Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Web Mobile PhoneGuest blog by Mary Reed.

Smart phone users are more likely to purchase goods or services from a mobile-optimized website, according to the Google Mobile Ads. This is evidence that mobile-optimized pages are more important than ever, even for small businesses. Smart phones aren’t just for “Angry Birds” and “Words With Friends” anymore; all kinds of businesses are earning customers through simple, well-designed mobile platforms. You don’t have to write code to jump in on the mobile action, though; user-friendly tools will help mobile newbies through the tough stuff.

Small is More Mobile

Most major brand names have made mobile-optimized web a part of their widespread marketing campaigns, along with apps and more traditional forms of media. However, small businesses have been slow to follow. According to an SMB DigitalScape study, 98 percent of small and medium-sized businesses do not have mobile-optimized sites. The same study said that half of mobile users would use a business less often if its website wasn’t mobile friendly.

If these businesses knew mobile-search stats, they might change their tunes. According to Screenwerk.com, Google said that 50 percent of mobile search is local in nature. Put it all together and we’ve got a mobile population searching locally and following results to non-mobile pages, which turn them off — something is missing.

Mobile is Only Growing

If you believe the mobile web is a fad that won’t amount to much, think again. According to a market-research report, smart phone usage in the United States reached more than 100 million units in 2011 and will reach nearly 154 million units by 2015. As network speeds continue to increase, consumers will do more searching and shopping on mobile devices. Internet-wide mobile optimization seems imminent; it’s only a question of which businesses take advantage of the untapped market.

Right now, some young companies are using the mobile surge to their advantage. Used-car dealer DriveTime has a three-button mobile-landing page that entices users to explore its services, which include shopping for vehicles, online approvals and a location finder. A short description of its business and clickable phone number make this optimized page about as user friendly as can be.

Getting Started

If you’re looking to optimize your website for mobile, you don’t need to start from scratch. Tools like zinadoo.com and mobisitegalore.com help mobilize websites without hassle. Once you design a mobile layout, automatic tools translate designs into code and guide you on how to integrate your mobile website.

Keys to a Great Mobile Site

Effective mobile sites capture users’ attention and raise their likelihood of engagement. An ineffective site will drive consumers away, even the ones that would have used the traditional page on their phones. You should have a sense of urgency to create a mobile page, but don’t rush through the design.

Consider these tips as you mobilize your website:

  • Simple navigation: Mobile phones are small and difficult to use for many. A simple navigation will attract smart phone users longer and increase the chance of interaction. Provide large buttons for the user to navigate the site.
  • Speed: Mobile consumers hail speed over all other virtues. If you’re mobile site doesn’t load quickly, the ticking time bombs in their heads will send them to a site that does. Try limiting the amount of pictures and videos on your mobile site, they may look impressive, but performance is the ultimate benchmark.

About Steve Dale

Stephen Dale is both an evangelist and practitioner in the use of Web 2.0 technologies and Social Media applications to support personal development and knowledge sharing. He has a deep understanding of how systems and technology can be used to support learning and facilitate smarter working, where connections and conversations are the key to self-development and creativity within the organisation.
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