Are You Ready for the Mobile World?

I’ve known for several years that more and more people are accessing my blog via their mobile devices. What I didn’t realize is how fast it is happening!

Here is a table showing the percent of readers who accessed my site via a mobile device over the last three years:

Month or Event Percent
November 2010 7.6%
November 2011 19.0%
November 2012 29.0%
Black Friday Weekend 33.7%

I wouldn’t be surprised if more than 50 percent of my readers use mobile devices to access the site next year. Thankfully, we built mobile functionality into my new GetNoticed! WordPress theme. I think it’s time to start thinking “mobile first.”

What about you? How does your blog or website look on mobile devices? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

39 thoughts on “Are You Ready for the Mobile World?

  1. I think it’s important to be able to break-down mobile access into a couple of categories: mobile phone access and access by tablet – both have different user experiences and, hence, different lessons for blogs, websites etc. Mobile access via tablet (certainly those above 7″ screen size) is more akin to access via desktop or laptop.

      • Sure – I was just thinking that app developers run different versions depending on the nature of the mobile device, usually a phone-centric app and a tablet-oriented one. Maybe that ought to also figure in how websites think about their mobile users?

        • That might be necessary with apps; I am not sure. It really isn’t necessary with websites, because of the new responsive technology. It allows your website to morph, depending on the device. Thanks.

      • This is why your new theme will be such a welcome addition for many of our sites. I know I’m changing as soon as you release the theme for sale (and I will also jump at the opportunity to be a beta tester if selected – I have three sites which will absolutely love the ability to have the different post templates like announcements, etc.!).

  2. Good point. I have absolutely no idea how my website looks on a mobile device. For all I know, visiting my site from a mobile device may freeze up the mobile device. 

  3. That Black Friday surge doesn’t come as a surprise to me if you were running a campaign or product discount, however WOW look at that surge from 2010 to 2011, that’s very substantial! Personally, i think there will be a plateau considering the user experience of most sites can’t be fully appreciated from an iPhone screen (or any small screen). When that plateau will hit, i have no idea…40%? 60%? Does your definition of “mobile” above include tablets and iPads as well?

  4. I have been using a free plugin, WPTouch that provides a good mobile theme for smartphones. The free version does not provide support for tablets; the blog is rendered in the desktop theme on tablets.

    Having this functionality built into GetNoticed is a great idea, especially if it has a similar look and feel as the desktop theme.

    • You can actually see it in action now by viewing my site on either a tablet or a mobile phone. I am really pleased with the design. This will be available to all uses “out of the box.”

    • We started a year or so ago using WPTouch, but have since moved away from having unique sites for device types (phone, tablet, etc.). The effort required to make and maintain the other versions just wasn’t worth it, and our leadership was disappointed at the look. Responsive design takes a different approach – one site, that adapts elements to your device size. I recommend you look at some responsive WP themes, there are some very good ones now.

  5. Works on my iPhone 5!  ABout a year ago, I asked my webmaster to create a mobile version of my website.  He was confused as to why I wanted that.  Because 20% of my traffic is coming from mobile… and growing.

    Michael, what’s your take on using a WordPress theme for an entire website rather than just a blog?

    • I think that is a great solution. WordPress is very flexible. You can create a static page for your home page, if you want, and then link to a blog—all on the same site and using the same theme.

  6. Absolutely Michael. 

    If you’re not mobile-ready, WAKE UP! It’s 2012 folks. My personal site and all of my client sites are fully functional on mobile. They MUST be. And yet, I believe only something like 5% of sites are.If you own a brick and mortar, it’s even more important to have a great mobile site, because people are going to access your site in-store…meaning mobile.I can’t wait for GetNoticed, but if someone is not going to buy that, there is a free plug-in for WordPress called WPTouch that works great for converting to mobile.

  7. I use Standard Theme for my blog,  I think that it looks pretty good on a mobile device.  I agree, I think that people are filling their free space while waiting in line, waiting for food, or any other bit of down time by jumping on their mobile device and reading blogs like this one and many others…  

  8. I’ve been tracking mobile use on our blog for the last year and have been so glad that I accidentally chose a mobile friendly theme before I knew there was such a thing.  As an artist, I knew the importance of images, and featuring them, but I had no idea how much more important this would be. Our site get’s about 10K visitors a month; last year mobile devices were 17% of our traffic –  this year it’s 32%!

