Is a mobile optimised website worth it?

Update as of February 2017: This article is a few years old now and thing have changed 🙂 Responsive web design is now the standard and we include it for all of our websites, as do most other designers. Mobile phone usage has taken off over the last few years and there is no way around it – you need a responsive website! 


smartphone usageMobile optimised websites are becoming more and more common these days, however they still cost more to design and develop than standard desktop websites.

A responsive website that resizes automatically for mobiles and tablets can cost around 30% more due to the time required to develop, design and test the website on different devices. Existing website may even require a complete redesign, or alternatively the creation of a separate mobile website.

For many small businesses, the burning question is: “Is it worth it?”



The facts

Smart phone usage in Australia has increased exponentially over the last few years, and more than half of smart phone owners search the internet on their phones every day.

According to a 2012 survey by Google, 86% of smart phone users have performed a local search on their phones. Of those that have, 88% have gone to take action (e.g. contact the business).

Below is a breakdown of some of the actions people have taken after performing a search for a local business on their smart phones:

mobile users take action


Mobile usage differs by industry

People are more likely to search for information from their smart phones in some industries than in others. eCommerce websites, restaurants, lifestyle, recruitment and travel websites tend to receive a higher proportion of mobile website visitors than business services and other B2B websites.

For example, some of our eCommerce clients receive up to 35% of their website visits from mobile devices, whereas some business service websites receive only 5-10% mobile visits. The business case for a mobile optimised website would then be much stronger for the eCommerce website than for the business service website.

How many people are actually visiting your website from a mobile?

If you have an existing website with Google Analytics installed, there is an easy way to find out exactly how many visits you have received from mobile devices:

  1. In the Google Analytics interface, click on the “Audience” tab under “standard reports” on the left hand side
  2. A sub menu will open up under the Audience tab – click on “Mobile” > “Overview
  3. Choose a date range in the top right corner that will give you meaningful results. If your website does not receive a lot of traffic, you can look back over the last 3-6 months
  4. You will see a table that shows you exactly how many people visited your website from a mobile phone, desktop and tablet, how long they stayed and how many pages they viewed

mobile analytics

If the percentage of mobile visitors is low, it is probably not worth spending too much on a mobile optimised website quite yet, however if there is a high number of mobile website visitors, you might want to consider a redesign.

If you do not have an existing website, you need to consider your target audience and weigh up the costs and benefits of future proofing your new website with a mobile friendly design. 

There are several options when it comes to making your website mobile friendly, and we’ll look at these in more detail in a future blog post.