Whiskey barI recently sat down with a friend for some dinner and drinks at a new restaurant. I’m interested in learning more about whiskey so I picked up their menu, and on it I was encouraged to download this restaurant’s app for more information on the menu items. An app? For a restaurant I’ve never been to?

I don’t think so.

Instead of downloading the app, what I did was go to the website, figuring the same information would be available on my phone. My phone is modern enough—it came out last year—so it should be able to handle just about anything thrown at it. All I saw were illegibly tiny words with pictures and call-to-action graphics meant for desktop users. This was a business that ignored its mobile users, and ignoring mobile users can be a fatal mistake.

Except under very special circumstances (like if you’re Amazon), your business should forego the app and put that budget toward making sure your website is responsive. In order to find out if your website is mobile-friendly, check out Google’s handy tool (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/). You’ll have a quick diagnosis of what your website needs in order to be accessible to those who are using phones or other mobile devices to browse the web.


Mobile Friendly Test - Pass


For example, a popular motorcycle parts retailer online is missing out on the business available to them through mobile users. After running the Google Mobile-Friendly Test on the domain, the tool gives feedback, a sample screenshot, and suggestions to help. In this case, the company could be well-served by an app that allows access to motorcycle part listings, a price-check tool of some sort, and a shopping cart—but all of these things could also easily be accomplished with a mobile-friendly site that doesn’t require any downloading. If I am on a ride somewhere and I think of a potential upgrade or new part for my motorcycle, I would like to easily add items to a wishlist or shopping cart as I think of them, without having to bring up a new app first.


Mobile Friendly Test - Fail


Most businesses, especially restaurants, will never need an app. Instead of having someone install an app on their device, send them swiftly to a beautiful website designed for the mobile world: responsive, fast, and functional.

In the end, since I couldn’t find any useful information on the whiskeys available at the restaurant, I settled for some Jameson (since it was on special that night).

Meet Charlie Ford

Charlie Ford is a Senior Publisher at Launch Digital Marketing. He enjoys wrenching and riding motorcycles, drinking coffee by the pot, updating his blog (charliesbrokenbike.com), playing upright bass in a band, and is a dog person that also likes cats. In the past few years he's put over 50,000 miles on two wheels, and hopes to increase that exponentially over the next few years. Motorcycles and bass add fun to every single day.