of view a mobile screen, is a mobile screen, the end user only cares about the experience and the information offered, not the methodology of delivering it.

    They can't tell you what the difference is, only if the site is crap or not. Everything else is an argument going on in the backroom about the best way forward...my standpoint in that argument is that anything "m.somethingorother" is generally 99% rubbish unless it's had huge dollars thrown at it (way out of the scope of your typical forumite).

    "Responsive" (I promise not to mention it again in this thread) does at least give the small player an opportunity to tackle mobile searcher's at a bearable cost.

    Number 3...absolutely no argument from me, load speed rules imo. The poorly performing examples you cite are not the fault of the viewing device though, just poor choices by whomever designed/developed them, and I'm sure the market will sort them out sooner rather than later...they did also come from a source that's likely to be aimed at visual designers (that's worth a thread on it's own).

    BTW, I note in the desktop examples, your now famous "statewidesleepers" website takes 3.9 seconds to load...I'd be "gutted" if any static site I built, desktop, or mobile took that long.

    "THE ENTIRE WEB IS BEING RUINED"...agreed, but it happened a long time ago.

    Once Google worked out how to monetise search and spawned an industry based on optimising search it was all over imo. Bring back Alta Vista and sparkling website backgrounds and I'll be a happy camper.

    I'm assuming your larger concerns are principally about the impact on small business trying to generate leads etc from SE's. I'd argue that for an increasing proportion of them, their response would be "tell someone that cares".

    You often issue warnings about the perils of mobile sites, and also remind posters here that many of the businesses here are small and lacking in resources and digital sophistication. I'd argue strongly that for many of them mobile search offers a lot of opportunities, certainly better than a Yellow Pages listing or a Facebook page.

    A typical scenario:

    When I get a new referral for a website one of the first things I do is give the client a reality check.

    So, you want to be on the first page of Google? What a surprise. OK, what's your budget?

    A short chat then ensues about Branding, Copywriters, Designers, Photographers, Content Marketers, and then last but not least a few hundred a month minimum for SEO. By this point we're usually clear that tackling Google is pretty much a dumb strategy for most of them.

    What digital strategy is left for them that's useful to their business? Especially when their service or offering is well suited to those searching on mobile.

    My response to this has been to build cheap sites that only focus on the mobile view, load quickly, deliver a message and contact details including "touch to call", establish a location (with maybe a decent mapping API if appropriate).

    Sometimes we get lucky and the competition is poor (usually a dated cumbersome desktop site, or even better, a Facebook page) and the site does well, usually beating their Yellow Pages listing is a "no brainer".

    The ONLY thing that counts is whether the phone is ringing, or there's a new enquiry in the inbox, everything else is opinion.

    Often other forms of offline marketing are still superior methods, but they still need a website, even if the potential customer already knows their business name and is just looking for contact details.

    Mobile devices are killing everything else in their penetration of the population, a better discussion imo is how can business (very small) get something out of it? Not rue the ruination of of a marketing platform or a search engine.

    Empires rise and fall, I would personally like to see Google subject to "death by a thousand cuts" in the same way Microsoft was before it, so I don't care if they can't work out the mobile space (but I'm a grumpy old bugger that resents being profiled and having my personal data used for third party monetary gain). If they don't get it right, you can bet someone else will, and it'll be the consumer that decides who wins.

    End of rant, Cheers.
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  8. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    Wow that's a HUGE statement JohnW.

    It was interesting I went out to lunch with a nice lady yesterday, and I noticed that almost every table around us had there mobiles out (2 or 3 at some), doing something or another. We even succumbed to it and my friend did some searching on Mr Google or various things, booked accommodation for us, looked up some other stuff. And here we have a comment that mobile has ruined the web, yet there were literally 30 or 40 people using mobile in front of my eyes.

    Is it really ruined, or is it the way of the future, and us oldies just need to go with the flow and stop resisting it.
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  9. JohnTranter

    JohnTranter Well-Known Member

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    Because you used the term 'Mobile First' which is a dev/design paradigm. (which has since been taken up by marketing)

    'Mobile First' isn't saying mobile is more important, it's about taking care of mobile and then desktop will flow from that.
    A bit like the saying 'watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves'.

