Even though your online business website can be viewed on a mobile device, it may not necessarily be mobile friendly. There is a stark difference in the websites that are mobile friendly and non-mobile friendly, and this often differentiates successful and unsuccessful businesses in the virtual world. This is unsurprising, as nearly 70% of all online searches are made via mobile devices. If your website is high in search rankings, but poorly optimized for mobile viewing, you are likely to lose any potential sales made through smartphones.
The problem is compounded by Google’s latest algorithm, which factors optimization for mobile viewing into website search rankings. Following this move, many websites that previously enjoyed a stellar search ranking lost their place overnight. To ensure your mobile customers have a positive experience, it’s good to optimize your website for viewing on portable devices.
What is mobile optimization?
Mobile optimization, in simple terms, is the process of ensuring that visitors who are exploring your website through mobile devices have a sound, engaging and user-friendly experience.
An excellent example of mobile optimization can be seen by browsing Amazon’s catalogue on a smartphone or tablet. The experience is enjoyable, and quite similar to browsing on your PC or laptop. Amazon’s mobile optimization ensures that they don’t miss a single sale over something like platform preference.
From a development standpoint, there are three ways to create a website that will function amazingly on mobile:
They use a completely different domain name, and are automatically optimized in some respects for viewing on small screens. As a mobile shopper, you have likely come across websites with unique domain names like “m.domain.com.” If you’re using any website with a domain name following that format, you’re on a mobile site. An app can easily be created to launch it.
Responsive Web Design
This is the simplest approach to mobile optimization. It allows one website to work on all platforms, regardless of what device or screen size it’s viewed on. This technology fuels websites with flexible images that resize, fluid grid layouts for your pages, and media queries that trigger different CSS style rules. Investing in responsive web design is almost always well-worth the effort.
This technology takes responsive web design to the next level by serving up TWO sets of code depending on the viewing device. This provides mobile shoppers with a flawless experience, regardless of chosen device, while retaining the same URL.
Why Go For Mobile Optimization?
Mobile devices are already one of the most important technological tools in our lives. Furthermore, they are gradually emerging as all-encompassing computing devices, slowly phasing out traditional computers for some recreational users. They allow citizens in the modern world to explore, read, communicated, purchase, and more from nearly anywhere on the planet. Mobile devices have a strong and constantly growing foothold in the market, making it a must for businesses to begin thinking about mobile users.
Everyone’s on Mobile
According to recent studies, nearly 2.01 billion people currently own and operate a smartphone, and the number is expected to grow to 2.87 billion by 2020. An incredible 70% of all internet users use a smartphone.
Over Half of Web Traffic is Mobile
Researchers claim that mobile media consumption in 2014 was 21% higher on mobile devices, as compared to desktops. In a broad view, this means that mobile data consumption accounts for 51% of all internet access. Over half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices!
Mobile Users Buy More
This is important and relevant to all business owners! Mobile shoppers actually spend more money than shoppers who use a desktop. Mobile users are conditioned to make small, yet frequent, purchases.
Google Favors Mobile-Friendly Sites
As mentioned above, Google’s newly released algorithm favors websites with a responsive design, and rewards them with better search engine rankings. However, the search engine giant has also enacted significant ranking penalties to websites that fail to meet its mobile optimization standards. This makes optimization not only a benefit, but a necessity.
Techniques to Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Create Fluid Layouts
Mobile websites are vastly different from desktop websites, and require alternative layouts. As such, there are different layout designs available that specifically suit mobile technology. Since there are too many possible screen sizes out there, you’ll need to create layouts that adapt to all screen sizes as seamlessly as possible. This task is where fluid layouts really shine!
Simplify. Then simplify again
The best way to engage more visitors on your mobile friendly website is to make it as simple as you can. Determine what content you’ll need to include. Mobile browsing is very different compared to desktop browsing, and visitors will likely see things very differently between the two mediums. It’s important to know what your online visitors will see, and how to impress them, keeping in mind the restricted space available for mobile sites. Simple, clutter free, and engaging websites should be the aim in mobile-optimization.
Use Plenty of White Space
While white sections may seem less engaging on desktop websites, but they are quite welcomed by mobile shoppers. White makes websites look clutter-free, and also engages visitors by making it easier to navigate through the user interface.
Match Branding Elements
While your businesses’ mobile website will likely be more streamlined than its desktop website, be sure to incorporate the same branding elements on both. A mobile site is a brand touchpoint, and people who are already familiar with your company’s site will be dissatisfied with the same old desktop version.
Keep Content Short & Sweet
Sometimes people fall in love with their website content and reuse it on their mobile sites, which usually leads to a cluttered layout. Go easy on the content and make it as short and engaging as possible. After all, visitors don’t want to keep reading those long paragraphs on a shopping website. Clutter and excessive content will encourage customers to jump to a competitor site with more focus and cleanliness. Remember, mobile screens are smaller than the PCs, so try to minimize the amount of text on your mobile website.
Mobile web browsing is a considerably slower experience than surfing the net on a cable-tethered device. The speed cap necessitates using appropriate images that are optimized to load faster on mobile devices. Be sure to strip down the heavy image files and media that you borrow from your desktop site. Use lower resolution images for better web page performance on mobile devices.
Pick the Right Fonts
Website optimization for mobile devices is not as simple as improving the design, layout, media, images and space you use. The fonts that you choose to represent your content can greatly affect optimization. In fact, the fonts you choose can impact your mobile sites performance and layout just as much as graphics do. Websites use text as their primary method to convey information, so avoid fonts with small spacing between the letters for better readability. Sans Serif is the preferred font by experts, as it tends to scale better across most resolutions.
Design Mobile Menus
Your desktop website may have a beautiful and functional menu, but that doesn’t mean the same menu will be well received by mobile visitors. Mobile themes have their own menu styles, so make sure to utilize these mobile optimized menus. If none of your available menu themes are suitable, have a custom one designed by an expert designer. The more engaging your menus are, the more likely it is that visitors will want to shop on your site.
Use Tools to Test Your Site
Last but not least, a critical part of successfully optimizing your website for mobile devices is getting it tested with reliable tools. Not many people test their website on various devices, screen sizes and resolutions. Try using free tools, which are easily available online, to check the user experience on the mobile version of your website. A flawless user experience across all devices translates into bigger and better sales!
While the tips mentioned above will positively impact the mobile website optimization process, never forget that mobile optimization is something that you must revisit constantly. The trends are always changing, and mobile users have little patience for sloppy and outdated websites. The mobile market is continuously growing, with new devices coming out daily. Changes in design are required as new problems with your website, caused by new devices, crop up. Keep a check on OS updates and other factors that impact your website, and it will surely be the most impressive on the net!