(This article was originally posted on May 6, 2013, and has been updated to include even more great information!)Are more and more of your clients and prospects using their mobile phones and tablets to find your veterinary website? You can count on it.
Research has shown that 63% of searchers are now using more than one device to conduct searches for local businesses. This means a growing number of pet owners are using their phones, iPads, and other mobile devices to find local pet care. In fact, more Google searches are now made on mobile phones than on desktops.
This means if your website is hard to read or navigate on smartphones, or if people struggle to find the basic information they need (like your phone number or address)… they’ll move on to find a practice website that’s easier to use in mobile situations. Ouch.
Is your veterinary website ready for the mobile world? If you’re not sure, here’ are a couple of quick and easy tests you can take right now to find out.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test
The most basic test you can perform to ensure that your veterinary website is mobile-friendly is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Google now penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in mobile searches, so having a practice website that isn’t mobile-friendly could result in a lower ranking in mobile search results. So if local pet owners are searching for nearby veterinary clinics on their smartphones, and you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’ll be less likely to show up at the top of their search results, and less likely to get their business.
Luckily, Google lets you outright test if your website meets their standards. Just input your URL, wait a couple seconds, and see if you get their green stamp of approval.
Test Your Site
It’s important to understand Mobile Responsive Design (also called Responsive Web Design), and what it means to veterinary marketing success. This term means that a responsive website automatically changes to fit the device you’re reading it on: phone, tablet, laptop and so on. Its layout instantly responds to the device’s screen size.
A company called Quirk Tools has developed a neat online Responsive Web Design tool called Test Your Site: http://quirktools.com/screenfly/
This website is free and it allows you to easily do the following:
- Select “Test your site.” Enter your veterinary website’s domain name (your web address, such as www.yourpracticename.com).
- See exactly how your veterinary website appears on several mobile devices. This includes BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Playback and iPad devices.
- Experience your site as a mobile version. As you view your website in this tool, you can click on your site’s links and review each page as it will appear and function on all those devices, in real life.
This is incredibly helpful. You’ll know immediately if a) your website is an excellent resource for pet parents using their mobile devices… or b) it’s difficult to use and needs “responsive design” before your prospects move on to another local veterinary website.
If you find that your website is NOT mobile-friendly, you have three options:
- Leave it the way it is. You can hope local pet parents won’t mind working their way around your site, and also hope your local competition isn’t mobile-friendly either. This is a risk.
- Hire a development company to create a separate mobile-friendly version of your site. This can be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive, and when you update your site, you may need to update the mobile version as well, doubling your efforts.
- Convert to a website that’s instantly mobile-ready at all times. This type of website has mobile responsive design built into the framework. Your website IS your mobile site. No extra cost or hassles needed. And as more and more local prospects and clients use their phones and tablets, your site is always ready for them!
Please note: The LifeLearn WebDVM veterinary website system includes mobile-responsive design at its core. Take a look at our gallery of demo sites, featuring attractive website designs that effortlessly rearrange to the device they’re being viewed on.