Home – New Forums Marketing mastery Why do people bother with mobile enabled websites?

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  • #990182
    JohnW
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    Hi FS Business Owners,
    IMHO, if you don’t start paying attention to this issue you are likely to lose a lot of business!

    Finding Mobile Website
    Google has already flagged this as a major issue. It has announced it will be using mobile enhancement and load speed to assess a site’s ranking. It will be including a notation of a “mobile friendly” ID in its search results.

    G has also announced the development of a mobile website search program.

    Ignore these issues at your peril!

    The trouble is there seem to be a lot of incompetent web developers out there who don’t understand these mission critical issues.

    I spent today working on a client’s online marketing audit.

    Eg: I assembled a list of the top competitors in this market for generic search engine referrals and for top Adword competitors.

    As part of the audit I checked them for being mobile enabled and ran a speed test that emulated high speed mobile delivery. The results were:

    Mobile Enabled Sites (9 sites)
    Ave. Load Speed = 17.9 seconds
    Ave. # Requests = 72
    Ave. Kb of download = 3,048

    Not Mobile Enabled Sites (6 sites)
    Ave. Load Speed = 10.4 seconds
    Ave. # Requests = 73
    Ave. Kb of download = 1,764

    1. Load Speed
    If people are trying to access your site on a mobile phone, you have 5 seconds for it to load or many if not most have gone!

    2. Requests
    To view a web page, you need to download a bunch of files to your phone. These files can include the web page file, all the individual image files for the page, all the style sheet files, JavaScript files and others. Every time your browser sees that another file is need to display the page, it has to send another request for a copy of the file back to the hosting web server. Every time another request is needed, it slows the page load speed dramatically.

    3. Kb Downloads
    This is a measure of the volume of data that needs to be sent down the phone lines. Australia’s mobile phone network is not fast in sending data. So, a mobile website’s speed could be compromised by a combination of the file sizes and the number of files that need to be downloaded to view the page.

    (To the Techies: I know there are other factors in page load speed but let’s keep this simple, :))

    4. Old Fashion Load Speed
    To give folk an idea of what should be your target…

    These are the numbers for a non-mobile enabled site that includes a screen wide header graphic at the top of the page and 9 other in-page images.

    Load Speed = 3.5 seconds
    Requests = 26
    Kb of download = 198

    What is happening is that people think it is “cool” to throw a bunch of what is in fact, a bunch of useless garbage into a web page and they no longer respect the need to optimise the images they display on their pages.

    IMHO, Word Press and other open source CMSs have a lot to answer for. It seems there are a lot of less well trained and less knowledgeable people pushing out websites these days.

    Business owners,
    Mobile enabled sites are almost essential in many markets BUT there is a lot more to “mobile enabled” than it seems many people understand or offer.

    When you request a mobile enabled website, I strongly recommend you define load speed parameters in your website design contract!

    Slow loading websites will come back to bite you.

    Here is one place you can test your site load speed: http://www.webpagetest.org/

    I invite the designer/developer community on FS to add their experiences of how “mobile-friendly” website design is being abused.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1175815
    Greg_M
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    I’m not sure I’d use the word abuse, but I do see some very ordinary mobile responsive sites.

    The main offender is poorly configured JavaScript plugins imo. Often when you test a sites speed, the number of requests to get a page to actually start to “render” (visible content) is in excess of 100 … nearly always it’s JavaScript plugins trying to load.

    Many CMS “static” pages are built using the admin backend which means they have to be retrieved from the database (multiple trips back to the server), not a great way to optimise speed.

    There’s plenty more weak links, but you start getting into “eyes glazing over” territory for most people explaining them.

    Part of the issue is that it’s almost “too easy” to get a site up and running, optimising can’t be completely fixed with another plugin … you actually need to understand how the whole thing works. Too many don’t, and the developers/designers that do, don’t come cheap usually.

    In my opinion the days of getting up and running cheaply and simply on the web are rapidly disappearing … you’ll still be able to do it, you’ll just be lost the soup if you don’t make the cut, and Google is rapidly raising the bar.

    The whole mobile/multi screen thing is evolving rapidly. New libraries of code, frameworks, even new programming languages for the web are arriving almost daily. Google is promoting a couple and Apple has just released a new one … both see a merging of web apps with native as the web and browsers improve.

    Here’s a link to an article that appeared in last weeks HTML Weekly

    The future of the Web (according to Google)

    Eventually the penny will drop with small business, and they’ll stop selecting designer/developers on price.

    Cheers

    #1175816
    JohnW
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    Hi Estim8,

    estim8, post: 204643 wrote:
    The main offender is poorly configured JavaScript plugins imo.
    In the 9 mobile sites I assessed above, it was graphics that were the killers. Can you believe a third of them included 6,000+ KB of image files on their Home pages and only one of them included less than 2,000 KBs of images.

    estim8, post: 204643 wrote:
    The whole mobile/multi screen thing is evolving rapidly. New libraries of code, frameworks, even new programming languages for the web are arriving almost daily. Google is promoting a couple and Apple has just released a new one … both see a merging of web apps with native as the web and browsers improve.

    Here’s a link to an article that appeared in last weeks HTML Weekly

    The future of the Web (according to Google)
    Interesting article.