    There was your mistake, it's a list of designs, not necessarily good websites. Never trust a list by a designer ;)
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  10. Burgo

    Burgo Renowned Member

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    Well actually the art of talking is being phased out now you can communicate by mobile texting the person sitting next to you or across the table. Maybe society has become hard of hearing and in a crowded coffee shop it is just easier to understand your companion by texting.
    I use this system to let my Facebook friends where I am having coffee then they know to stay away.
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  11. We recently worked with a client who had the mobile first approach and was certainly being shaped this way by their developers. It made sense with a casual analysis, but a deeper level presented a range of functional barriers for the core (paying) users. It was clear mobile first wouldn't work (yet) and a web desktop prioritised system had to be the current backbone of the system.

    I agree, mobile first isn't a blanket true statement.
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  12. JamesMawson

    JamesMawson Member

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    I've also understood "mobile first" to refer specifically to a design process where you start with the narrowest viewport first when building a responsive website.

    I'm pretty sure it's not an ideology.

    I'm in a niche that's heavily skewed to desktop traffic. It's like 80/20. But I still want that 20% to have a good time. Even if they are "only" 20%. When I first started doing this stuff.. getting a whole 20% of your hits from mobile devices would have been seen as enormous.

    I find this idea that the web will never work well on mobile to be a bit weird. I don't see a good case for it and I also find it goes totally against my personal experience. Being a home-based worker who always has a laptop handy, it's been easy for me to remain a "texts and calls" phone neanderthal for years longer than everyone else. But I got a Galaxy S7 a short while ago and it's quickly become my go-to device for most casual browsing. It rocks!

    I think a lot of G's attitude to mobile-friendliness is driven primarily by the fact that a majority of their searches now come from mobile devices.

    Re: apps taking over from web use. A lot of the time I reckon a good mobile site is actually a better experience than an app. Maddox covers this well: http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=appocalypse

    Certainly, at the end of the market that most users on this forum are at, going with a website that works great on phones is a much more manageable option than maintaining a website and an app concurrently.

    There's one other big driver of a good mobile experience that's crucial for anyone who does any content marketing or SEO: that's email outreach.

    So many website owners check email on their phones now. If your website blows when they click your URL then you are costing yourself the best links. That's a deciding factor in favour of a good mobile experience, that will remain the same regardless of the device breakdown of your broader audience, or of G's opinion as to what matters in a great website.
  13. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Hi Greg,
    Glad you felt like having a rant, too.

    To All,
    I don't know who originated the term "mobile first" but it seems to be widely abused and misused. I intentionally grabbed mobile examples from an article with the "awesome sites" title to make the point that mobile enabled does NOT mean mobile first. I could have chosen to take examples from many other "awesome", "award winning", mobile article sites and I'm sure every single one of them would have shown unacceptable load speed times. And, these are sites that have been published by professionals. Consider all the enthusiastic DIYers or low priced churn-and-burn web publishers, not much attention to load speed in this large group of sites...

    My job essentially involves me in auditing load speeds of clients and their competitors' sites. Not one and I really do mean not one mobile site would have passed the 3 second load rule in the 2-3 years since I added this metric to my auditing procedures.

    According to the user research, if you want to make a site "mobile first", you should START with the load speed. It seems almost all mobile enabled sites have been slowed dramatically and, let us NOT forget that in making a full website mobile responsive, we are simultaneously slowing its load speed for desktop/laptop users. Do we want to risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater by making a rushed decision?

    I'm am asking folk is to pause and re-think here. Have we been fed a bunch of B/S, misinformation or biased statements? Are we jumping to incomplete or misled conclusions?

    OK, more than half of G searches are now made on mobile phones. But, what about:
    • Are they searching for your type of company, its products/services on mobiles?
    • What sort of info are they seeking?
    • What format will they want it in?
    • Have they visited your site before? How / where did they access it?
    • Where are they in their purchasing cycle?
    It seems to me that we assume every site visitor will want the same info whether on mobile or desktop/laptop for every type of business website. I've never seen any evidence to support those presumption. In fact, there are volumes to the contrary.

    G. even coined the term "micromoments" to address the sorts of info that many mobile phone users want. It also frequently talks about how people may start their journey on desk/laptop but end up on a mobile. If this is the pattern in your industry, it is counter-productive to kill your desktop/laptop web performance when all a mobile user may be looking for is your address.

