Every year people spend more and more time and money on their mobile devices and tablets, but many websites still aren’t designed to account for different screen sizes and load times. Mobile optimization takes a look at site design, site structure, page speed, and more to make sure you’re not inadvertently turning mobile visitors away instead of engaging them. There are several different ways to make sure that your business and website are not only optimized for all mobile devices, but are customer-friendly and inviting as well.
Design Your Website to be Mobile-Friendly
There are many different aspects to building a website, and in order to avoid re-making a website entirely, just make sure that you design your website to be mobile friendly in the first place. Here are a few ways to ensure that your website is optimized for today’s mobile market. The plugin Flash isn’t always available on mobile devices, so try to avoid using any features that rely on Flash (there are other ways to create special effects, such as HTML5).
Another aspect to some websites is pop-ups, which many people find annoying while viewing on a computer- but even more-so on a mobile device. This can make your website difficult and frustrating to actually get to, leading to a higher turn away rate. Lastly, design your website to be consumer friendly by remembering that some consumers are going to have large fingers, or older, less coordinated fingers, so using small buttons or difficult to scroll pages may not be the best route to go.
If you have a website for your company already set up and don’t want to (or can’t) make changes to it to make it more mobile friendly, consider making a separate, parallel site for mobile users. This allows you to create completely custom content for mobile visitors. To avoid URL confusion, most parallel mobile sites use an “m” subdomain. Parallel mobile sites can be as imperfect as dynamic serving sites at sending visitors to the right version, so be sure to make it easy for visitors who end up in the wrong place to click over to their preferred experience.
Why is it Necessary to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users?
The fact is simple: if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices you’re ultimately losing sales. One of the main reasons is because mobile users have different objectives than desktop users and typically this means they want information in quick, easily digestible bites. With one-quarter of global web searches conducted on a mobile device by over a billion users worldwide, mobile websites are just as important, if not more so, than desktop versions.
Multiple sources report that smartphone users are engaging with mobile websites and apps while watching TV, commuting to work, and simultaneously while using a computer. A majority of people report moving between devices, or “multi-screening”, to accomplish a task. When your website is optimized for mobile functionality it fosters trust and attraction with users.
On the other hand if your mobile website is problematic to navigate, customers are more likely to go to the competition than to continue to struggle with your website. If you can’t provide what they need when they need it you will have lost the opportunity for the sale and risk losing a customer permanently to a competitor. Mobile shoppers have little patience for unwieldy websites and one-third of them will leave a transaction if the site isn’t optimized for mobile.
One simple way to check to see if your website is optimized for mobile devices is to visit it yourself via a mobile device. Once on your website think about what a customer might either like, or complain about when trying to navigate your mobile site. Does it load quickly and is it easy to find what you’re looking for?
Is it visually attractive and does it provide a good experience to customers? Does it draw your eye to your key selling points or messages and is the content easily read? All of these things are important to mobile users, and therefore they should be important to you too.
When your page is optimized to be mobile-friendly, you are not only making the experience better for your customers, but there are many benefits for your company as well. With a mobile site your rankings are improved on mobile-friendly search engines (such as Google or Yahoo) and also allows for your website to be placed in a growing number of mobile and local directories.
Another reason to have a site viewable on mobile devices is that it shows that your company/business is not only relevant but it helps you stand out by presenting a positive, contemporary brand identity for your organization. A common-sense reason to optimize for mobile devices is that now your website can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. This ability to have constant connectivity with your consumers provides an extraordinary chance to connect with target audiences in new ways.
New Advertising Opportunities
Mobile advertising is growing at a rapid pace and presents many new opportunities for reaching target audiences with unprecedented precision. If your business advertises online already, there’s a good chance your ads may also be appearing in mobile listings (depending on how one has set his or her account settings). However, with mobile advertising you’ll want to ensure that your ads lead to mobile-optimized website, rather than your regular desktop site, for optimal outcomes and maximum return on investment.
Ten years ago, having a company website was simple advanced enough, but as times change so do the ways that people are interacting with businesses both online and off. No longer is mobile optimization a choice, it’s a mainstream reality that will influence any organization that aims to communicate with target audiences online.
Most leading industry analysts project that within a few short years; mobile phones will overtake desktop computers as the most common way to access the Internet. The responsibility now falls on companies and website owners to take advantage of the distinctive opportunities mobile offers for connecting with the growing number of visitors who will access your company’s website via mobile devices.