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Optimizing Mobile Websites – Part 1 | Deliver Information Concisely

Website mobile versions are becoming an almost required part of online marketing efforts in today’s current world of expanding smartphone usage.  If you haven’t built your own yet or you’re relying on plugging in your existing site into a generic mobile template, it’s a great time to jump into mobile device marketing, and I’ve got some great tips for you.  In Part 1 I’ll handle those which enhance the experience of the user, and in Part 2 I’ll share tthose which will garner search engine points.  Remember, the ultimate goal is to have a mobile website that appeals both to search engines and prospective customers.

How to Create a Great User Experience

  • Understand the mobile interaction process.  You may be a smartphone user, but how much thought have you put into analyzing how potential users will interact with your mobile site as opposed to those using your desktop site?  It’s an important consideration because they are different.  You need to have a good grasp of the process your potential mobile visitors might use.  Here’s a case in point.  You’re about to initially launch the mobile site for your bar and grill.  Of course your desktop site has gorgeous pictures of your facility and detailed descriptions of what your guests can expect, but you don’t want to simply transfer this to your mobile site.Desktop users come to your site to find out about it; mobile users are more likely to have an immediate need.  They’re looking for something specific – directions, hours, music offerings, etc.   You need to deliver this information concisely.  Leave out the elaborate descriptions and photos on your main website – that’s where they belong, but they’ll just clutter up your mobile site and make it hard for your visitor to find what they came looking for.  Remember, include just the information your mobile visitor is looking for.  Save the rest for your desktop visitor.
  • Brand Consistency is Important.  Be aware that Google has recently been emphasizing brand recognition, so using generic templates can work against you.  Besides, you want to be recognizable, not blend in with the crowd.  This tip works for both SEO optimization and enhancing the user experience.  Put some money into a mobile design that carries the same elements as your desktop site (logo, colors, fonts, styles, etc.).  You’ll catch the attention users and search engines.
  • No Javascript or Flash.   Until recently, this rule only applied to Apple phones, but Android announced effective August 15, 2012, it will no longer support Adobe Flash for new users.  This affects a big percentage of smartphone users.  What this means for you is that if you have Javascript or Flash files on your mobile site, most of your users won’t be able to access them, which means frustration.  Avoid doing that to your mobile visitors – don’t use Javascript of Flash files.
  • No Pop-Ups.  The screen is relatively small on a mobile device, so that “Close” button in the corner of a pop-up window is almost impossible to click on.  While pop-ups may work on desktop sites, they are annoying on mobile devices, and any mobile conversion rate they improve is offset by the damage they’ll cause to your overall brand impression.  Simply said, just don’t use them.
  • Allow No Clutter on Your Mobile Interface.  If you followed these other tips, you shouldn’t have any clutter anyway, but it’s a good idea to look your mobile pages over.  Remember, it’s a small screen, so be easy on the eyes.  There’s nothing wrong with a little white space – in fact, it’s preferable.  You may be tempted to include lots of features your visitors might like, but they will probably use fewer than you think, so keep them to a minimum.
  • Obvious Full Website Links Are a Must.  Even though almost all your mobile visitors come looking for specific information, a few may want to look further.  Allow them to interact with any features you’ve left off your mobile site.  Make navigation to your main site easy for those who want to get there.

Remember, a positive user experience should be your goal for your mobile website.  While you don’t want to ignore SEO issues, it’s important that you present your site as user-friendly as possible. 

 

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