    What traffic do you lose when a website is NOT mobile enabled?

    It seems to me there is a widely held fear that a site will lose traffic if it is not mobile enabled, but is this just another extension of the myth?

    I have a very unusual set of comparison numbers for your consideration.

    I have access to Analytics reports for two websites. They are owned by the same company. The product range is essentially identical (around 300 products) but the product description copy differs. Both sites have been active for years. One site was converted to a Word Press mobile enhanced site about a year ago. The other is not mobile enabled. They both target Australia-wide consumers with products largely in the $hundreds range. Following are their Analytics figures for the last month:

    Generic SE referrals of Mobile Phone Users
    Mobile site = 12.6% of all traffic
    Non-mobile siite = 22.1% of all traffic

    Bounce Rates of Mobile Phone Users
    Mobile site = 63.6 of all traffic
    Non-mobile siite = 53.5% of all traffic

    Pages Viewed per Session of Mobile Phone Users

    Mobile site = 1.9 pages
    Non-mobile siite = 2.9 pages

    Visit Duration of Mobile Phone Users
    Mobile site = 0:32 seconds
    Non-mobile siite = 1:26 seconds

    Mobile Load Speed Test of Home Pages

    Mobile site = 11.8 seconds
    Non-mobile siite = 4.5 seconds

    Total Monthly Visits of Mobile Phone Users
    Non-mobile site phone visits were 9.3 times the volume of the mobile enabled site.

    Pre & Post Mobile Enhancement
    The mobile site's generic SE referrals via mobile have dropped 17% vs its pre-mobile enhanced state. Desktop generic SE referrals have dropped 66%.

    The non-mobile site's generic SE referrals via mobile phone increased over 250% for the same period.​

    I can't think of any more comparisons to make and all I can find is evidence of traffic collapse or "I'm outta here ASAP" with the mobile enhanced site. We are not talking small differences between the two, either.

    Can anyone think of a reason for such huge differences besides load speed?

    Now, I am not saying all business categories are the same. Quite the reverse! I'm suggesting you research, assess and consider before you decide on your smartphone implementation methods.

    Eg. Why does it have to be all pages or nothing are mobile enabled? Are there situations where most mobile phone requested info could be delivered on a single page?

    Any one got any examples to share, I'd be very inerested to see them.

    PS to Greg, Logic and what I've read, strongly suggests that e-commerce sites for women's clothes & apparel will have a very high mobile viewing rate. I hope the numbers above may help you convince your client that mobile load speed is her mission critical, immediate action metric. Without it, very few mobile user will see her products.

    This may be a useful article to send your client:


    Oh, I believe the The Guardian Newspaper has been using AMP to publish its pages since Feb this year. It obviously recognises the importance of speed. I'm not an expert but isn't AMP publishing a problem for e-commerce sites?
    Regs,
    JohnW
  14. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    Ok, I am going to upset some people, but hey its not the first time. But is the issue with mobile load speeds, and responsiveness not an issue with Google (well they don't develop the stuff so that obvious), but more the quality of the developers we have. Oops there I said it,

    But again harking back to a previous life, we had what we thought were some great developers (not web, but still relevant), they coded up some good stuff for us, but responsiveness was crap, they were the top guys from one of the top development business's at the time. So we got some other person in, within a few days, he had the code buzzing and purring along.

    Have the developers kept up with the current trends, maybe don't blame google for going with what the people want, but the people giving us this stuff that just doesn't perform. Maybe they need to move with the times.

    Just harking back to the lunch I had on Sunday, heaps of mobile phones at each table, I didn't see one laptop or desktop PC. Power to the people
  15. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Bert & John T,
    Thanks for your contributions.

    Not ignoring you but perhaps I've added content that clarifies some of the issues you've raised.
    Regs,
    JohnW
  16. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Hi Rohan,
    Thanks for your comments.

    I hope the stats I posted above offer some level of relevance for your client.

    I was astounded by the magnitude of differences when I first compiled them.

