It was not so long ago, mobile optimization could provide a competitive advantage. But as the mobile Internet has grown, responsive websites are no longer optional. They are essential for doing business online.
WompMobile is a provider of mobile web solutions. I recently spoke with its founder and CEO, Madison Miner, about new mobile technologies for e-commerce businesses. What follows is our entire audio conversation and, also, a transcript of it, edited for clarity and length.
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Armando Roggio: Tell us about yourself and your company.
Madison Miner: I have been a software engineer for about 20 years. In 2010, I started WompMobile to help businesses adapt their desktop sites to make them more mobile with adaptive and responsive technologies. In 2015, we helped companies make their websites attractive on mobile devices and deliver great results in terms of speed and functionality.
Today, the WompMobile platform allows us to take an existing website and convert it into both accelerated mobile pages and progressive web applications.
Roggio: Can you explain accelerated mobile pages and progressive web applications?
Minor: Accelerated mobile pages are a new way to create websites. Technology is a code base with a subset and a superset of HTML with a validator that confirms that pages built using AMP adhere to the rules that are in place to ensure performance. Basically, they are guaranteed to be fast. They can not have dependencies on external files or anything that blocks the critical rendering path of the page.
Progressive web apps, on the other hand, are technologies that may not work on all mobile devices. For example, a popular PWA component is a service agent. ACPs include service workers, payment requisitions, application manifests and application shells – technologies that can progressively improve a website if the user's browser takes them into consideration. charges and falls on more traditional technologies
Roggio: You mentioned the service workers. Can you explain?
Minor: Service workers are quite simple. They provide a lot of benefits. They allow you to work offline, to strategically cache content. They also allow you to make push notifications. So, they are very important.
Roggio: How can an e-commerce company benefit from a progressive web application?
Minor: The main benefits are the increase in conversion rates and revenues. A PWA component that has a direct impact on revenue is the Payment Request, which is a new W3C standard browser API for collecting payment information. It allows a website to display a prompt to the user in which the user can share his credit card information already stored on his device without having to type them. We saw [mobile] cart abandonment of a 50% billing information page when the payment request is added to the ecommerce pages. This has a direct impact on revenues.
Overall, the main advantage of PWA is the mobile conversion rate that rivals the workstations. All our customers come to us with the same problem. The majority of their traffic and the majority of their growth is mobile, but the majority of their sales are still on the desktop.
Roggio: For a consumer, how does a PWA differ from a normal web page?
Miner: The PWAs offer an experience similar to that of an application simply by visiting the URL. Consumers no longer need to go to the App Store, find the app, download it and install it, and give it permissions. With a PWA, they can simply go to a website and use similar features to the applications. A PWA can be added to the home screen, it can work offline, and it can process payments quickly and efficiently. It loads very quickly with a persistent header and partial page reloads. From the point of view of the user, it looks and feels like an application.
Roggio: What about MPAs? How do they help e-commerce businesses?
Minor: Accelerated mobile pages offer two main advantages. First, they increase the visibility of a site because Google is promoting AMP sites in search results via the AMP icon. Thus, you will have more traffic using the AMPs. We generally see a 20-30% increase in mobile traffic generated by natural search.
The next advantage is speed. MPAs look and work exactly like non-AMP versions. But MPAs charge much, much faster.
Roggio: Is there a reason to use both technologies on a single website?
Minor: They work extremely well together. In fact, last year, at the Google IO developer conference, Google announced a new combination called Progressive AMP, or PWAMP. This merges the two technologies. You have a PWA shell loaded in AMP pages and use AMP pages as content sources. You can pre-extract and pre-render them and display them instantly. You get all the benefits of AMP.
Roggio: Nothing else?
Minor: We are excited about a new technology called web packaging. This is different from web packaging, which is a way of compressing files. Web packaging is a technique that allows you to take an asset group, such as an AMP and its associated images, and package them as a zip file and then sign it with an SSL certificate. It can then be distributed from content delivery networks. When loaded into a browser, it contains the original URL of the site that signed it, but not necessarily the same site as the one that served it. This allows excellent performance.
For example, if you click an AMP listing in Google Search, you're still on Google when you visit the AMP page because it's loaded from the Google cache and Google needs to do this to ensure load times snapshots.
With a web package, when you click on a CHA listing, you will feel like you are on the website that you clicked on. In the URL bar, it will be your domain, even if the content still comes from the Google cache, which allows Google to guarantee these fast loading times. Web packaging will also improve performance in other areas.