Here’s something you should know: if your website only renders well on desktops while rendering poorly on mobile devices you are leaving much money on the table. This is largely because many people research and purchase from their mobile devices.
So, businesses with websites that aren’t optimized for mobile are hurting themselves. Doubt it? Here are some stats to prove it: The 2014 IDG Money Survey indicated that 77% of all business executives research products and services for their businesses and organizations on the mobile devices wile about 86% use their tablets for product and services research.
Not just that, Google has started labeling websites as mobile friendly, which means they have started placing more priority on, and ranking mobile friendly websites higher, than sites optimized for desktops only. So, your mobile site is critical.
Now, it is not just enough to have a mobile site. You need one that is designed correctly. The following tips should help you do just that.
Start with the Right Model
There are three different approaches to mobile site design:
- Separately Hosted Sites
- Responsive Designs
- Mobile Apps
Each of these have their merits and demerits. In our experience, however, we have found responsive designs to be the best suited for both mobile and desktop users as they automatically adapt to the device and render correctly on every device. You could then add an app if you want.
Separately hosted mobile sites can be a bit tedious and difficult to manage, not to mention the fact that they present one more hoop for people to jump through. However, when you update responsive design website, the change is universal.
When you do that for a standard website, you will need to go in and make the same change to a separately hosted mobile site. This is inconveniencing at best. Mobile apps however can only be used on mobile devices. So, pick a platform and work with it.
Ensure that Your Mobile Site is Designed for Touch
Smartphones these days make use of touch screens as the primary control interface, which means that your site as to be responsive to touching and tapping. So, ensure that there’s enough space for the finger. This is important because the fingers are often bigger than the mouse cursors. So, if there isn’t room for the finger, it could make navigation more difficult for the users and visitors. Also, ensure that there’s an indication of activity or one that shows that their action is being responded to – we are talking progress bar, loading circle and so on.
You may also want to consider placing buttons on the site to indicate precisely where the clickable links are on the site.
Simplicity and Precision
Ensure that your mobile site is not filled with too many graphics and images. Simplicity is key when dealing with mobile visitors. While most mobile devices are pretty advanced these days, there are still some restrictions and things they cannot do that laptops can. So, create a website with similar hues, designs and colors like the main website, but ensure that the site loads fast by reducing the size of the graphics.
Simple and Easy Navigation
Mobile users are often impatient and quick to check out another website if it is difficult to navigate through your site. So, do the smart thing and create an easy navigation menu. This could be in the form of a collapsible or drop-down menu that they could easily access with just one click. Also, place all links to other content or next pages at the bottom of the pages. That way, when they get to the bottom of the page, the next course of action becomes evident.
There you go. If you follow these best practices, chances are that your mobile visitor would enjoy surfing and browsing through your website.
Oscar King is a budding ecommerce entrepreneur who writes about his experiences on the side. For fellow entrepreneurs who recommends that your checkout process be as easy to navigate and secure on mobile as it is on desktop, and recommends getting such software from a company like FastSpring. You can learn more about Oscar on Google+.