Back in 2013 when we first discussed “crimes against mobility,” mobile traffic was on the rise but not yet the intensive, everyday use we see today. According to Statista, mobile traffic makes up 53% of web surfing in 2019. By comparison, back in 2013, it was only about 16%.
Not only has mobile traffic significantly increased, but the value of mobile optimization in Google’s eyes has only increased. After a few years of testing and some gradual roll-outs, Google began indexing websites with mobile-first standards in July of 2019. Our search engine optimization team wrote about this event more extensively, but the takeaway is clear: proper mobile optimization is essential for the health of your website and for the betterment of your SEO strategy.
While some of the common mistakes we explored in 2013 are still relevant, this updated guide will walk you through mobile “crimes” to avoid and how to fix them in 2020 to fully optimize your website for mobile.
2013 Mobile Mistakes and Their 2020 Counterparts
Flash Videos and Other Unplayable Videos (2013) vs. Autoplay Videos (2020)
In 2013, flash and other non-HTML5 videos that were unplayable on mobile either simply did not appear or strained the capabilities of your iPhone 5. While today’s mobile devices are more powerful and our networks are faster, that does not mean you should go crazy with video content. Today, the mobile crime of video is simple: autoplay. Even worse is autoplay with sound on.
While autoplaying videos became a bit of trend after major social media outlets adopted the habit, when it comes to websites, autoplay has actually contributed to increased rates of ad blocking – according to PageFair’s 2017 Adblock Report. In addition, in a study by Brandwatch, 74% of sentiment towards autoplay is negative. Most notably, all major browsers (Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox) now block videos that play automatically with the sound on.
The solution to autoplay videos:
Video should still be used on your website, as it showcases your hotel is a way photos never could. However, for the best mobile optimization in 2020, you should use video in specific contexts. If you want to have an “autoplay” video, it should be a video masthead. This means a video specifically formatted to fit the masthead space, compressed for optimal speed, and its content edited to serve as a visual introduction to your hotel. Therefore, the video masthead should not have audio, should not have text, and should be less than a minute long. Check out this example of a hotel that used a video masthead to showcase their beautiful Blue Mountains location.
If you have a video that is not suitable for masthead placement, use it on an interior page where it is most relevant. If you have a general hotel overview video that includes audio and or text, consider placing it on the “our hotel” or equivalent page. If you have a video of your chef or bartender creating a signature dish or cocktail at your on-site restaurant, put it on your dining page. Videos that are unsuitable for a masthead can still be used on your website, but should never be automatically played.
Redirecting Mobile Users To The Wrong Mobile Page (2013) vs. Separate Mobile Design (2020)
In 2014, when we initially addressed responsive design versus separate mobile sites, both were viable options for visitors coming to your site on a phone or tablet. However, as website development has evolved, a separate mobile site means twice as much content management in an age where quality, accurate content is vital.
If you choose to have a separate mobile site, any content updates will have to be made to the desktop version and the mobile version. Additionally, there is more opportunity for users to get lost between the desktop and mobile sites if linking is done incorrectly or redirects are not implemented properly.
The solution to separate mobile sites:
To prevent errors and switching between mobile and desktop versions of your site, we recommend using responsive design. Responsive design is websites that, without changing the URL, rearrange or reformat pages based on how users view the site. That way, no matter the device your visitor is viewing your hotel’s website, the content they will see is largely the same no matter if they are on desktop or mobile. Plus, when going to make content updates, the updates only need to be made in one place.
2013 Mobile Mistakes That Remain Relevant in 2020
Slow Page Speed
Page speed is just as important in 2020 as it was in 2013. Our phones are more advanced, our networks faster — so our websites need to keep up. According to a study by Imperva Incapsula, if your website takes more than 5 seconds to load, over half of the visitors will leave.
The solution to slow page speed:
Regular testing and optimization can combat pages taking a long time to load. There are many tools available to test your page’s load speed and options for further optimization. By running speed tests monthly and performing quality assurance checks, a fast site is an essential part of mobile optimization.
New Mobile “Crimes” in 2020
Having the Same Exact Design on Mobile and Desktop
While we recommend using responsive design to have a seamless brand identity overall on your site, there are small design differences that should exist between the mobile and desktops views of your website. These differences should make the visitor’s experience more tailored to their needs in the view they are currently in.
For example, a desktop website does not need an easily accessible click-to-call button, but mobile users need to find that option easily in case they want to call the hotel to ask a question. Or, for example, embedded maps are great for desktop users exploring the local area, but are often overwhelming on a small screen for mobile visitors.
The solution to the same design on desktop and mobile:
To best serve all the different devices that access your site, look at the content and design from what a mobile user versus a desktop user needs. What are mobile users seeking when they come to your site? Put that front and center when adjusting your responsive design.
Overcomplicated Booking Process
Is your booking process more than three steps? If so, mobile users may be more likely to abandon cart or exit your website. Mobile users need simple, just a few clicks, bookings.
The solutions to overcomplicated booking processes:
There are multiple options for fixing your overcomplicated booking process. While refining your booking process in the engine itself might be an option depending on your provider, there are others too. Consider “email me this search” and similar options where users can have their booking search sent to a convenient place where they can later complete the booking on desktop. Additionally, consider letting visitors book without creating an account. While this may not be an option for hotels with a brand flag, boutique hotels can use this as an opportunity to simplify booking.
Mobile browsing is more prevalent than ever and will only continue to grow in 2020 and beyond. By solving for the 2020 equivalents of 2013 mistakes, still optimizing for page speed, and avoiding 2020 mobile mistakes, your website will be prepared for 2020 mobile users.
Need help optimizing your website for mobile? Drop us a line.