    The one thing I can't see anywhere in them is any evidence that mobile enabled/enhanced makes any difference that is not completely reversed by slower load speeds for BOTH desktop/laptop and mobile site versions.
    Regs,
    JohnW
  17. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Hi HG,
    Perhaps I should have clarified with, "not in its current form of publishing mobile enhanced pages".

    What I'm reading is other players picking off specific bits of G's historical search market. Eg. Apple have installed Bing as their mobile's SE. Amazon now claims more consumer product discovery than G. You have specialist sites for all manner of industries that offer new service/product discovery.

    Add to this the implimentation fiascoe that web enabled has become and this reality is killing G's pathways to them on mobile... and the beat goes on.

    I suggest apps is really a different issue. The user found the site somewhere then downloaded its app. By and large, app publishers want existing clients to install them so they can email them with new products and incentives to buy or like Facebook to deliver ads to click on.

    The thing is, if we see someone's mobile phone bumping around on Amazon, Wallmart, Target, etc. we don't know if that is in response to an app alert or not. If it's on an app, it likely has a bunch of files already cached so mobile speed is enhanced.

    From what I read the vast majority of mobile time is spend on a small number of apps. Churn rates for mobile apps is huge. Eg. 77% of users never use an app again 72 hours afer installing it.

    I seem to remember a number like most app time is spent on just 9 apps. The specific apps probably vary with the user's specific interest.

    Some articles/stats on mobile phones I found interesting/useful:


    If you as a copywriter get 20% of your traffic via mobile phone you are in the same range as every designer, developer and B2B service provider's traffic I've assessed in the last 12 months,

    Don't get me going on SEO of mobile websites but I happen to believe that mobile web page design trends are also killing many.
    Regs,
    JohnW
  18. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    Hi John,

    Thanks for the link, will review in detail later.

    Generally I'm starting to weep if I can't get a site to load at or under 3 seconds (on mobile) but that's for mainly simple sites of a few pages. Worst case, if you can get a enough info happening to entertain the viewer while it fully loads you perhaps get a little more grace (and I don't mean a spinning circle).

    I'd also say there's something wrong with the mobile site you cited to cause such crappy load times, perfectly understandable that it's suffering after a rebuild.

    I think Bert touched on the main one, the designer/developer stuffs it up, often the client is in the act too...they can't resist "bling", and bling usually means multiple JavaScript libraries are loading, and sometimes mobile browsers fight back against them or don't let them work at all.

    Also the use of "themes" can be a problem too. Once upon a time a theme would be 80% CSS, some HTML and possibly a JS slider...Now they have everything including the kitchen sink on board, even their own templating languages or shortcodes to build pages, a lot of it useless, but they sell to designers and non coders especially, who then pass them on to clients.

    As a case in point , I have a client that I used a Bootstrap theme to build a "suck it and see what happens website". The client loved it, it has parallax, moving copy, smooth scrolling etc etc etc. Everything worked a treat on a bigger screen...but none of it works on a mobile, though the site is responsive.

    All that dead code still has to load, I got it working ok and it has worked well enough (from a business viewpoint) that the client has committed to working from scratch on a new one, but I won't be using anymore themes, the reverse engineering to fix them is now more time consuming than starting from close to scratch with a simple framework.

    Tackling mobile consumers is still a pretty new space, I think everyone is guessing to some extent what will happen next, or how to use it, but as I mentioned before it's penetration into the population can't be ignored by small business, and it's going to become more so if old farts like me are starting to use them to browse and communicate via apps (I love WhatsApp).

    I wasn't aware the Guardian was using AMP, but from my limited reading isn't that the "perfect" use case? i.e. lots of written content.

    Cheers
    JohnW likes this.
  19. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Bert,
    You're a pussycat! How could you possibly upset any one?

    This is purely opinion of course. I expect the problems around load speed / mobile responsiveness had many contributing fathers.

    When did it all start? Some time after 2007. A couple of years later there was an explosion in mobile phone use and squillions of people suddenly jumped into the problem's solution.

    Was the basic problem seen initially to be, How to make web pages "squeezable" and "flickable"?

    Enter the open source CMS development communities and e-commerce cart programmers... Bear in mind that these folk often have the latest whiz bang hardware and 'net connectivity. They are not primarily interested in pretty pictures either. But success, a bunch of web enhanced plug-ins appear for Word Press, Drupal, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all.

