There’s an important question to ask whenever you’re deciding to start a website or revamp your current site in any way: Should I focus on optimizing my site for mobile or browser? When we’re talking about mobile sites vs. browser sites, this doesn’t include mobile apps — that’s an altogether different beast. We’re talking strictly about when someone gets to your site by typing in the search bar on their phone versus their laptop or desktop.

Every website is really two sites: a mobile site and a browser site. Sometimes you can use a website theme or invest in a web developer who can create a browser site that translates well into a mobile site. Many website-creating tools like WordPress, GoDaddy, Squarespace, and more use themes and tools that make it easier to develop for both at one time or transform one into the other. More often than not, this is not the case, because every company has a different model, and the site needs to be tailored to best make that model successful. This leads to your company making two websites.

But which one should you focus on? Which one is more important–mobile or browser? We can make that decision as close to objective as possible by weighing several factors–popularity, SEO, and investment.

Mobile vs Browser: Which is More Popular?

Looking at statistics on a surface level, it appears that mobile sites are more popular and are growing in popularity. From Techjury, we have a list of updated statistics about mobile site usage vs. browser site usage from 2021 so far.

  • “Over the course of one year, mobile users share increased by over 10%.
  • “Mobile vs desktop usage stats in 2021 reveal 50% B2B inquiries were made on mobile last year.
  • “Social media takes 25% of all digital media consumption and it is mainly accessed on mobile.
  • “In 2021, mobile phones generate 54.25% of the traffic, desktops – 42.9%.
  • “55% of page views in 2021 come from mobile phones.”

It would be easy to look at a bunch of statistics and say that mobile is more popular, but there’s more to it than that. Mobile is growing, year-over-year and this means it’s likely to keep on growing. Furthermore, this means that even if mobile brought in less traffic, it would eventually.

But it does already bring in more traffic, 11.35% in fact. That means your mobile site is likely more popular than your browser site. At the same time, this doesn’t mean it’s more beneficial for your business model. If your business runs on a B2B business model, you don’t want more pageviews, you want specific page views. A better mobile site doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting to the audience you want.

As it turns out though, mobile sites brought 50% of B2B inquiries in 2021. So, even if your business is a B2B model that only cares about traffic from other businesses, not direct consumers, your audience is still on mobile. Pair this important statistic with the important statistic that mobile is growing in popularity, and it should appear that mobile is more popular in the vast majority of businesses. 

Mobile vs Browser: Which Affects SEO More?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is what we call the algorithms that decide whether our sites appear first on search engine results. The biggest online search engine is Google, and Google’s search algorithm does separate mobile sites and browser sites when indexing everyone’s websites. For a long time, they prioritized indexing browser sites before mobile sites.

This meant that even if mobile was bringing in more traffic, where you ranked depended on how SEO optimized your site was on the browser. This means that your site could be ranking on mobile because of the SEO work you did for the browser. This is no longer true.

Now, since June of last year, that’s no longer true for websites created after 2019. This hasn’t rolled out for everyone just yet, but for many websites, Google has adopted a mobile-first indexing policy. This is likely because of the trends skewing towards mobile and wanting to reflect the preferences of their user base. This means that mobile is now the one that is most important to SEO for a lot of websites, and new sites going forward.

For new businesses, this doesn’t mean that SEO optimization for your browser sites is unimportant, but if your mobile version isn’t as optimized, you’re dropping in Google ranks. So, it feels clear that mobile is more important for some websites right now than a browser when it comes to SEO.

Mobile vs. Browser: Which is a Bigger Investment?

This is possibly the most important aspect of deciding whether mobile sites or browser sites are more important. As important as popularity and SEO are, if they’re not worth the investment, it doesn’t matter. For something to be a good investment, in this case, I mean that the site leads to more profit or revenue after earning back the budget because of the mobile or browser site.

This is where mobile takes its biggest hit. While it can be nearly impossible to accurately quantify how much investment either costs, there are facts that let us make informed decisions. Mobile is harder to develop for, from a sheer coding standpoint. 

When you develop a website for the browser, you’re doing it once, and you don’t have to take into account types of computers, monitors, or browsers, they all work. Mobile refers to the many different smartphones capable of traversing the internet. You need to figure out how to make the best layout for all of their many different sizes, and without the budget, you cannot operate at 100% optimization for them all.

So, this means that for mobile to be the better investment, it has to produce more quality traffic than browser, by such a wide margin that it also leads to greater revenue and profit. More often than not, mobile does bring in more traffic, so you have to consider other things as well. Most businesses will find that their audiences find them through mobile rather than browser, but after some testing and tracking, they can find out they may be a part of the percentage where that isn’t true.

Reference the statistics we talked about earlier. Mobile’s dominance is great, but not absolute. There are a lot of potential clients using browsers, and your audience may have a greater crossover with that user base than mobile.

Of course, if you have talented web developer(s), the issue of profit vs. cost may not be worth mentioning. But you have to consider that browser may be the better investment.

Let Someone Else Worry About this For You

Ideally, you should optimize both mobile and browser. There are few businesses that have good mobile sites and bad browser ones, or vice versa. A lot of the most successful sites will have a more optimized mobile site than their browser site, but they don’t leave the browser site by the wayside. 

This discussion is more about deciding which to prioritize first, and when you face having to choose to make a design decision that only benefits one type of site, make sure you pick the right one for you. 

But what if you can’t find the time to research and consider this? What if you don’t have the experience to make well-informed decisions on this as you run your business? Then contact ENX2 Marketing. We not only specialize in optimizing websites for mobile and browsers, but we also have web developers who can revamp your sites to work well for both. When you feel like you need online marketing help, ENX2 Marketing is who you should call. Contact us today.