mobile blog readership

Every single day your blog is becoming less useful and relevant … and there is nothing you can do about it.

Today, about 28% of Americans use their smartphone as their first point of access for the Internet and we are behind many other regions of the world like Scandinavia and the Middle East where more than 50% of the adult population uses a mobile device as the “first screen” for the Internet.

As you can see in the graphic above, this trend is also reflected in my own blog where global mobile readership has grown from 13% to 24% in less than two years (and it stands at 26% since June!).

So day by day, more people are reading your blog on a “mobile-optimized” screen that fits in the palm of your hand instead of on a nice big high definition desk-top screen.  The difference is pretty dramatic:

desktop versus mobile blog

Here are five implications of this shift:

1) Less blog engagement

It is more difficult to create content, including blog comments, on a phone instead of a keyboard. The level of commenting on my blog is down about 7% compared to last year although blog subscriptions have more than doubled and page views are up 500%.  I can’t prove that  the mobile factor is impacting this, but it’s a logical assumption.  It’s also a lot more difficult even viewing comments in a mobile format!

2) The end of calls to action

A blog is a perfect place to create awareness of other products and services. Your blog is high value real estate because people are coming to your site presumably because they have some interest in you and your content.

On my site, I give readers a lot of options to connect with me. They can navigate to see my books, social media training videos, upcoming social media workshops, and cities where I am speaking next.  In the mobile environment, these calls to action disappear.

And beyond calls to action, ALL the information in the sidebars goes away. As the mobile format stands, it’s impossible to even tell who is writing the blog!

3) Less traffic

linked withinAt the bottom of every blog post I have a useful little widget called Linked Within. This app recommends other blog posts for the reader to enjoy based on the topic of that current post.  This widget increases my page views by about 7 percent and also increases the amount of time people spend on the site. In the mobile environment, this utility goes away.

4) A crunch on creativity

Even in the constricted box of a big-screen blog it’s challenging to be creative. But I do my best to spice things up with funny graphics and every Friday I feature a social-media-themed cartoon.  So graphical communication makes up about 25% of my total content on {grow}. In the mobile environment, it’s almost impossible to read these things.  My hunch right now is that about 24% of my readers are having difficulty reading at least 25% of my content. And that will get even worse as the mobile revolution grows.

5) Less utility

Here are some of the popular features on my blog that disappear in the mobile environment:

  • Subscribe to the blog
  • Search the blog
  • Archive by topic
  • Archive by date
  • Top navigation bar leading to other parts of my site

Another important feature that is disappearing is the sidebar ads that help offset the cost of having paid guest bloggers and cartoonists.

No matter how much time I devote to creating great content, the utility and capabilities of my blog are inexorably fading away. And it’s happening to you, too.

The mobile environment and ubiquity of wi-fi may actually provide an advantage to other forms of communication like video and audio programs like podcasts. But even with these platforms, many of the benefits of blogs listed above are unavailable. When was the last time you engaged with a podcast?

What do you think? Does any of this make sense to you? And more important, is there anything that can be done about it?