How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users
The popularity of the mobile web is exploding. In fact, it has been estimated that there will be more than 1.7 billion mobile web users by 2013. Don’t want to be left behind and miss out on sales? Then building a mobile-friendly version of your site is an absolute must.
Google has a separate index for mobile content and it is far smaller than Google’s index for standard websites. Therefore, competition in mobile SEO is minimal right now, but that’s sure to change once more people build mobile versions of their websites. To get your mobile website to rank well in Google’s mobile index while it’s still easy to do so, start building a presence on the mobile web right away. Below are some tips for optimizing your website for mobile users.
Mobile devices have a restricted amount of screen space, so it’s essential to prioritize content. Eliminate all non-essential content and make it easy for your site visitors to find their way around. Remember: mobile users have even shorter attention spans than desktop users because they’re typically on the move when they access the web. With that in mind, design a simple website that focuses on just a few key areas of your standard site that would be of interest to mobile users, such as your contact page and a site search feature.
Avoid using heavy, desktop-sized images on your mobile website. Small images are appropriate for the small screens of mobile devices. Resize images on the web server, so they take less time to load on mobile devices.
USE AUTOMATIC MOBILE DETECTION
Rather than communicating to users that you have a separate mobile website and asking them to visit that site, use automatic mobile device detection so that the mobile version of you website is automatically triggered when people access it from a mobile device. One of the most reliable automatic mobile device detection tools is User Agent detection.
MAKE IT EASY FOR USERS TO VISIT THE STANDARD VERSION OF YOUR WEBSITE
While it’s a good idea to take mobile users directly to the mobile version of your website, make it easy for them to visit the standard version of your site because they might not find all of the information or features they’re looking for on the mobile version of your site. You can put a footer link on every page of your website that leads to your “Full Site,” so users can easily go there when they need to.
INCORPORATE BRAND ELEMENTS TO YOUR WEBSITE
Although your mobile website should be far simpler than your standard website, it’s still important to incorporate brand elements of your standard website to create a consistent, familiar user experience. For example, you can use the same color palette and iconography on your mobile website that you use on your standard website.
DON’T USE FLASH OR JAVA
Many phones do not support Java and Apple products do not support Flash, so avoid using Flash or Java on your site. Otherwise, a good portion of smartphone users will be unable to access your site’s content.
The mobile web is new to many website owners, so the process of designing a mobile compatible website might seem overwhelming at first. But if you follow the simple rules outlined above and keep mobile users’ needs at the forefront of your mind, you’re sure to succeed in building a user-friendly mobile website that maximizes traffic and sales.