Desktops have long been the preferred choice of computers among individuals and business owners alike. They are fast, inexpensive, and offer plenty of space for upgrades. However, there’s an undeniable trend towards the use of smartphones and tablets, leaving some people to believe that desktops are being weeded out. It may not happen overnight, but the general belief is that mobile devices will eventually overtake desktops.
This belief was reaffirmed in a recent Google Hangouts session with webmaster trends analyst John Mueller. During the session, Mueller said that websites designed for desktop traffic are no longer necessary, and that having a mobile-friendly website should suffice. He added that mobile websites are often shown in Google’s search results for desktop users.
But before you go ditching your desktop website, you should check to make sure it’s accessible and viewable on desktops. According to Mueller, webmasters should check their sites on a desktop computer to see if there are any errors present. As long as it looks good, you can proceed forward with a mobile website, turning a blind eye to desktops.
“I think what I’d try to make sure is that it still works on desktop and that it doesn’t show an error on desktop, but rather someone on desktop can still access it,” said Mueller. “What generally happens is, we will just include the mobile site in our search results, like any other site, and we will present it to desktop users.”
There’s a good reason why Mueller is pushing for mobile websites: more people today now access the Internet on their smartphones and tablets than desktops and laptops. Mobile devices have become increasingly fast, with both hardware and cell service delivering blazing-fast speeds. This means users can access all of their favorite websites anywhere, anytime, without having to fire up a desktop. Furthermore, smartphones have become dirt cheap, with mid-range devices like the Nexus 5 costing just a couple of hundred bucks. Desktop computers are also relatively inexpensive, but you can expect to pay more for a desktop than a mobile device.
But not everyone shares the same thoughts as Mueller. Diane Pease, a marketing manager for Cisco, said desktops are still relevant, even in the midst of an ever-increasing mobile user base. Pease said that one of the hurdles faced by mobile devices is their inability to support multiple windows/tabs. Granted, all of the major mobile operating systems — Android, iOS, Windows — are capable of managing multiple browser tabs, they don’t have the same level of efficiency as a desktop. It’s easier to manage a dozen or more browser tabs on a desktop than it is on mobile device. Whether or not this will slow the growth of mobile devices, however, remains to be seen.
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