    Do I detect an echo of Google trying to go where Netscape (remember them?) Microsoft, Apple and Adobe have also tried to go – down their own pathways to web dominance?

    When did Google give up on Wave? That was going to be a world beater for them at one stage. Recently they gave up on the author meta tag.

    I have trouble keeping up with their changes to Analytics and Adword campaigns.

    On top of all that, half the time I can’t even get a mobile phone signal and I’m only at Blaxland…

    Just an opinion, but it seems to me a solid dose of simplicity in basic web publishing for mobile phones would make dramatic improvements to results.

    Business Owners,
    Why you need to understand this speed issue:

    Apr 14: The Importance of Website Loading Speed & Top 3 Factors That Limit Website Speed
    Website speed is critical to online success

    Some quotes from the article:

    “A disproportionately high 47% of users expect your web page to load in under two seconds.

    Again, a disproportionately high 57% of your website visitors will abandon your page if its load time is 3 seconds or more.”

    “To understand the importance of faster mobile website load speeds, check out these revealing statistics:

    • The average Smartphone visitor to your business website will beat a hasty retreat if it doesn’t load inside 3 seconds.
    • An astounding 75% of all Internet users asserted that they wouldn’t revisit a website that doesn’t load within 4 seconds.”

    Another article on loadspeed performance:

    “If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.”

    I hope this sort of stuff is of interest to FSs.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1175817
    Greg_M
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    Google and others appear to be throwing a lot of mud at the wall, hoping that something sticks.

    They’re all happy to abandon ship and move on if the idea doesn’t get traction quickly.

    The biggy on mobile, is storage in the browser and accessing the underlying hardware so the crap connection issue disappears and the difference between a “web” app and native disappears. A lot of this stuff is working now, and there’s not as much of an issue with catering to “legacy” browsers on mobile.

    Given that a merging of native and Web apps is happening and accelerating, I doubt it’s going to get any simpler any time soon. It will appear simpler and smoother to the end user (for the sites that get it right), but I doubt a DIY CMS on cheap hosting is going to make the grade for any serious value added business site.

    Bit much for an old brain to take in sometimes, I just start to get a little comfy and some one keeps shifting the goal posts :)

    Cheers

    #1175818
    JohnW
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    estim8, post: 204698 wrote:
    Bit much for an old brain to take in sometimes, I just start to get a little comfy and some one keeps shifting the goal posts :)
    Hi Estim8,
    I take it you’re a mature age programmer and I’m just an old fart marketer. What hope do the poor bloody FS business owners have when we start rabbiting on…

    Let me ask your opinion about the most basic of issues with mobile websites:

    • If someone proposes publishing a mobile Home page with in excess of 2 megs of image files, would you advise them to tell their site designer/developer to POQ?
    • What would you suggest is a reasonable maximum request query number that a business owner should specify to their web designer?
    • Would you encourage business owners to insist on specifying a maximum load speed in their web design brief/contract with their designers?

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1175819
    Greg_M
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    Mature age is a very polite way of putting it John. I get a lot worse than that closer to home. Some even cast aspersions on the marital status of my parents.

    I’ve learnt that in polite society when eyes start glazing over it’s time to shut up. I get to keep going on a forum :)

    Business success is not a simple process, the learning curve has always been steep. Technology, while offering huge leverage if you get it right, is not a push button process.

    Those astute enough will really listen and increase their chances of success. Most will hear what they want to hear, or remember what some mate told them … statistically these are the ones that will stay among the masses wondering why they can’t get “lucky”.

    On the specifics, I subscribe to a few ideas that I think work.

    1. I would’t be happy about a huge image file download. The first thing I tell anyone that’s interested enough to listen is “Google is blind”, load up the images at your peril.

    2.I like to see “useful content” in under three seconds, if some peripheral stuff is still loading for another second or two I think you can get away with it to some extent. Especially if it’s a smooth asynchronous process.

    3. Request queries are only an issue if they’re not coming from a properly optimised site on a good server. I’ve seen sites of better than a hundred requests perform to my criteria, and sites of less than ten fail ??? It’s always a trade off imo … a balance between the message you need to deliver and the point at which a user will hit the back button because they’re bored (not long). The better the developer, the longer the message and info you can deliver will be.

    And yes, I would tell a business to put a load time limit on a developer, but to also expect the developer to arc up if they keep trying to put ten pound of flour in a six pound bag … often they have a significant “other” or a designer friend with an opinion that counts (why I’ve never figured out).

    I really like good design in a site, but I often feel “less is more” works better, good design doesn’t need lots of trick shots and widgets to impress imo.

    Cheers

    #1175820
    arrowwise
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    Very good post John. Page load speeds be it for mobile or not is high on the list of must have site attributes. Every link in the chain needs to be optimised – web host server, location of server, speed of server connected to the internet, site design, image sizes and the list goes on. The bulky nature of WordPress greatly affected by more plugins sees sites run a lot slower compared to if they were static web pages like the old days. So many businesses are now running WordPress and similar packages which can fall short on speed and responsiveness. Not completely bagging WordPress but speed is the downside of these heavier website architectures.

    Google is in the business of delivering high quality relevant results to the searcher in the fastest time possible. Anything that gets in the way of this will lose points.

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