Mobile First or Risk Death

April 13, 2015
3 min read

If you run an online business and you are reading this article right now, my advice to you is to open your website with your smartphone (if you have one) and find out if it is mobile responsive. Especially if you are a consumer focused startup. If not, call your developer and tell him to start working on making your application mobile responsive ASAP. Then continue reading this article to understand why you risk death if you don’t take action now.


So why am I saying your startup will die if your web app doesn’t have a mobile version? It's because there are increasingly more mobile users than desktop/laptop users especially in African countries where mobile data penetration is going gaga. If you don’t have a mobile compatible website then you have neglected the experience of those visiting your website from their mobile phones which results to higher bounce rate, fewer returning visitors, small time spent on site, reducing traffic from Google. In fact you will loose those visitors who come across your website with their mobile phones.

My friend at bartonheyman, Mark Byron always says “In God we trust, all others bring data.” It's a saying from William Edwards Deming, a renowned statistician. Since others bring data, I too will bring data to support my claim that mobile internet users are increasingly growing more than desktop/laptop users.


Below is a snapshot of our google analytics data from one of our websites at cloudone-


The large blue area represents the fraction of visitors to this website using mobile phones (both smart phones and feature phones) while the small green area represents the desktop visitors. Notice the difference! If you were the owner of that website, that’s the amount of visitors you will be annoying for not making your website mobile responsive or having a mobile website.

Lets say the amount of data I have provided is not enough to convince you. Haven’t you read how Merissa Mayer was buying mobile application companies in order to well position Yahoo in the mobile space against Google, which is completely mobile. Or you haven’t noticed how almost all your favourite web applications have a mobile responsive site —GoogleFacebook, Box, Quora, Naij, Nairaland, Konga, etc.

Even Google has announced that they will start to penalise websites that are not mobile compatible. I am sure you don’t want the mighty Google to penalise you. Because a lot of your users are probably coming from Google search.

I won’t be spending time to talk about what approach to take, be it mobile responsive website or redirect to a mobile website. I will leave that for you to decide although Google recommends that webmasters go with mobile responsiveness.

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A word is enough for the wise. Take action now if your website is not mobile compatible or risk the death of your startup.

As a startup founder, I currently make sure that our developers put mobile first in every application or component that we build. I wish all other founders all the best in their endeavors.

About the author: Ridwan Olalere is a thinker and writer at CloudOne

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