What if one out of every three visitors to your company's website came directly from a mobile device like a smart phone or tablet? What would their experience be like when they get to your "front door"? Would it be intuitive and painless or a complete pain in the ass?
Again, one out of three visitors--33%.
Are you confident that your website can hold the attention and limited patience of these mobile users?
The screenshots below are from the Google Analytics accounts of two landscape contractors. These stats are from October 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, a total of nine months. Highlighted is the comparison of website visits from desktop, tablets and mobile devices (smart phones) from this time frame. The first landscaping company gets 33% of their visits from either a tablet or smart phone while the second landscape contractor gets 35% of their traffic from these devices combined.
These numbers are typical of what we see when we analyze the traffic to lawn and landscaping company websites.
Basic website metrics that measure visitor engagement -- pages/visit, time on site and bounce rate -- will typically be lower on a tablet or smart phone. The numbers shown in the screenshots above reflect this. That said, you risk these numbers plummeting even more if your website is not properly optimized for a friendly mobile experience.
Bottom line: If your company's website isn't optimized for a tablet or smart phone a significant percentage of your visitors (potential customers!) are spending less time on site, looking at fewer pages and bouncing elsewhere.
This segment of visitors is only going to grow. Google’s Matt Cutts said that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if mobile search exceeded desktop queries this year.
The solution? Responsive web design
Hopefully you've heard the term "responsive design" by now. According to HubSpot, "Built using responsive design, your website will automatically adjust to whatever device is viewing it without any extra work on your end." If a visitor pulls up your website on their iPhone, your site will "respond" to that unique device and render a more positive user experience without the annoying zooming, scrolling and tiny buttons.
Responsive web design is very much different than a mobile app. A mobile app is a standalone website built purely for a mobile device. You basically end up with two websites--a mobile version and a desktop version. I don't know about you, but I don't want to take care of two websites. One is hard enough. This is why we recommend responsive web design to our landscape industry clients.
The majority of our clients -- and the best landscaping websites we've seen -- are now built using responsive design. Below are examples of responsive web design for three of our clients: No Ka Oi Landscape Services, Neave Group Outdoor Solutions and Outback Landscape (special thanks to Last Rose Studios for creating these graphics). View each of these sites on a desktop, tablet and smart phone and you'll see responsive design in action.
Implementing responsive design on your website
No Ka Oi's and Outback's websites were built on HubSpot's platform. One advantage to using HubSpot is that responsive design is automatically built into your website with no extra programming required. It's also easy to update your website when using HubSpot's software. You can quickly and easily create new pages, publish blog posts and add new images to your site while being confident your content and media will render properly on all devices large or small.
HubSpot is our platform of choice at Landscape Leadership, in fact we're an "agency partner" with HubSpot (you can learn more here or get in touch with us directly to learn how to migrate your site to HubSpot).
The Neave Group website is built on Wordpress with a carefully selected responsive "theme". Not all Wordpress themes include responsive design. If your site is built on Wordpress and does not have a theme that is responsive we suggest exploring other theme options. It shouldn't be a difficult or expensive fix.
Some homework for you
As a first step, if you haven't already, install Google Analytics on your website. It's free. This will allow you to track the percentage of visitors coming to your website from mobile devices compared to desktop.
Next, take a look at your website on a desktop computer or laptop and compare that to the experience on a tablet and a smart phone. Also, compare this to the landscaping company websites mentioned previously.
Finally, get in touch with your web designer or developer and inquire about responsive design for your website. Now is the time. Remember, a large percentage of your visitors are coming to you on a mobile device. You've got to give them a great user experience, no matter the device, if you want them to stick around.
If you want to learn more about our website design and development services for landscaping companies, and others in the green industry, just give us a shout. You can reach us at (800) 681-9169 or fill out our handy form here.