Why Your Website Should be Optimized for Mobile
Before we get into how to optimize your website for mobile devices, let’s review why this is such an important undertaking.
For starters, more than 50% of all internet traffic starts on a mobile device. In other words, if your website doesn’t work on a smartphone or tablet, you are missing out on a huge segment of your customer base!
Similarly, Google determines its SEO rankings based on how well your website works on mobile devices. This means that they look at your mobile site for ranking and indexing, so it is essential that your company can compete in this space.
Don't give up on this potential traffic and make the effort to create a mobile-compatible site. Over 70% of brands already have a mobile-friendly experience, so you do not want to lag behind the competition!
Here are our top tips for building mobile-friendly websites:
1. Start with the Right Screen Size Scaling
One of the most important considerations for a mobile website is scaling. The screen size of a mobile device is much more compact than a desktop computer, so you need to adjust your scaling and resolution accordingly.
When you browse on a mobile device, you must navigate the website using your touch screen. Studies suggest that 75% of smartphone users rely on their thumbs to move the page, so you need to keep this in mind while designing your site.
The first thing you need to scale is your text. Don’t force your viewers to pinch and drag to read every single word – make the font large enough that it can be seen without difficulty! However, keep in mind that it still must be small enough to fit the phone’s resolution.
Your buttons should be bigger too. Anything that requires a click should have a wider margin since it is tougher to be precise when navigating on a tablet or smartphone. This includes your call-to-action – this shouldn’t be a button anyone can miss!
Note that things like images should not be made too large. Do not allow them to take up the entire page since that will minimize your customer's ability to find the information they need.
2. Say No to Pop-Ups! (They Are Not Mobile Friendly)
While this may seem like an obvious thing to mention, too many brands fall into the trap of pop-ups. Be sure to avoid these completely if you can since they can bog down the user experience on a smartphone or tablet.
No one is a fan of pop-ups, to begin with. However, they are easier to manage on a desktop than on a mobile site.
It's easy to maneuver around an ad on a desktop because you can easily click the X and continue browsing. The touch screen on a mobile device or tablet is not always user-friendly, and closing ads on mobile devices can be extremely annoying.
If you spam your mobile users with pops they can’t close, they are going to divert their shopping efforts elsewhere. Instead of taking the time to figure out how to X out of the ad, they are just going to find another website!
The only time you should allow popups on your mobile website is when it is for something that a viewer specifically requests.
3. Focus on Your Website Load Speed
It’s no secret that customers have gotten more impatient over time. We are used to technology working quickly and efficiently, and when it doesn’t, it can turn people away from your brand.
Studies have shown that an astounding 53% of users will abandon a session on a mobile page if it takes more than three seconds to finish loading. That means you only have three seconds to capture their attention – otherwise, they will take their business elsewhere!
Think about it this way, if you are out and looking for a quick answer on your phone, you don’t want to wait forever for a website to load.
So, how fast should your website load and how can you boost your web page speeds?
Start by compressing images and avoiding high-resolution features that take up too much space. Compressing the file sizes allows them to load quickly on a mobile device without sacrificing quality.
You should also limit the number of redirects you request, keep your code to a minimum, and cache web pages wherever possible. Consider using AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, to keep load times short.
Another reason your mobile site is slow is that you’ve outgrown your web hosting plan. You may need to invest in a new solution that can handle large traffic volumes at higher speeds.
4. Make Your Website Design Simple and Easy to Use
When it comes to the design of your mobile site, keep things simple.
For example, your navigation bars and menus should be simplified and easy to read. You can’t take advantage of the long stretch of space on top of the screen that you have on a desktop computer – you are working with limited real estate!
Typically, the top of a smartphone is just under three inches wide, so your navigation bars must fit neatly within this space.
Take advantage of formatting techniques like hamburger menus, which rely on expanding features to save space. Note that you should not get too carried away with the options that you provide to viewers – keep the expanded menus limited too!
Avoid digital clutter as much as possible when approaching web design. This is frustrating to deal with even on a larger screen, but it is unbearable on a mobile device. That means your designs should be sleek, modern, and minimalistic.
Don’t be afraid to use white space and cut out any unnecessary information. Giving too much information to your viewers will only make things more difficult for them to find and cause them to get frustrated and look elsewhere for a solution to their needs.
In other words, you should eliminate all large blocks of text. No one wants to dig through a novel’s worth of text just to find the button they are looking for!
Although they are still unappealing on a desktop screen, huge chunks of text are even worse on a mobile device. Cramming in tons of words into a small space is counterproductive and rather than informing your viewers, you will lead them to not read anything at all.
Break up the text that you do include as much as possible. That will make it easier to read and give them a chance to scroll directly to the section they are interested in.
Keep your paragraphs nice and short, and use numbered and bulleted lists wherever possible. Similarly, add photos and videos along the way to break up the words.
5. Don’t Make Viewers Hunt for Information
The simple design we mentioned above is essential because it ensures that your viewers don’t have to hunt for information.
You know what your viewers are looking for when they get to your landing page – so give it to them! For instance, there should be a clear link to FAQs so users can get answers to the questions they have.
You may not be able to cram them all into the home page, but putting an FAQs button on there will not take up much space.
Google Analytics provides you with valuable insights into what your viewers want when visiting your web pages. Use this information to determine where to focus your efforts when designing a mobile-friendly website.
Following this tip will give you a competitive advantage, considering over 50% of websites have a call-to-action that takes longer than three seconds to find!
6. Avoid Using Flash
Flash is an outdated system that will slow down your mobile site and drag down your SEO rankings. Most modern developers know to avoid using Flash, especially since it is essentially dead as far as technology is concerned.
However, if you have some lingering Flash features on your desktop sites, make sure to eliminate them before converting them to a mobile page. This will boost your speeds and enhance the user experience significantly!
Likewise, Flash does not work on tablets and smartphones, so these users will not see any of those animations or features – even if they did work on a desktop site.
7. Integrate Your Checkout Process
Integrations are key for every mobile-friendly website. Not only should your pages integrate with social media, but they should also link to popular payment methods.
If your customers are browsing the internet on their smartphones, they are likely active on social media. Make sure that your e-commerce site easily connects to Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest.
Your target audience should be able to navigate your site within these apps since that seamless experience is exactly what they’re looking for! Don’t make them visit an entirely different web page to buy your products and services.
As we mentioned, you should also let them pay with their preferred digital wallets. Accepting transactions through PayPal, Apple Pay, and Visa Checkout will make completing a purchase even easier.
Remember that you don’t want to give potential customers any reasons to abandon their carts!
8. Test, Test, Test
If you take anything away from this guide, let it be this: don’t underestimate the importance of testing your mobile site!
You must confirm that your landing pages work seamlessly on iPhones, Androids, and tablets. That means you should try loading your site on devices with various screen sizes to see how functional it is.
How do your images look? Do all the links work? Are the buttons easy to see and click? You won't know the answer to these questions until you test them out!
Google even provides a simple tool for you to test out just how mobile-friendly your website is, including measuring load speeds. This platform will rate how well your pages work on mobile devices and give you tips on how to make them better.
The worst thing that can happen is that you think your website is optimized for mobile devices, only to learn that users can’t even get the landing page to load. Note that you should perform these tests every time you make a change to your site!
Still Not Sure Where to Start? OPIN Digital is Here to Help!
Building a website that is optimized for the mobile experience can be challenging and overwhelming. If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t worry – our experts at OPIN Digital are here to help!
We leverage open-source solutions to build mobile web apps and landing pages that can meet your unique business needs. Creating a custom mobile site will help you boost conversion and engagement while ensuring that you reach a wider audience.
Contact us today to get started