In a world with more mobile devices than people, a mobile-friendly website is a must-have for any service provider or technology-centric business. Mobile-friendly websites are increasingly necessary as business technology buyers make more decisions from their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
According to a Google survey, 72 percent of people said it’s important that websites are mobile-friendly, yet 96 percent have visited a site that doesn’t work well on their mobile device. Unfortunately, mobile users are five times more likely to abandon a site that isn’t mobile-optimized. So, if your website isn’t mobile-ready, your business is essentially invisible to those potential customers.
Mobilize the Design
The benefits of having a mobile-friendly site are numerous: It will improve the overall customer experience and increase the time users spend on your site. It also can improve your SEO rankings, as Google’s latest algorithm boosts mobile search rankings for websites that are mobile-friendly. A good starting point is to determine how your site responds now, using Google's page to test sites for mobile-friendly features. If your site test comes up in the red, Google suggests which elements to fix and offers additional helpful resources on mobile usability.
Mobile Site Design Options
With mobile websites, you have two main options: build a single website that responds to how the lead is viewing the site; or create a separate mobile website, which runs on a server specifically set up for hosting mobile pages. A mobile site has fewer features and less content. The more detailed home page content is typically moved to secondary pages. If you select a responsive template or theme for your website, going mobile can be an easier proposition than building a separate mobile website. A responsive template adapts the display to the visitor and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. Unlike a mobile website, responsive sites are used by all devices. Consisting of a mix of grids and flexible layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries, responsive web pages change as the viewing device or perspective changes. Many affordable tools can help you turn your website into a mobile-friendly site, including Mobify, Mippin Mobilizer, MoFuse, SiteGalore and Wirenode.
Usability and Design
Mobile-friendly websites have several consistent usability and design features, including:
- Information in just one or two clicks
- An easy-to-find search bar
- A site that fits the small screen
- Clean and uncluttered design
- Big, finger-friendly buttons
- Non-scrolling forms with a limited number of fields
- One-direction scrolling, either horizontal or vertical, but not both
One last thing to remember when building a successful mobile website: Know your audience. Mobile users are typically doing something else— waiting in line, in a meeting, in a hurry. Your information needs to be quick and easy to access, and the pages need to load in less than five seconds. The design needs to be accessible, intuitive and attractive to achieve the best results.