According to comScore, 7 out of every 10 hours we spend on the web are on mobile devices. All those years of wanting a big screen TV and we choose to stare at a screen that’s smaller than most turtles. What the heck is that all about?

Of course, the answers are obvious: ease of use, accessibility, portability. It’s not like it’s convenient to use our laptop computers while we’re in line at Trader Joe’s or at our kid’s softball tournament (between games of course). The reality is that we have our phones with us all the time and they have become our number one resource for accessing the web.

Businesses should make the mobile first experience a priority. But that isn’t new information. Google has been encouraging mobile design for nearly a decade. And while most companies have a website that works fine on mobile, making the mobile experience awesome hasn’t been a priority for many.

Business owners, is your website mobile responsive?

A mobile responsive website literally responds to the size of the device on which the website is being viewed often using HTML frameworks that are built for viewing in a single column. It changes the layout of the website including the shape of the page, the size of the fonts and the navigation.

Get your phone out and look at your website now. Is the whole page shrunk down on your tiny screen, or is the content rearranged in a way that makes it easy for you to view and scroll through? Are the buttons tiny or is there a mobile-friendly navigation menu that’s great for fat thumbs? Most importantly, have the fonts adjusted so that they are legible?

Or said another way… do you have to pinch or zoom to view any of the content on your mobile website? If the answer is yes, then you’re risking losing customers who will quickly press the back button and find one of your competitors who has made their website look and feel more like a mobile app.

And speaking of mobile apps, I am often asked if local SMBs should invest in their own app. While there are very cool pros to having your own app, including a great user experience, the ability to use push notifications and gather user data, there are some significant cons. Of course there is the investment involved in building the app in the first place but the harder part is getting customers to install and use the app.

Consider your own smartphone and how many apps you have on it. How many do you use? Even if you can get them to install it, convincing them to use it can be very challenging. Again, consider how you use the apps on your phone. What do they do to keep you coming back? Special offers? Discounts? News? Entertainment? You’ll have your work cut out for you if you go this route.

Instead of building your own app, putting mobile first can also mean engaging your users on the apps they already have and use regularly. I’m talking about social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Consider how your content will be viewed on a mobile device each and every time you post.

What about the eBay, Craigslist and any app you used for selling merchandise? Are the images you’re using to promote your products sized properly for mobile viewing?

And then there are those free directory listings you have on Yelp and Google Maps. How do the pictures look on a small screen? Starting today, always think about how your presence is perceived on mobile devices first, then desktops.

Even your direct mail should be built with a mobile first mentality. As you’re creating the email on your desktop you’ll want to adjust those fonts, buttons and images for viewing on a mobile device.

A study in January of 2018 found that people interact with their phones an average of 13 times per hour. (source: ThinkWithGoogle) Another study said that we are spending over 3 hours a day on our mobile devices. (source: eMarketer). No question, we love our phones.

Do your customers like the way you website looks and works on those smartphones they love so much? Are you thinking mobile first?

David McBee