    If you are starting a blog or thinking about switching your theme, go for this one. You’ll look back a year from now and be celebrating :)

    Michael, do you know if your new theme integrates well with WishList Member plugin?

  9. I agree with you completely.  Mobile access to the web is the Internet 3.0.  For the first time, there are now more mobile devices that can access the web than there are computers.  Whether you have a blog, company website, or something else, it is crucial to plan for mobile access.  This is why I am so excited about your Get Noticed! wordpress theme!

  10. That is quite an increase in a short amount of time. In developing countries, this is how most people access the internet. I should be thinking more about mobile devices, especially since I self-published my spiritual memoir/Knowing God-meets-Blue Like Jazz for the Kindle!

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  12. Michael…great point. I checked recently and 50% of all traffic to my blog is mobile. 
    Mobile users were also on the site less than half as long as desktop viewers. I’m writing my posts to feature shorter paragraphs for greater white space, using more bullet points and using bolded key points to allow people to read a post faster.  Also, a super short paragraph on a desktop looks like a longer paragraph on a phone or tablet because the space for text is smaller. What are your thoughts on writing for mobile? 

    • In some ways, scrolling longer articles on mobile feels like less effort to me. I don’t mind it so much – especially if I know what I’m in for, perhaps with cues (“in this longer post…”).
      You’re doing the right thing by consulting your analytics in this matter – time-on-site and the like will vary for a mobile audience. Personally, Michael’s article length feels about right to me.

  13. I work for an agency that specializes in bespoke software and strategic consulting. Many of our customers recognize the need for mobile but are surprised when (depending on the product needs) we recommend mobile being the PRIMARY use case, with desktop web being secondary. It’s not the right fit for everyone but that’s definitely the trend we’re seeing. 

    The other side of it is that many mobile users are not as patient as desktop users. If your site doesn’t work well on mobile when they check it, they often won’t bother coming back. Not always, but it’s similar to saying that you don’t have a site at all. 

    As you mention in a comment, “responsive” web design is really critical. With tablets, desktops, phones, TVs, etc all accessing the web it’s hard to make assumptions on what form factor a user will have. Our approach uses 3-5 “key frame” sizes for general layout, with each of them having the ability to stretch and shrink a bit to the specific screen size. So the site picks the closest to what you have and the layout code makes the final adjustments. It can be daunting to have to tell a client that insists on “best in class” device support that we’ll need to design each area of the site 3-5 times. The end result is always excellent though and once the designs are done our developers won’t be making 3-5 duplicates of the content, just layout containers.

    Anyway, good stuff!

    • Great points, Aaron. Speed is life in the mobile arena. 

      Having built several responsive sites now, I’ve learned that while the basics will suffice, truly optimizing the sites for speed and performance is a very deep art. It can make a huge difference but can be very challenging to achieve. 

      I try to combine responsive design (which means, in practice, adding more CSS to the page load) with server-size techniques (only loading what’s needed in the page on mobile; smaller images, etc.). I think that’s going to become more popular over time.

  14. I’ve been travelling for business the past several weeks heading into our company’s busiest time of year. I’ve been of those relying on mobile connectivity to get my “Michael Hyatt fix.” As far as my personal blog, I use a the WordPress widget WPTouch which allows for limited mobile functionality – your mobile app is MUCH more robust. 

  15. Great discussion. As a web developer, responsive design solves many problems (and has its own challenges, too). 

    Michael, it’s great to see your blog designed well for mobile devices; however there is something missing in your “Platform” here – responsive email templates. 

    I know the email list is an important part of your strategy; I personally love reading them on my iPhone, except that the type is minuscule, because it’s only formatted for the desktop. It’s a jarring reading experience to read the email, then tap through to your very nicely formatted site. 

    I’m sure Mailchimp has some resources to help your team with templates; here’s a great article covering the subject:

    If you need further help contact me. I look forward to reading your posts via responsive email templates! :)

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