A smartphone and tablet are travel-sized — meaning these devices are convenient for travelers to use for trip research while in-destination or on-the-go back home. Since they’re already on your mobile website, 79% of travelers will stay on to complete a booking — which is only done if the browsing experience is straightforward and enjoyable. So to keep them on your site until checkout, you need to test your mobile website performance for the following:
Mobile-friendly design test
Compared to a desktop, mobile devices are different in size, shape and handling — which is why mobile travelers expect a different experience. Web content should be concise for shorter scrolling time. Pop-ups don’t belong because they disrupt browsing. And a call-to-action button must be large enough to tap on easily.
It’s natural to check out your website while on a desktop because that’s where you perform most of your business tasks.
But this action doesn’t reveal what your website looks like on mobile devices. And neglecting to find out will continue to hurt your conversion rate until you have a better mobile design. If a traveler has trouble navigating your site, they won’t make a booking.
To be sure your website is mobile-friendly, you have to see it for yourself — especially if any changes are made.
Here are two free and useful ways to preview your site for mobile versions:
1. Test on your mobile device
Testing on your mobile device gives you the most accurate picture; you’ll see your website the way someone with the same smartphone or tablet would.
So exit out of social media and open up your website instead. Keep a notebook nearby and start scrolling — making sure to jot down anything you notice out of place, obtrusive, running off the page and challenging to read or tap.
If you want a second opinion, ask one or more friends to do the same. Huge bonus if they all have different types of mobile devices — this will help test your website across the board.
2. Simulate mobile devices in Chrome
With Google Chrome as your web browser, you can see different mobile versions by following these steps in DevTool’s Device Mode:
- Click on the hamburger menu found in the top right by the Chrome browser engine
- Go to More Tools then Developer Tools
- Click on the mobile device icon in the top left — it will turn blue when selected
- Your current web page will shrink to a mobile screen size
- Use the drop-down menu at the top to select different mobile devices
- Start browsing — keep in mind, the grey-filled circle acts as the radius of an average finger
Device Mode doesn’t replace real device testing, but it comes with a few useful tools — like being able to inspect CSS and save custom presets. Plus, it’s a quick way to test the mobile version of your website without switching devices.
AMP page test
Planning a trip involves research, and a traveler turns to a search engine for guidance. Search queries range from best places to stay to fun things to do in the destination of choice. And most of the time, the research is done on mobile.
If you want more travelers to discover your tour business, your web pages have to appear in the search results. But Google has different guidelines for indexing and ranking web pages for mobile searching — priority goes to fast-loading times.
Google rewards Accelerated Mobile Pages — better known as AMP pages — which are designed to load quickly on mobile devices. Since AMP pages are more likely to list on the first page of results, it’s beneficial to include them in your mobile-first web design.
And only valid AMP pages qualify for Google’s search results. So it’s critical that you perform proper AMP testing to resolve any errors — otherwise your AMP pages won’t ever be displayed.
To check if one of your AMP pages is valid, you can perform a test. And if you want to know your site’s overall AMP status, follow these steps:
- Add and verify your site in Google Search Console
- You’ll see the dashboard on the left side of the screen
- Select Site Appearance then Accelerated Mobile Pages
- A Google report will show any AMP errors or warnings your website may have
- Click Validate once you’ve fixed all errors
- If the issue count is 0, the issue state will be marked as Passed and you’ll be good to go
Mobile speed test
It doesn’t take long for a traveler to abandon your website. Waiting for a page to load shouldn’t be like waiting on the arrival for the next train. In that amount of time, they should be able to find your website, scroll through your content and make a booking.
In fact, ten seconds is all it takes for a traveler to become frustrated and return to the search results — and likely check out your competition instead. That’s why five seconds is considered acceptable website performance, but two seconds or less gives an instantaneous website response for the best user experience.
So make sure you test your mobile speed with Google. This report will help you find out whether it’s page load time that’s leading to page abandonment. And once you get your score, there are a few things you can do to improve it:
- Optimize images by compressing the file size without sacrificing quality
- Avoid or minimize redirects — which sends a visitor from one URL to another
- Prioritize visible content by loading above-the-fold content first
- Switch to a faster domain name service (DNS) provider
- Upgrade your web hosting service
The above tests give you valuable insight regarding your mobile website performance. With these scores, you can make the necessary changes to create a better user experience for travelers. Your website won’t be a hindrance, but instead, a catalyst for those interested in booking.