Mobile-First Design - Why Do You Need A Mobile Website

In March this year, Google rolled out one of its biggest search algorithm overhauls in some time. Confirmed some time ago by John Mueller, the new “mobile-first” indexing system could radically alter the way websites and pages are picked up by Google’s crawlers.

As a result, the search engine optimisation and lead generation strategies of millions of businesses worldwide may likewise need to be overhauled.

To say that the whole thing has been a long time coming would be something of an understatement. It was all the way back in 2019 that mobile web traffic officially surpassed all other forms of web traffic as the new dominating force of the online landscape.

Google made it clear for some time that mobile-first would be its long-term priority - this year’s major overhaul was therefore nothing if not predictable.

But while mobile-first web design can be advantageous in a variety of ways, it also brings a handful of disadvantages into the mix. All of which must be considered by anyone looking to make the most of the upcoming changes to Google’s indexation system.

Advantages of Mobile-First Design

Taking a look at the advantages first, these are perhaps the biggest benefits of mobile-first web design:

1. Most web users are mobile

With more than 50% of all web traffic now being mobile in nature, it simply makes sense to prioritise mobile users when designing websites and pages. If not, you’re prioritising a smaller segment of web traffic, which is both nonsensical and counterproductive.

2. Better SERP rankings

With Google’s new indexation system come into effect, websites that offer a flawless mobile experience will be prioritised over their desktop-focused counterparts. If prominent rankings are a priority for your business, now is the time to focus on mobile audiences.

3. Faster and simpler websites

Mobile-focused websites are simpler in nature and therefore tend to be both faster and less buggy than more complex sites. Along with significantly improving the user experience for every visitor, this can also contribute significantly to your site’s overall SEO clout.

Disadvantages of Mobile-First Design

As for the downsides, there are three major disadvantages to consider when designing websites and pages for mobile audiences:

1. The compatibility conundrum

Mobile devices exist in (literally) millions of different shapes, sizes and specifications. Attempting to create a website that offers the same flawless experience across every one of these devices without exception can be challenging to say the least.

2. General design restrictions

When designing websites for mobile audiences, there are a lot of webpage elements, features, tools and functionalities that you simply cannot include in your pages. Things need to be kept as simple and accessible as possible, somewhat stifling creative freedom.

3. Appealing to desktop users

Last up, you may also continue to attract hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your website each day from conventional desktop or laptop computers. Prioritising mobile audience matters, but so too does ensuring your desktop visitors are treated to an equally smooth, seamless and enjoyable experience.