For years, businesses have known the importance of having a presence on the Internet. As more consumers turn to mobile devices to surf the Internet, those businesses are now finding it just as important to have a website optimized to be used on those devices. Since they operate differently than desktop computers, designing them requires an alternative thought pattern.
Simple tips for optimizing a mobile website
By 2014, experts estimate that 50 percent of Internet browsing will occur on a mobile device. Since they have smaller screens than desktop computers, and may operate with different software and browsers, mobile websites have to be designed differently.
1. Type of site – In order to achieve the most success, the mobile site should be designed to meet the configuration recommended by Google. To do this, a responsive web design is best. This means the main website detects when a mobile device is being used and automatically sends the user to the mobile site.
2. Limit scrolling – Most mobile users prefer to have the information they are looking for to be prominent on the page. Scrolling on a mobile device can be challenging. Rather than having large chucks of content, consider breaking it up into smaller pieces that can be included on separate pages.
3. Simplify it – Because of the inherent difficulties of wandering a website with a handheld device, the most important information should be featured on the mobile site’s homepage. If mobile users have to hunt for what they are looking for, they will likely just go somewhere else.
Use white space to set off different aspects of the site. Make liberal use of drop down menus and checklists to limit the amount of text that needs to be entered by the visitor. The smaller keypads on smart phones can be difficult for many users to operate. This can be especially true of any forms that need to be filled out. Rather than have the user type in information, have drop down menus to help.
4. Include the proper files – Be sure the mobile site uses compact HTML or XHTML files since these will prove to Google’s system that the site truly is ready to be used by smart phones or tablets. Most responsive websites will have these added automatically, but the owner should make sure they are included and unblocked.
5. Keywords – While keywords will often remain the same whether used on a desktop or mobile device, there may be some differences. Use a tool like Google Analytics to find out what key words are used more often so the page can be optimized to meet their needs.
It can seem like a lot of extra work to optimize a mobile site, but with the amount of web traffic coming through smart phones or tablets it is a necessity for today’s business world. Following the steps above will help Google take notice and increase the chances the website will attract the right users.
Have you optimized your mobile site ?