While most businesses now have a website, it is becoming increasingly important to have a site that also caters to the rapidly growing mobile market. It is estimated that very soon there will be just as many people surfing the Internet through a mobile device as there are doing so on a desktop computer. The experience of viewing a non-mobile website on a smart phone can be frustrating for users. There are several factors to consider when optimizing a website for a mobile market.
Designing a mobile-friendly website
While most of today’s smartphones and tablets enable users to do just as much on the Internet as does a desktop computer, the mobile screens are much smaller and their users may have different expectations. Here are some tips for designing a successful mobile website.
*Think ahead – Website design, and the computing power of smartphones and tablets, is moving at the proverbial speed of light, with advances being made almost every day. Design a mobile site that can be easily adapted in the future.
*Be responsive – Getting to the top of Google’s index should be the goal of any website, mobile or desktop. Having a traditional site that can detect when someone is using a mobile device and redirect them to the mobile site is preferred by Google.
*Be timely – Content should be relevant and original. Take some time to study keywords used by customers and work them into the site. This can include using keywords in the names of photos on the site.
*Speed – Studies show mobile users expect web sites to load quickly, such as in a few seconds. To accomplish this, and keep them from heading to a competitor’s site, size photos smaller and keep text to a minimum. The most important text should be placed at the top to limit scrolling. Additional pages can be created to accommodate other bits of text that should be included.
*Localize – Smartphones are frequently used when someone is out and about and looking for a particular business offering a specific good or service. Be sure your mobile website includes all the necessary information, such as address, phone number and hours of operation, that can be easily found on the landing page. This may also help with original content Google is looking for when ranking sites. Keep the business history for one of the secondary pages.
*Be consistent – While some elements may be different on the mobile site, the overall theme of the mobile and the desktop sites should be consistent. It is also important to offer smartphone users the ability to go to the desktop site if they wish.
*Know their limitations – Entering text on a small virtual keyboard can be frustrating for many smartphone owners. Limit the amount of text that will have to be entered by providing drop down menus and check boxes whenever possible. Clicking buttons with fingers or thumbs can also be difficult, so make sure there is ample space between buttons.
*Feedback – Ask users to leave feedback, especially if there is confidence in the quality of the site. As was said before, mobile users may be on the go and seeking the best options available to them in a given area. Seeing comments and reviews from satisfied customers could make the difference.
Creating a truly-optimized mobile website means more than just shrinking content down to fit on a smaller screen. Understanding how mobile users interact with a website is key. If it’s done right, it can open up a whole new audience to the business and stop potential customers leaving to go to a competitor’s site in frustration.
|Simon Phillips is the CEO of www.TouchLogic.co.uk, a British mobile marketing company.|