    Then there was a new bunch of open sourcers who started developing new themes, widgets, gadget plug-ins to work in the new mobile enabled world.

    Now comes the turn of the designers. They know developers don't have a clue about design. They see their chance to play with a whole new set of publishing toys - large images that can be scrolled through many others, Paralax design to muddy the water so you can look like a continuous Facebook page, new fonts to call in, interfaces with Fb, Twitter feeds. Ya gotta look "cool", right?

    Then there is our essential element, our dear and valued client. "I saw this (insert a million options) on a competitor's site and I want it on my new site"...

    Oops, nearly forgot all the world-wide manufacturers of monitors, desktops, laptops, Ipads, phablets and mobile phones. I can currently see accesses by 160 different devices to a website these days.

    Double oops, then came all user generated content. "I'll upload this pic I took to the website". Turns out it was a mere 4 meg file and there are now 6 similar ones on the page. Don't worry the CMS will chop it to size. Yeah, now there are only 6 x 500 kb pic files to shoot down the phone net...

    The result, it is not unusual to see web pages that require 150 different files to load a page these days.

    And, what do clients do when approving their new enabled sites? They visit pages that they've probably viewed many times when partially complete and are pulling most files from their cache memory. They never get a real world impression of the pages's load speed.

    The first reference I found to "mobile first" attributes it to a Yahoo executive in Apr 2009.

    Enter the big G. "Holy smoke Batman, we could be losing this new mobile phone ad market to Facebook". We better make everything "mobile first". It was 2010 when G. first implemented its mobile first strategy.

    It did not seem to be gathering that much traction UNTIL...

    In Apr 2015 G launched its "Mobilegeddon" ranking boost for mobile sites and all us real mobile experts (SEOs) rose to the challenge. Many of us shouted, "every website will lose all its traffic if you don't upgrade to mobile".

    Of course the designers/developers did not object to a new bunch of third party recommendations to justify a website upgrade to their clients... and low and behold within 8 months there was a 25% increase in mobile sites.

    You gotta concede us SEOs were THE BEST at spreading G's mobile first message!

    (And some SEOs think Google doesn't likes us. There's a delusion if there ever was one.)

    So Bert, Who you wonna blame for this mess? You sure have a bunch of options to pick on. :D

    To me, the core problem lies in the current coding needed for mobile enabled sites.

    Two critical issues are the number of files that need to be sent over the mobile phone network and the sizes (bytes of data) they contain.

    Eg:
    m.hiddenvalley.com/ (The 50 sec load speed site above)
    Total files: 162 files
    Bytes: 2.9 megs (48% images, 43% Js)

    The mobile site in the comparison above: (11.8 sec load speed)
    Total files: 55 files
    Bytes: 1.3 megs (25% images, 38% Js)

    The non-mobile site in the comparison above: (4.5 sec load speed)
    Total files: 25 files
    Bytes: 200 kb (88% images, 8% Js)​

    I'm no techie. Perhaps the developers can give us some idea as to a realistic minimum number of files and data transfer needed for a good looking mobile enabled site?

    A last little prod...:rolleyes:

    "heaps of mobile phones at each table, I didn't see one laptop or desktop PC."​

    I'd call this a "so what" statement as in, "So what are you going to do about it?"

    We know from user surveys that most are on the table waiting for phone calls, text messages and emails from friends/family and site's like Facebook.

    Can you imagine any of their owners waiting 50 seconds for a Hiddenvalley to load? How many of them are searching for B2B suppliers while they are at Sunday lunch?

    IMHO, we have to research and plan before we blindly implement any solution.
    Best regs,
    JohnW
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  20. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Hi Burgo,
    Sorry I omitted a reply...

    For us old f--ts, it probably depends on which faculty lasts longest. Sight and touch will likely fail me first but I can still hear pretty good.

    For the youngsters, I'd vote for typing/texting going out in favour of voice search and messaging.

    I think Google and Bing both said perhaps 6 months ago that voice search is already up to 25% of searches.

    Now you have virtual assistants to talk to on your phones. I believe voice actuation potentially offers huge benefite to the written Asian languages that have thousands of characters.

    You may want to check out this article:


    Best regs,
    JohnW

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