As the end of the year is approaching quickly, it is time to start preparing what the New Year has in store. Mobile initiatives are a top priority for many companies in 2014. However, in just a couple of years, m.sites have gone from a must-have to a must-avoid. If you haven’t already ditched it, you should definitely start considering it a priority to retire it in 2014.
If you ever found yourself muddled by m.site, you’re not alone. Let’s bring some clarity to the conversation.
An m. site is a mobile website that is completely separate entity from its desktop counterparts, built for mobile devices. When a mobile phone user visits a website with a m. mobile version, they are redirected to the mobile version. It often has a simpler navigation that priorities key actions and messages for mobile users. For instance, if you visit nike.com on a mobile device, you would automatically be directed to m.nike.com.
Although this was the norm for the first generation of the mobile web, an m.site comes with a cost. Here are some pitfalls of having an m.site.
Redirecting to a dedicated mobile site can harm your SEO because you are creating the same title and body content under two URLs. Google isn’t a fan of using two dedicated URLs because the bots and spiders that crawl the internet indexing all the sites have to do twice the work. Once Google has collected all the data, they have to store twice the data. That gets expensive.
Your SEO will also suffer as all your inbound links, authority, keyword ranking and traffic are spread out between two separate sites.
If you care about SEO, then you should ensure that each page on your site has only one URL.
Radware’s 2013 State of the Union for Mobile Performance found that the median full-site load time on the iPhone 4s was 7.84 seconds, and the median m.site load time was 4.33 seconds. Although m.site were indeed faster than a full site, this still does not adhere to the users’ wait-time threshold of 4 seconds or less. Unless a user directly types in the m. site URL, they will redirected from the full site to the mobile one. Redirecting can take up to two seconds. Even the smallest millisecond delay could result in a conversion penalty. The takeaway here is that the visitor to your mobile site will count the redirecting wait against you, which in turn negatively affects their initial impression and will reduce the likelihood that they will return to your site.
If a user sees a useful piece of content and they want to spread the word via social media from a mobile with a redirected URL, they will run into a user experience issue. If you share the m.dot link and your friends read their email on a desktop site, clicking on the shared link would bring them to the mobile site.
New Year’s Resolution for 2014: One URL to rule them all
We live in a multi-screen world where we are switching between laptops, phones, and tablets. So When it comes to your business, an m. redirect will do more harm then good. Businesses need to shift from our old ways and rethink our mobile site design. That’s right, for your 2014 New Year’s Resolution say goodbye to that m.dot site and simply update your mobile site to use one URL to rule them all.