What mobile users really want from a business’s website

Most business owners are already well aware that they need a mobile-friendly website.

It’s no longer simply the information provided by a site that matters to prospective customers and to Google, it’s how that information is presented.

Poor presentation, as well as a dearth of information, can actually drive prospects away and straight toward the competition.

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In August, HubShout surveyed 450 people to discover just what mobile users look for in a business’s website. Overall, the respondents’ answers indicate just how important it is for businesses to develop informative and well-designed mobile responsive websites.

The results on what mobile users are searching for, along with what they do and don’t want to see, make it abundantly clear just what a business’s mobile site should look like.

Of those who took the survey, 93% said that they use a smartphone, meaning that they have the ability to navigate a touchscreen with the swipe of a finger. This emphasizes the importance of drop-down menus and click-to-call capabilities on mobile sites.

Additionally, 94% have used their phones to search for a business at some point. Although just 6% have never used their phones for this purpose, the majority (nearly 61%) use their phones to look up businesses frequently, if not daily.

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What mobile users are searching for

Respondents were also asked about the types of businesses they tend to search for. At the top of the list:

  • 90% search for local restaurants
  • 64% need entertainment options, like movies and events
  • 58% want to find retail businesses while on their phones

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More than 40% of respondents also indicated that they search for local businesses related to health, beauty, and fitness, such as salons or yoga studios; medical services, such as doctors and urgent care facilities; and automotive-related businesses, including repair shops and gas stations.

Between about one-fifth and one-third indicated that they also search for other services at some time or another, such as home repair, travel, recreation, and professional services, with lawyers and accountants in the latter category.

The mobile search volumes for these categories differ for a reason.

Restaurants, movie theaters, entertainment venues, and maybe even a good hair salon are all on-the-go needs. Although searches for lawyers and accountants made up 21.5% of respondents’ searches, these may be services that are more considered purchases, meaning that they require more research than a quick jaunt to Google or Yelp.

What mobile users do want to see

Based on this research, respondents were allowed to select everything that they like to see on mobile websites. Overwhelmingly, contact information and business hours were must-haves.

A whopping 88% of people want to see business hours prominently displayed on a website. Nearly 85% want to be able to see a phone number, especially one that is click-to-call, and 82% will need an address and/or driving directions to be visible.

Also considered necessities: a display of prices, for more than 70% of respondents, and a menu of products or services for 67%. Almost 39 percent of those surveyed also wanted to see photographs on the site.

Features such as testimonials, videos, social media profile links and informational articles or blog posts were less popular, but they were sought after by between 10-20% of respondents.

In other words, the more easily navigable information a business can have on its website, the better it is for both current and prospective customers.

What mobile users don’t want to see

Nothing kills a business’s chances of attracting customers quite like bad web design. It’s the online equivalent of a boarded-up storefront or poorly-stocked shelves.

For mobile websites, where screen space is at a premium, the design needs to pack a punch, but also have the pertinent information that searchers need.

So what really irks mobile users when they look up a business on their phones? Again, the research indicates that lack of information and poor responsiveness are definitely top concerns.

The three biggest pet peeves on mobile websites:

  • 46% are annoyed when they can’t easily find business hours
  • 42% expect to see a phone number and address on the first screen they encounter
  • 34% don’t like it when the mobile site doesn’t include all of the information from the desktop site

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The survey also found that non-responsive or poorly-sized text is an issue for many mobile users. Having to pinch, squeeze and zoom to read text, not being able to click on links, and having information that is too big or too small to fit the screen were also named as sins of mobile web design.

Businesses also need to keep in mind that mobile websites are displayed on, well, mobile phones. One-quarter of respondents said they didn’t like it when websites didn’t display click-to-call phone numbers, in case they like what they see and actually want to get in touch.

In addition to the information and display of a website, poor performance and navigation can also deter customers from using a business.

Nearly 72% of respondents said they would leave a website if it was slow to load, and about two-thirds (67%) said that difficulty or frustration with the website’s navigation would also force them to swipe right and head back to their search results.

Cluttered layouts, hard-to-find phone numbers, addresses, and business hours, and difficult-to-read text were all common frustrations. And 30% said that a website that simply doesn’t look good on their phones would be enough to make them leave.

What’s the big deal for small businesses?

This survey found that 78% of people have discovered a new business when searching on their phones. That gives small businesses, in particular, the chance to compete when they have solid SEO campaigns to get clicks from local search users.

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But what do mobile users do when they don’t get the information they need? In short, businesses run the risk of losing those customers entirely.

Those surveyed were asked what they would do if a business’s website didn’t have the information they were looking for.

More than half (55%) said they would look for another source of information about that business: a Yelp listing or Facebook page, perhaps.

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The others weren’t so kind. Nearly 39% of respondents said they would simply look for a similar business instead, and an extreme 6 percent would refuse to do business with a company that has a poor mobile website.

These results indicate two things. For one, businesses can lose nearly half of their potential customers if they don’t have decent mobile sites.

On the other hand, customers who go to look for another source of information on a business could stumble upon information about a competitor and decide to use their services instead.

Either way, the results point to one major conclusion: small businesses are at risk of losing customers if they don’t have an informative and easy-to-read mobile website.

But what about actually having a well-designed mobile-friendly website? It turns out that that also has favorable results with consumers.

  • 72% of users find that a high quality mobile site makes a good impression
  • 61% think a good website means a company wants their business
  • 55% said that businesses with good mobile websites care about their customers
  • 49% actually want to do business with a company that has a good mobile website

Online success for small businesses is no longer about simply having a mobile website. In fact, these days that may be the easy part!

What really matters is having a site that is well-optimized with contact information and business hours prominently displayed. Having additional information about goods and services, so customers know what to expect, is another key takeaway from this research.

Going mobile is no longer a “maybe” for businesses. On top of that, they also need to have a site that is optimized for both search engines and humans.

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