Mobile browsing is expanding at an exponential rate. In 2007 there were about 1 million websites designed for mobile access and the number is predicted to reach 150 million by 2017. More than 3 billion people worldwide have access to a mobile device and at present, nearly 30 percent of all internet traffic comes from users on mobile devices.

The obvious fact is, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, it becomes less effective at converting visitors into customers, and that means you’re losing sales. Links can become difficult to click and calls to action (CTAs) are often obscured. Mobile shoppers have little patience for an unwieldy website, and fully one-third of them will leave a transaction in mid-stream if the site is too difficult to use on their smartphone or tablet.

As the influence of smartphones spreads, it becomes increasingly important to create a website that users are able to access from a mobile platform. However, because mobile device screens are so different from those of desktop computers, the design of your site will need to adapt accordingly.

Webmasters have options when choosing an approach to the creation of a mobile-friendly site. “Responsive” pages feature layout designs that remain unchanged because the underlying code applies rules that change according to browser width, simply resizing all elements as required. “Adaptive” or “dynamic” websites are hosted on servers that send unique HTML and CSS files to users based on the type of device being used to access the page, allowing the option of creating an entirely separate site design specifically for mobile browsing.

Bear in mind, there’s more to optimizing a page for mobile access than simply making it fit in the screen. Mobile users typically have different objectives than do those scrolling on a desktop. Smartphone users are often engaging with mobile websites while watching TV, commuting, working, even while simultaneously using a desktop computer. They are searching for information or products while on the go and typically don’t have the time or attention span to stop and scroll through websites that take too long to load or are too confusing to sort through.

Not only will overlooking mobile optimization likely drive potential customers away, it can also send them directly into the arms of your competition. A study conducted by Google states that 79 percent of mobile users will keep searching until they find a mobile-friendly site to purchase from. Your competition will probably want to thank you for all that time and money you spent sending business their way!

By providing a simple and intuitive path to enquiries or purchases, webmasters can capitalize on mobile traffic. The vast majority – 80 percent! – of shoppers who use wireless devices admit that their purchases are impulse-driven and that they are more likely to buy from a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience.

Mobile-friendliness is also incredibly valuable from an SEO standpoint. With the Hummingbird update last year, Google made it clear that they consider mobile access to be the future of internet search. Now, a page that cannot adapt to a wireless platform will suffer for it in search results rankings. On the other hand, a page with content that looks great on both desktop and mobile platforms will significantly reduce your bounce rate. A consistent and functional mobile experience fosters trust, with 74 percent of users saying they are more likely to return in the future.

Designing a mobile-friendly site is inexpensive and intuitive. By identifying the material that is most important to your consumers and making it readily available, you provide your business the opportunity to capitalize on the rapidly growing mobile market.